Taste-Safe Sensory Bins for Babies and Toddlers

So you’ve probably heard great things about sensory bins. But what is your baby/toddler is still putting things in their mouth? Here’s a list of taste-safe sensory play ideas that will allow baby to play with the big kids!

What is Sensory Play?

Sensory play simply refers to any kind of play that engages your child’s senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, movement and balance). Commonly, it refers specifically to activities that stimulate the sense of touch and often included messy activities.

At What Age Should You Start Using Sensory Play?

Sensory play can be started whenever you and your child are ready for it. Indeed, when babies start touching their first baby toys, especially those toys with different textures and crinkly parts, they are engaging in sensory play. And your baby’s first experiences with food (especially if you choose baby-led weaning)? You guessed it. Sensory play!

However, you may be wondering when baby is ready for sensory bins, those fun bins you see on Pinterest and Instagram full of rice, beans and other enticing materials.

You may be especially concerned about your baby putting things in their mouths. You may be anxious to begin sensory bin play, but hesitant to start due to chocking hazards.

Actually, you can start sensory bin activities with babies far sooner than you might expect. By the time babies are 8-10 months old, they will be ready for some adapted sensory bin play! Keep reading to learn how.

Taste Safe Sensory Bins: Rice Bin

How to Do Sensory Play for Babies

The first consideration you’ll need to keep in mind is to be sure your baby can sit up safely. This milestone varies for each baby. You’ll want a sturdy sitter before you begin sensory play.

You may think that your baby can’t begin sensory play until they stop trying to put things in their mouths. Actually, there’s a simple solution that can allow younger babies to partake in sensory play.

Making sensory bins taste-safe is the best way to allow younger children and babies to take part in sensory play.

Taste-safe sensory bins mean filling your sensory bins with food materials that are safe to taste. Of course, you probably won’t want your baby to ingest a great deal of these items, so you will certainly need to supervise them carefully throughout all sensory play.

Taste Safe Sensory Bins: Oobleck

Quick and Easy taste-Safe Sensory Play Ideas

So without further ado, here is my big list of taste-safe sensory activities for babies!

Classic Sensory Bin Activities that Can be Made Taste-Safe

  • Baby-safe mud: mix cocoa powder and oil to make a baby-safe mud. Add trucks, farm animals or anything you’d like! (Extension activity: a washing station to clean the toys after they’ve gotten messy!).
  • Citrus Bin: Add slices of oranges, lemons, limes, etc. to water for a fun and yummy smelling sensory experience.
  • Oobleck-a classic sensory experience that is safe for babies! Just mix equal parts water and cornstarch to form the oobleck (you can also add some food colouring to the water BEFORE mixing if you want a more colourful experience). This seems like a very messy activity, but it cleans up super easily!
  • Ice Cream Dough: Just combine frosting and cornstarch for a deliciously scented dough.
  • Rice Cereal: Need to use up some old rice cereal (maybe all the samples you received at the pediatrician?), dump it in a bin and let baby explore til their heart’s content.
  • Baby-safe play dough: Substitute flour for rice cereal and cut salt in half.
  • Jello: Follow the instructions on packet. For unsweetened jello, purchase plain gelatin instead of Jello brand name.
  • Edible Slime (pysillium husk, water and food colouring)

Taste Safe Sensory Bins: Lemon Lime Water Bin

Fillers that are Taste-safe

You can also simply fill a bin with a taste-safe food that won’t hurt babies to ingest. You’ll of course want to supervise and cut any food that may be choking hazard-sized.

  • Flour (you can bake your flour to eliminate risk of bacteria)
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Tapioca Pods
  • Chickpeas
  • Jello
  • Milk
  • Cranberries
  • Sprinkles
  • Lentils
  • Yogurt
  • Quinoa
  • Pudding
  • Whipped Cream
  • Carrot Peelings
  • Pumpkin Guts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Spices
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Potato Flakes
  • Garden Herbs (parsley is a good one)
  • Powdered Milk
  • Dried Fruit
  • Graham Crackers (chopped in food processor)
  • Cereal
  • Chia Seeds (soaked in water)
  • Cooked beans

As you can see, there are so many different options for taste-safe sensory bins that are just fine for babies! Sensory play is a great way to engage baby and so easy too!

I hope you and your little ones enjoy these taste-safe sensory bins as much as my family did!

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Taste Safe Activities for babies

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Author: Cindy

Cindy is an kindergarten teacher and former district Literacy Lead who feels passionately about play-based learning. Cindy has a Master's Degree in Education, with a focus on Curriculum Studies. She is the mom of two sweet girls and a big old doggy. In between playtimes, she enjoys chai tea and a good book.

3 thoughts on “Taste-Safe Sensory Bins for Babies and Toddlers”

  1. Hi ,great sensory safe expireiences which I have shared with today with young trainee nursery nurses giving them an insight and inspirational idea to help them understand how importance of stimulating sensory bins /trays are in play based learning .

  2. These are all great ideas! I’d just like to point out that your list of items to add to the bin contains popcorn, which is a choking hazard for children under 3. I’m afraid some people may use this without realizing the hazard it poses for smaller toddlers.

  3. My apologies. I overlooked that you did in fact stress that choking hazards should be cut and the activity should be supervised.

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