Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life

Toddler Activity: Dinosaur Hatching Sensory Bin


Simon loves dinosaurs. He also loves scooping things up and dumping them out again. I have been on a mission lately to come up with more sensory engaging activities for him, as well as play that will keep him occupied and encourage his imagination in new ways. I recently had a moment of inspiration, and threw together this sensory bin for him.

I started with some dried green split peas that I originally bought for the purpose of filling some bean bags I started making for him (a project that I abandoned, and really ought to finish).  I poured a layer of the dried peas into the bin and added some painted rocks from Simon’s rock collection, some left over plastic Easter eggs that he keeps in his toy refrigerator, and some little toy dinosaurs that I purchased for his second birthday cake toppers. The idea was that these might be baby dinosaurs, hatching out of their eggs.

Simon was absolutely delighted. He played in the bin for a very long time. His favorite part was scooping peas into the opened eggs and pouring them back into the bin, or from egg to egg. He also made the dinosaurs “walk” all over the place and shouted “Roar!” as they went.

Sensory bins do exactly what their name implies: they stimulate a child’s senses, most frequently, the sense of touch. For example, in my bin above the dried peas, and their small size, create a tactile experience when little hands dive and dig in. However, because I chose brightly colored items, the visual sense was also stimulated. Sound might come into play when Simon poured the beans out. The only senses I did not involve were taste and smell.

There are so many different ways to create sensory bins for your child(ren), from the elaborate to the simple. The best part is, you do not have to spend any money if you do not wish to. You can simply gather up items from around the house, or even from nature. The possibilities are endless! I hope to share many more examples of my own ideas with you in the future.

Have you done sensory bins or activities with your kids? Please share!


Author: thismummaslife

I am a Mumma, Wife and part-time Assistant Children's Librarian. I want this blog to be a collection of moments from daily life that may inspire or be relatable. Please feel free to leave me comments, thoughts, feedback or stories from your own life.

12 thoughts on “Toddler Activity: Dinosaur Hatching Sensory Bin

  1. i love it!

  2. How fun! … We live “way out in the country” and our front yard has a natural sand pit where it use to be a driveway, the kids love digging in the dirt there.

    Occasionally, I’ll go out and dump something in the sand, rake it over with a garden toothed rake, so the stuff settles deep, and then enjoy the squeals of delight when they start finding the things in the sand. Their favorite is when I toss pennies out and aquarium rocks – especially if they look like jewels.

  3. Great idea, Krista! I love the feel of dry pea or beans of any kind!

  4. Very creative. My little one may like this, he loves dinosaurs …

  5. Have you heard of Treasure baskets and heuristic play?
    Both my children loved this type of play, I used to use it in Nurseries too. The book is not one I have read but i linked it to give you the idea. 🙂

  6. Hi, just found your blog through one that mentioned Andy Goldsworthy – anyone who likes AG is worth a look : ) your blog is lovely ! will pop along again for a browse : )

  7. Nice theme with the dinosaurs! I keep hearing about sensory bins but sadly I have yet to take the plunge. I think I’m freaked out by the ensuing mess lol. So I usually just bring LO to the park and he likes to play in the sand there as well as find bits of acorns, pine cones and nuts.

  8. Great idea!! I think you should write a book with your ideas to share.

  9. I know sensory=mess right? Don’t worry, everything picks up easily specially if it s dry stuff. The biggest concern would be for those who explore objects orally still because of chocking hazards. Just wanted to share that parents can use cardboard boxes or large storage bins with lids to create the sensory bins in. Lentils-because of their smooth feel make a great dry bean sensory too.

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