how to make mini sensory bins

Have you heard about or seen those amazing sensory bins on Pinterest? Or maybe you have one of those friends who put together the most amazing Martha Steward + Pinterest sensory bins for their toddler….and you’re just trying to find time to take a shower? (okay that’s probably just me…I’m sure you’re all showered and smelling nice!)

Well, I decided that I wanted to make sensory bins for my little guy (he’s almost 3 now) without all the time consuming, space taking, effort!

Mini Sensory Bins

One thing I’ve learned raising kids is that sometimes the bigger the activity, the bigger the mess! Mini sensory bins are perfect! My little guy can have fun with crazy textures, fine motor skills, fun themed play…but in a small quantity! So if it ends up all over the floor, it won’t be as big of a deal!


Mini bins can be made out of any small container. I prefer a container with a lid so I can store it and bring it out for fun, but open containers are great too. You can always store the contents in baggies and pour out into container.

  • Pencil cases (hard plastic with lid)
  • Plastic food storage containers
  • Reuse food containers like deli meat, cool whip, etc..
  • Plastic shoe boxes
  • Cookie sheets or trays with edges
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cake pans
  • Casserole dishes
rocks mini sensory bin
Made a quick sensory bin out of water, rocks, and sand! He’s using a magnifying glass to look! He was inspired by watching his older brother work on his earth science labs!

Ideas for Mini Sensory Bins

Sensory bins can be as simple or creative as you want.  Generally, you want to have items that help your child explore texture, new sights, smells…. (uses their senses – sensory). You can incorporate other items to interact with that your child can hide and find, scoop, pour, pick up with tweezers, etc...

sometimes your container can be your sink! Water play is a favorite sensory bin! Use items from kitchen, bath toys, bubbles and more!


  • sand
  • beans
  • rice
  • cotton balls
  • Easter grass
  • pasta noodles
  • dried split peas or lentils
  • water
  • shaving cream
  • cool whip
  • pudding
  • glass rocks
  • fish tank pebbles
  • flour/sugar
  • scents from extracts or oils
  • scents from spices (nothing spicy!!)
MAGNETS! Muffin tin became a quick mini sensory bin. Fill with metal objects and magnets!

Other items to use:

  • spoons
  • small bowls to fill
  • child tweezers
  • tongs
  • tiny cups (plastic shot glasses or similar)
  • plastic test tubes
  • cars
  • plastic animals
  • dinosours
  • mini erasers
  • pom poms
  • plastic craft gems/jewels
  • letter magnets
  • cut up paper
  • metal objects and magnet
  • mini squeeze bottles (look in the travel section)
  • mini droppers (children’s medicine dropper)
bug hunt sensory bin
Easter grass, mini bug erasers, and tweezers made a fun “bug hunt” sensory bin!


Hopefully these super easy ideas will help you create some very fun and simple mini sensory bins from items around your house!


What are your favorite sensory bin ideas??

I'd love to hear from you...tell me what you think!