Sensory bin – just rice – unintentionally!

For this sensory bin my initial plan was to have a deconstructed aquarium consisting of the blue rice in the tub and all the other aquarium themed bits just around the side. My vision was that Lottie could choose what bits she wanted to use and then make her own aquarium.

Sensory bin/tub, sensory play, rice, aquarium, measures, early years, learn through play, EYFS

This failed spectacularly! She totally ignored all the aquarium items and just immediately started playing with the rice on its own. I grabbed a few spoons, measuring cups etc and that’s all she wanted to use!


She spent ages tipping rice from one container to the next and this gave us a lot of opportunities to explore measures and use mathematical language: Were the cups empty or full? Which spoon was the smallest/largest? What happened when we tipped a larger cup into a smaller cup? etc etc.


She then decided to fill up some of the larger scoops using only a spoon to pick up the rice. This was entirely her idea and it held her interest for a long period of time. It was a fantastic activity to develop her fine motor control and to help develop her wrist and finger muscles – all good preparation for when she (in good time – she’s not 2 yet!) learns to hold a pencil correctly.

Although this sensory bin didn’t start out as I intended it to at all, Lottie had a great time and I’m sure got far more out of it by using her own imagination to develop her play.

Supplies and Suppliers:

Rice – coloured blue and white (see this post for a How to guide)

Assorted spoons/scoops/jugs/pots etc

 EYFS links:

PD: sensory exploration, fine motor skills, co-ordination, control, manipulation

Maths: measures




Sensory bin – sticks and leaves and nature bits

Today we had a nature themed set up. We’d been for a walk in the woods recently and while we were there we collected some leaves, fircones and sticks. I put them together to create a very easy but entertaining sensory bin.

Small world/sensory bin/tub nature themed, outdoors, peg people, crochet trees, wooden house, learn through play, early years

My daughter loves her little peg people (more detailed post about them to come!) and so we made nature homes for them. I found a lovely wooden hamster house in our local pet store and I’ve been desperate to use it in something. Turns out the peg people fit into it perfectly!

We just added the collected natural items and some leaves for the floor. Oh and some adorable little crochet trees (handmade by myself – link at the bottom!).

Small world/sensory bin/tub nature themed, outdoors, peg people, crochet trees, wooden house, learn through play, early years

This was really easy to set up but kept Lottie amused for ages. Especially when she discovered she could take the roof off the house and see the peg people inside!


We also had great fun using the sticks to push the fircones along the floor. We raced each other and Lottie loved it. It was great for developing her fine motor control (and a bit of competitiveness too!).

Supplies and Suppliers:

Assorted leaves, sticks, fircones etc

Peg people or dolls house people

Crochet trees:

Hamster house:

EYFS links:

PD: sensory exploration, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, co-ordination, control

UW: imaginative play, exploring the world, plants



Small world – easy farm setup

This is a relatively easy set up but one that we use time and time again.

Small world farm/animals play, learn through play, early years, small world

We used a fake grass mat (link in the suppliers list), a bit of blue felt cut into a pond shape and our farm and animals to make up this small world play. It’s very quick and easy to set up!

We also have two of these ‘pens’ set up for various animals to go in (don’t ask me why there’s a pig, sheep and brown bear in there together…that’s the mind of an almost 2 year old for you!).


They came from an idea I saw on Facebook a while ago (I don’t have the link so can’t credit the original source) and are made from plant pot holders from Tiger (link in the suppliers list) with a bit of fake grass cut to size in the bottom. I bought the grass from eBay, it’s a sample sized piece from a garden supplies shop. It only cost a few pounds and it worked out to be just the right size – more by luck than judgement there I have to say!


Anyway, hugely fun and easy to set up. We spent ages naming the animals, making the appropriate animal noises, role playing feeding them… and demolishing the roof of the barn (or course!).

Small world farm/animals play, learn through play, early years, small world

Supplies and Suppliers:

Scrap of blue felt

Toy animals (ours are Holztiger)

Farm buildings/toy farm

Grass mat –—70-x-100cm-375020

Tiger plant pot holder – there isn’t a product link on the website but this is the company

Scraps of fake grass

EYFS links:

CL: communicating, speaking

PD: sensory exploration

UW: imaginative play, animals