If you haven’t tried introducing sensory bins to your child, do it tomorrow! Sensory bins are always a big hit in our house (well, 95% of the time hehe).
There are many great resources about sensory bins on the internet, but it’s basically a means to provide a tactile experience in a contained area.
Most sensory bins have the base/filler (in this photo above, we had pasta, oatmeal, and pom poms) and the tools that a child uses to pick up, sort, scoop (I prepared an empty small water bottle and Alia only used her hands to gather the pom poms).
I’d recommend that you wait until your child stops putting random things in their mouth. I first used sensory bins when she was 10 month old, and I mainly used dry oatmeal because it’s fairly safe if it gets swallowed. I remember that her initial reaction was to try the oatmeal. But as soon as she learned that they’re not tasty and have weird texture, she stopped and focused more on other things like throwing the oatmeal in the air hahahah!
Why use sensory bins? Because it’s a FUN play-based learning!!! 😀 On a more serious note, it’s a great way to provide opportunities for a child to develop their fine motor skills, language skills, improve their focus and concentration, and stimulate their five senses.
I purposely chose these items because I wanted to introduce the theme of texture: hard vs. soft. It’s very easy to set up. You can use other items like items as the filler for this sensory bin. For the hard objects, you can use corn, gravels, beans, buttons, and the soft ones could be cotton balls or feathers.
Don’t be afraid of the mess! Have the child sit on a tarp or a clear shower curtain, so the mess is contained. And a vacuum cleaner or a broom will also come in handy in case your child likes to sprinkle things here and there :p
About a month after I introduced this particular bin, I added a spoon and a measuring cup because Alia is into spoons there days. It’s certainly more challenging trying to scoop one pom pom at a time AND put it into the bottle. But she was very determined! I love to watch her when she’s very focused (I hope she’s this focused when she has to do her homework later! Heheheh…). Once her grip is stronger, we’ll use a tong and a pair of chopsticks as the tools.
Disclaimer: my beloved daughter likes things to be neat and clean, so that’s why you don’t see a lot of mess on tarp. But she wasn’t always like this as seen on the picture below :p