One educational element I regret not using with my son's while they were toddler/preschool age is sensory bins. I didn't even know what they were a couple years ago but once I started seeing them on different blogs I fell in love with them. I am starting home preschool with my three year old and decided to finally get the ball rolling with sensory bins. Since we are currently learning about apples, this is what I put together for her.
I really wanted the sensory bin to have an apple orchard feel to it so I used black beans as my base to look like dark, rich soil. I picked up the mini fake apples at Wal-Mart that came in sets of 15 each. They were a bit of a splurge but they were the perfect size and I knew we would get great use out of them. I also picked up the two tin bins at Wal-Mart which I know I will use in the bin over and over again so they were a good investment.
Another piece of inspiration for the apple sensory bin was the book "Ten Red Apples" by Pat Hutchins. It is a MUST for a preschool apple unit! I decided to keep everything in the bin in sets of 10 to go along with the book, so there are 10 red apples, 10 green apples, and 10 apples on each of the apple trees.
There are several different activities you can do with this sensory bin. First, you can pick up the apples with tongs and sort them by color in the two bins.
The apple trees are also a fun activity. I made the trees by cutting out a tree shape from a green foam sheet. Then I cut slits on each side of an empty toilet paper tube and slide the tree down in the slits.
Next I found small circle Velcro pieces at Wal-Mart and attached 10 of the smooth sides on to each tree and 20 of the rough Velcro sides to all of the little apples. I used our red, green and yellow glitter poms from Craftprojectideas.com for the apples.
The little apple poms can be taken off and put back on the trees as many times as your child's heart desires. These trees also couple as a way to act out the "Ten Red Apples" book. I filled a tree with apples and as we read through the book she removed the apples from the tree when the book prompted her to.
I included a small scoop in the sensory bin so she could practice scooping all of the beans as well. She loves filling the toilet paper rolls with beans and then lifting them up and watching all the beans fall out.
I definitely got a huge smile of approval on our first sensory bin! I am so excited to use them this year in our home preschool!!
Did you miss our Cupcake Liner Apple Tree Craft? You can read about it HERE.