Hi friends! Today I thought I’d share a fun sensory bin that I threw together to bring to the twins’ preschool classroom on my parent helper day (read more about our cooperative preschool here). The theme for the week was “farm animals” and it also happened to be Easter week, so this was a perfect activity to fit both of those topics.
Chicks and Seeds Sensory Tray
Sensory Tray Ingredients:
- Mixed bird seed
- Large and small fluffy chicks (found at Michaels)
- An egg carton cut apart into individual cups
- Short scraps of brown yarn
- Speckled wooden eggs that were once part of our decor…now reserved for pretend play 😉
Our sensory tray itself is actually one of my newest favorite Ikea finds- it’s an Enudden bathroom mirror! The second I saw it I knew it would make a fantastic mirrored tray that we could use 100 different ways. Although the mirror is not technically “unbreakable,” it does have a safety film on it that makes it very sturdy. A few of the boys at preschool actually rapped on the mirror with the wooden eggs (yikes!) and there was no damage whatsoever. The sides of the mirror/tray are metal, so the entire thing is pretty heavy and unlikely to slide off of a table without lots of maneuvering. Of course you could always anchor it to a table with duct tape or velcro, but I haven’t found that to be necessary. The only modifications I made to the tray was to run a line of hot glue (you could also use caulk) along the inside edges where the mirror meets the metal to prevent any materials from leaking into the cracks.
This sensory tray was a hit both at school and at home with the twins. It was so fun to see all the children in the classroom gathered around the tray, laughing and exploring the materials together. The tray inspired lots of pretend play as the children used the egg carton cups and yarn scraps to make “nests” for the chicks. Some children preferred to use the cups as little feeders full of birdseed, while others simply used them to dump and fill. The mirror itself added a whole new dimension to the tray which was really fun to watch- the kids loved digging through the seeds to find the mirror and make faces at their reflections. Later on at home Will carefully moved the seeds to make a mirror “pond” so the chicks could get a drink.
We played with this tray several more times after I brought it home from the classroom. In addition to the pretend play and sensory exploration I described above, the twins also enjoyed sorting and counting all the different types of seeds in the mixture, using their outside kitchen toys to make “seed soup” for the chicks, and even “planting” sunflower seeds with their little shovels all over the yard (and watching to see if they would grow immediately).
This was a super fun and engaging activity that was great for a variety of developmental skills. The twins and their classmates (age 3) engaged in sensory exploration, vocabulary development, imaginative play, fine motor work, early math activities such as sorting and counting, and social interaction. They also compared and contrasted the different types of seeds, the different colors of eggs, and the different sizes of chicks.
More Good Stuff for You
If you are looking for more farm themed activities for toddlers and young preschoolers, check out our entire collection HERE– we’ve got everything from art to small world play to language activities!