Sensory Bins are a great way for preschoolers to retell stories in today’s Ocean Themed storybook Summer Post we are creating a simple and easy to put together Ocean Themed Sensory Bin that children will love exploring.
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My four-year-old daughter Anna adores the Ladybug Girl picture book series. Ladybug Girl at the Beach is one of her absolute favorites, so I put together a simple ocean-themed sensory bin for her to play with. It’s been such a hit that her 7-year-old and 9-year-old siblings have since joined in the fun!
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Ocean Themed Sensory Play Materials
- Kinetic sand. You can substitute regular sand, but my children prefer the texture of kinetic sand – and it makes much less of a mess.
- Sea shells. We had some we had gathered on a beach trip a few years ago. They are also available for sale.
- (Optional, but very fun). Sea creatures. We had been sent one of these Good Luck Minis sea turtles by Safari, and it was perfect for this sensory bin. This ocean fun pack would also work well.
- Tray. We got this blue tray from IKEA several years ago, and it gets used constantly! The blue color was perfect for pretend water.
Setting Up Ocean Themed Sensory Play
This sensory play setup is fairly straightforward, and kids don’t require any instructions to play. I set this tray up as an invitation to play for Anna right after lunch. I set out the kinetic sand to create a couple of islands, adding in the shells, and leaving the turtle swimming in the blue “water”.
Anna was instantly drawn to the tiny turtle. She made him a house underneath one of the shells, and swam him from island to island. Eventually she started a hide and seek game, where she would hide the turtle and ask me to guess where he was.
Anna has asked for this sensory play setup again several times now. She likes to add in other small animals we own, as well as cookie cutters and other play dough tools. This sensory bin is a wonderful way for Anna to explore textures while also developing storytelling skills. It brings the beach to our dining room table!
More Ocean Themed Activities and Crafts
MaryAnne lives in California’s Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children: Emma (11), Johnny (9), Lily (7), and Anna (4).
She writes about building a rewarding family life through mindful parenting and educational and creative family activities at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting.
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