Best sensory bin for toddlers

Arts & Crafts

Sensory bins are great learning tools that allow young ones to explore through hands-on play and engage their senses, and they can also be very therapeutic.

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Which sensory bin for toddlers is best?

Sensory toys are those that are designed to specifically engage a particular sense. Toddlers, who can often be overwhelmed or overstimulated, can use sensory toys by themselves or with others for calming, therapeutic play. Sensory bins put several textures and materials together in one place for young ones to explore. 

If your toddler loves texture and playing with hands-on toys, they may benefit from a sensory bin. Models like the Creativity for Kids Sensory Bin: Construction Zone Playset are made with your toddler’s interests in mind and use fun materials to keep their senses engaged.

What to know before you buy a sensory bin for toddlers

Materials

Sensory bins can be made with all kinds of materials. Some of these include water beads, aquarium rocks, sand, colored rice or pasta, beans — and that’s just to name a few. Using a variety of materials shows children different textures and lets them practice using their senses.

Purpose

While sensory bins are great for just having fun, they serve some therapeutic purposes as well. Children who struggle with social or sensory skills can use sensory bins to help calm and focus them. If your child prefers visual or auditory toys rather than tactile, there are many great sensory toys that appeal to these senses as well. 

Mess control

Depending on the material you’re using, sensory bins can become messy in the blink of an eye, especially if they’re being used indoors. Before deciding on a sensory bin, consider ways to help keep things neat to save yourself the headache later. 

What to look for in a quality sensory bin for toddlers

Safety

For any toddler toy, safety is a top priority. Because sensory bins contain so many small tools and pieces, they ought to be particularly safe. Any material used in a sensory bin should be large enough so that choking isn’t a hazard. Water beads aren’t recommended for children under 3 because of the choking hazard they pose. 

Each time you use your water beads, keep an eye out for black spots. Black spots indicate the growth of mold, and you should throw your water beads out immediately. Regardless of age or the particular accessories, it’s important to supervise children using sensory bins.

Variety

Sensory bins that hold a toddler’s attention the longest are those with variety. For example, some sensory bins come with a spot for sand and water beads in the same bin. This allows for more opportunities to indulge their imaginations and occupy their senses.

Educational properties

While sensory bins aren’t specifically designed to be educational, many of them offer educational components for toddlers. Skills like color recognition, counting and language development all take place subconsciously while playing in a sensory bin.

How much you can expect to spend on sensory bins for toddlers

The cost of a toddler sensory bin can be $16-$50. Those that are more expensive are typically made with wooden boxes and tools, and cheaper ones come with plastic accessories.

Sensory bins for toddlers FAQ

What are the benefits of sensory play?

A. Sensory bins promote the development of sensory and fine motor skills and color recognition, as well as encouraging problem-solving. Children who engage in sensory play together promote cooperation and language skills. 

Can water beads be reused?

A. Yes. To dehydrate, lay all water beads in a single layer to dry them out, ideally in a place where humidity is low. Once they’re dehydrated, place them in an airtight container and they can be reused time and time again.

What happens if my child swallows a water bead?

A. Water beads are non-toxic, so they aren’t poisonous. However, ingested water beads still pose a threat: if ingested before expanding, they can expand inside a child’s body and cause obstructions. If your little one likes to put things in their mouth, be sure to supervise them while using water beads, or opt for a different sensory toy. A great taste-safe alternative is tapioca balls.

What’s the best sensory bin for toddlers to buy?

Top sensory bin for toddlers

Creativity for Kids Sensory Bin: Construction Zone Playset

Creativity for Kids Sensory Bin: Construction Zone Playset

What you need to know: Besides a construction zone, this brand offers other versions like a garden, dinosaur park, ice cream shop, the ocean and outer space, ensuring that every child can find something that interests them.

What you’ll love: This complete sensory bin comes with 2.5 pounds of sensory sand, construction trucks and signs and sensory tools that come together in a bin with a lid that doubles as storage.

What you should consider: Some reviewers reported receiving their bin with cracks or missing pieces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair 

Top sensory bin for toddlers for the money

MAGICLUB Water Beads Bin

MAGICLUB Water Beads Bin

What you need to know: Simply add water and let water beads soak for 4-6 hours for them to fully expand, making a soft and squishy texture that little ones love. 

What you’ll love: This water bead set includes strainers, tweezers, spoons and 6 ounces (thousands) of 10 different colored water beads. Their soft and slippery texture provides relaxation and comfort to little ones.

What you should consider: Some reviewers said their bin arrived cracked or broken.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Build Me Dinosaur Play Sand Kit

Build Me Dinosaur Play Sand Kit

What you need to know: With an included 34 pieces, this sand sensory bin is ready to use the moment you receive it.

What you’ll love: Included in this kit are plastic dinosaurs, trees, molds, fencing, dinosaur skeletons and 2 pounds of play sand. The sand is self-contained, holds its shape and never dries out, making cleanup easy. Everything comes inside a bin with a lid for storage.

What you should consider: Cleanup can be messy. Some reviewers said the accessories broke easily.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Keira Hulihan writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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