Food sensory bins allow our children to experience not only different tactile sensations but also the sights and smells of the items! It’s also a wonderful way to get our kids engaging with food — particularly if they have a hard time with textures and smells at dinnertime.
Emma from Adventures of Adam is joining us today… and oh my goodness does she have some delightful treats in store for you with her food sensory bins! To get the full story on any of these individual sensory bins, visit Emma over at Adventures of Adam.
15 Fun Food Sensory Bin Ideas
This post is part of the Sensory Summer series, hosted by Mommy Evolution in partnership with The Sensory Spectrum. I encourage you to follow us all summer and visit our Sensory Summer landing page to get the latest sensory fun for your kiddos! This post contains affiliate links.
Edible Car Track Sensory Bin
For a fun spin on a food sensory activity, we made an edible car track with Birkmann Racing Track Stand-Up Cookie Cutter Set. I set the car track up on some artificial grass and added a few traffic signs and buildings from Adam’s train set. The car and motor cycle cookies fitted perfectly onto the cookie road and stood up easily.
Old MacDonald Sensory Bin
We used Chocolate Angel Delight to create a muddy pig sty for the pigs and Hartley’s Lime Jelly for the grass in the sheep’s field. Each section was made using a different type of food and the fields were fenced in by using Weetabix. For the horse field I used a mixture of lentils, chick peas and corn kernels. The cow field was made from black turtle beans. The goat field contained malt wheats and the remaining fields were created from multigrain hoop cereal.
Jelly Sweets Sensory Bin
It is important to note that these sweets could cause a chocking hazard with small children. As with all play you will need to supervise your child at all times. I was confident that Adam would not put the sweets in his mouth.
Cornflake Sensory Bin
I tipped a whole bag of value Cornflakes into our sensory tray and went back inside to get the box of recycled plastic containers. I came out to find Adam already stomping in the cornflakes. Just add in cardboard tubes, plastic containers and milk bottle scoop to complete the fun!
Construction Sensory Bin
I melted dark chocolate in the microwave, poured it into a shallow tray and placed construction vehicles and trees around the box.
Just a note: Make sure you tidy up straight away. Removing chocolate from digger wheels isn’t easy once it’s cooled and set!
Rainbow Spaghetti Sensory Bin
Take cooked spaghetti, add in a little food coloring and instant colored food fun! I just tipped two of the bags of spaghetti into a bowl and let the kids explore. One instantly covered herself while my own son was more deliberate with the spaghetti.
Edible Rainbow Sensory Bin
Our rainbow was created with just two ingredients – bread and food coloring. It was straight forward to set up. I slightly toasted 6 slices of bread and then placed them in a food processor. Once I had bread crumbs I added 15ml of water and a very small amount of Wilton Food Coloring. The food processor combined the coloring and the bread crumbs. I poured the dyed bread crumbs onto a baking tray and left them to dry for a while. I repeated the process until I ended up with 6 colors.
Oats & Chic Pea Sensory Bin
For this sensory activity, I tipped in a bag of porridge oats and placed a few diggers and tractors in it to create a building site, but you could add anything you wanted into this sensory bin. As Adam started to play, I opened up a can of chick peas, drained away the water and placed them on a baking tray lined with kitchen roll in order to get the excess moisture off. Adam could use the chick peas as boulders for the diggers to move around. Perfect!
Potato Smash Sensory Bin
All you need for this sensory bin are potato flakes, a mixing bowl, some utensils and warm water. Kids can measure, move and pour the potato flakes. When you’re ready, add in the warm water to make a kind of potato play dough!
Gummy Worm Sensory Bin
Leave all of the extra sugar at home by making your own gummy worms (or jelly worms). Add in raisins for a great time exploring the worms and mud. Really, this food sensory bin couldn’t be more simple but engaging.
Dinosaur Smelly Swamp Sensory Bin
Using herbs and spices are a great way of getting little ones to explore the sense of smell. They are also readily available – we just had to venture into our kitchen cupboard (and Nana’s garden) to set up our Dinosaur smelly swamp sensory bin.
Many herbs and spices do not smell until they are crushed. Instead of using a mortar and pestle, we used dinosaurs to crush the different herbs to release their fresh flavors and experience their scent.
Basil Sensory Bin
I used a packet of Basil Seeds, which we used for our Life Cycles topic when teaching about the life cycle of a frog. Basil seeds are brilliant. In the packet the seeds are tiny but when you soak them they absorb the water and expand to 30 times their original size. I placed approximately 100g of Basil seeds into a large lunch box, filled the box with warm water and left the seeds to soak for half an hour.
Wheat Flakes Sensory Bin
Wheat flakes make the perfect base for any sensory activity. I added a box of zoo animals and a variety of utensils, but you can make this food sensory bin anything you like.
Alphabet Pasta Messy Play
Setting up the activity was straight forward. I poured a tin of Heinz Alphabetti Spaghetti (but you could use Chef Boyardee) into a tray and placed a variety of construction toys inside. Just add scoopers, construction vehicles or anything that will scoop, push or move the pasta for some fun messy play.
Edible Dinosaur Sensory Play
I baked cookies using dinosaur cookie cutters. As the dinosaurs were made out of cookies, I created the whole sensory bin around edible items. I used raisins for a Jurassic dirt pool for the dinosaurs to wallow in together with apple purée for a sticky swamp. Raw broccoli looked realistic as trees, as did apricots as rocks. Broken up rice cakes worked well as uneven stony terrain.
Fall Harvest Sensory Bin
We used Wheat Chex, Weetabix and Cherrios. In the box I placed our fake grass mat as a base and added a farm house and a variety of tractors. At one end I stacked toilet roll tubes to represent hay bales.
About Emma & Adventures with Adam
Emma is a trained Primary School Teacher and blogs at Adventures of Adam, sharing her educational adventures she’s created for her son, Adam. Ready to be blown away by ALL of Emma’s wonderful food-based sensory activities? Visit Adventure of Adam’s Edible Page.