Winter Sensory Bin: 5 Activities Improving Fine Motor Skills
As the weather turns colder, it can be difficult to keep your child engaged and ensure that they continue developing their fine motor skills. Sensory play activities engage your child’s five senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Research shows a number of benefits from sensory play. Some include language improvement, improved motor skills, and increased cognitive growth.
One form of sensory play that has gained increasing traction in recent years is the sensory bin. The great thing about a sensory bin is that it provides the perfect form of sensory play.
If you’re looking for a few winter-themed sensory bin activities to keep your children stimulated, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we provide 5 things you can do with a sensory bin to help improve your child’s fine motor skills.
1. Frosty The Snowman – In Playdough
For this first winter sensory bin, we’re starting with a play dough sensory bin. You don’t need to worry about filling the entire bin with playdough. Just use enough for your child to sink their hands into.
Choose colors like white and pale blue that fit into the snowy theme. Then, toss in a few toys to play with. Child-safe cookie cutters, buttons, and other little toys are perfect for this.
The idea is to encourage your preschooler to mold the playdough into winter-inspired shapes like snowmen and snowflakes. This activity allows them to use their hands to create detailed shapes. While embellishing them by picking up and move small objects like buttons. These physical movements are perfect for stimulating their fine motor skills.
2. Snowballs Made of Cotton
There are few things children love more than hunting for buried treasure. Fill your sensory bin with a basic filling that’s white in color, like rice. Then, bury miniature cotton balls in the filling and ask your child to find each and every cotton ball.
You could let them use their hands, but giving them a pair of tweezers will make the game more challenging and better for their hand-eye coordination. Using tools like tweezers requires fine movement of the hands and fingers – the perfect winter-themed activity for improving fine motor skills.
3. Snow Without The Wet – Baking Soda
Using a powdery, sandy filler like baking soda is excellent for encouraging sensory play. Children love running their hands and fingers through baking soda, and its white color gives it the appearance of real snow.
The same suggestions here apply. Throw in a few tools and toys and encourage your child to use their hands to explore. You could give them a few small cups and a shovel and have them fill the cups full with baking soda. They use the shovel as a way to help their motor skills develop.
4. Sweet Sorting with Mini Marshmallows
This activity adds a sweet touch to the buried cotton ball sensory bin. Instead of cotton balls, use colored mini marshmallows. Then, have your preschooler search for and find the marshmallows buried in the rice. Once they’ve found them, you can have your child organize the marshmallows by color.
This requires them to use their sense of touch and sight to find and organize the marshmallows, perfect for motor skills improvement. It’s entirely up to you whether you let your child eat all the marshmallows when done. Our recommendation is to save a few for yourself and enjoy them together as a sweet ending to this activity.
5. Fake Snow Fun
Fake snow can be purchased either in bagged form or as a powder that can be mixed with water to create a realistic and fun impression of snow. If you decide to go with the water-activated snow, you will be using a wet filling for your sensory bin and should have your towels ready. To take it to the next level, let your child make colored snow!
All you need is some food coloring and a few paintbrushes. Water down the food coloring and put it into little cups. Your toddler can then “paint” color onto the snow in an activity that is fun, creative, and stimulating.
Have Fun With Your Child This Winter
To summarize, the best sensory bins have a basic filler material, an added activity or goal, and hand tools to encourage your child’s fine motor skills. There are so many ways to give your sensory bin activities a fun winter twist, and we hope we’ve inspired your creativity with this list of ideas.
Here at the Children’s Learning Center, we are passionate about fostering educational opportunities and providing engaging crafts and activities designed to support your child’s development. We offer programs for children aged 0-12 and have an experienced, nurturing staff committed to seeing your child grow and learn.
Call for more information