My kids are big on sensory play. My preschooler loves to play with handfuls of small objects, sorting, organizing and ultimately making a mess. My toddler likes playing too, but she wants to eat everything, which makes it challenging as well.
I wanted to create a sensory bin that fit out Israel-themed activities. My basis was dried garbanzo beans, as sand seems to get everywhere and garbanzo beans are desert colored and relatively easy to clean up. I then used blue and clear glass beads for my “water” – this could be the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee or the Mediterranean Sea. I have seen the European side of the later in person, and the garbanzo beans are very appropriate as the sand is more rocky than sandy.
Next I couldn’t help but add a little holiday flare – I put in silver and gold jingle bells and shredded red paper I had leftover from a gift basket I received from my students. Such fun colors! I then wanted some little people. I had bought some wooden peg people and I cut little squares of black and white fabric (you could use any color actually) and secured them with plastic hair-ties – I call these my nomads.
My finishing touches included two small plastic palm trees I’ve had sitting in my craft supplies for years and a Dromedary camel I bought as a miniature to go with my Montessori-style Israeli Fauna matching cards. I added two cake-ball tongs for transfer work and then let the babies at it.
My toddler played with the tongs for a few minutes and then had a meltdown because I wouldn’t let her eat the garbanzo beans… haha, it was naptime anyways, so up she went.
My preschooler was totally into this bin and played with it for a good hour or so before she was over it. Hey, at this age I call this a win! 🙂