Keeping kids engaged during the winter months can be challenging. With more focus on indoor play now that we have hit freezing temperatures, I’ve been thinking up some new themes for our sensory bin. To match the snowy weather that we’ve had here in Ohio this week, I decided to put together an Arctic themed bin. Using mini marshmallows as the base, I included an assortment of animals to create an Arctic habitat. I also added a package of small white storage cups that I flipped upside down to create glaciers for the animals to sit atop. These versatile cups also served as scoops and containers during play.
This was our first time using marshmallows as a base so both of my boys were excited to try this new sensory bin. The fresh marshmallows were soft and squishy, making it a fun new texture to touch. While this is a taste-safe base, marshmallows can be a choking hazard so supervision based on your child’s individual age, behavior and skill level is always appropriate. If you are looking for an alternative base, you could substitute the marshmallows in this sensory bin for cotton balls, snow (faux or real), white pom poms, flour, packing peanuts, ice cubes and so much more.
- 1 Plastic storage bin
- I used the Sterlite 28qt under bed storage bin
- Mini marshmallows
- 3 small 10oz bags or 2 large 16oz bags
- Add more or less for your needs
- Arctic animals or penguin figurines set
- I found these at my local Joann’s using a coupon but linked the exact set from Amazon
- Various brand/versions of these animal figurine sets are usually in stock at the local craft store
- Small white storage cups
- I found these at Target recently but think clear food storage containers could be a great option too.
- Measuring cups or scoops
- Decorative stones in white or shades of blue
- Additional toys
- Look around the house for toys you already own or visit your local dollar store for affordable new additions
The boys played in the bin together for some time then shifted to independent play when Connor decided to move some of the animals and icebergs out of the bin. He had items on the kitchen floor to expand his area of play and pretend he was in the Arctic with them. Meanwhile, Christopher was fixated on scooping up and dumping marshmallows. In all, this simple sensory bin encouraged both group and individual play, helped enhance fine motor skills and facilitated imaginary play and problem solving all while my kids were busy having fun.
As always, this basic idea can transform beyond the theme that is shown. I’ll be sharing additional winter themed sensory bins soon to give you new ideas on how to incorporate some of these elements again while still creating a new activity and overall experience for your little ones.