Check out this super fun & inviting beach sensory bin that’s perfect for your preschool summer or ocean theme!
We are a participant in the amazon services llc associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to read our full disclosure.
THE BENEFITS OF SENSORY PLAY
I don’t know about you, but I have fond memories of playing with the sand and water table in my kindergarten classroom when I was 5. All these years later, I can still remember how much fun it was to explore, try out new tools, and use my imagination to create!
Unfortunately, many classrooms are getting away from this type of hands-on sensory play. Between the endless amount of standards to teach, increased expectations, and jam-packed days, sensory play can get pushed aside for other seemingly “more important” tasks.
But there’s nothing more important than sensory play!
We know our little ones learn best when they can touch and feel something, and sensory play allows them to have this hands-on experience while still practicing foundational academic skills.
We love to incorporate sensory bins into our weekly routine, and we have so much fun switching them up according to our theme. And this beach sensory bin might just our favorite of the year!
BEACH SENSORY BIN
For our beach sensory bin, we decided to add one of our favorite fillers…kinetic sand!
If you haven’t played with kinetic sand yet, I highly recommend it! It is cool to the touch, moldable, and doesn’t make a giant mess like regular sand. It almost seems like magic since it sticks to itself and not you!
We tried out this kinetic sand with beach sand for a more authentic beach feel, and it was amazing!
After adding in the kinetic sand, we also added seashells and a starfish mold on the “beach side.” Then we added in blue gems and sea animals on the “ocean side.” We divided the two sides with some rocks from our backyard, but I know they won’t stay separated for very long!
The great part about this sensory bin is that it sparks so much imaginative play! It is also great for oral vocabulary development, which will be a key component for reading comprehension once our little ones start reading.
You can have your little ones play with this sensory bin just as it is, or you can add in some academic practice. Totally up to you! Keep reading for an example of a literacy activity and a math activity you could add to this bin.
BEACH LETTER SORT
One literacy activity you could add to your beach sensory bin is this Beach Letter Sort from my summer preschool pack, Littles Love Summer. This letter sort comes with four different sorting mats: In My Name vs. Not In My Name; Holes vs. No Holes; Uppercase vs. Lowercase; and Straight vs. Curvy vs. Both. It also comes with both uppercase and lowercase summer-themed letters.
I love using letter sorts with my preschoolers so they start going deeper with their alphabet knowledge. As a teacher, I don’t just want them to tell me the name and sound of each letter…I want them to also see how letters relate to one another to make letters more meaningful to them. Plus I want them to practice their visual discrimination skills, which will be so important once they start reading.
BEACH TEN FRAMES
For math, it would be fun to add these Beach Ten Frames to your beach sensory bin, also from Littles Love Summer. Your little one will match the sandcastle ten frame to the correct number. You could also have them use the seashells to cover up the sandcastles on each ten frame to practice one-to-one correspondence.
I love how this activity encourages so many different math skills: number identification, numerical order, subtilizing, one-to-one correspondence, and visual discrimination. Plus those sandcastle ten frames are super fun for summer!
Both of these activities are part of Littles Love Summer, my summer preschool pack with 15 literacy and math activities + a book project. Click here to read more about it!