Sensory Play Idea: Rainbow Bin with Green Pasta

Mar 17, 2014

Spring is on its way and we couldn't be more excited! We've started off our season of sunny, springy programming with a special St. Patrick's Day sensory play bin.

This bin is so simple to put together and is chock full of golden play possibilities. It is safe and inviting for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and best of all, it will cost you less than $10 to assemble! Here's what you will need...

How to Dye Pasta

1. Place 3 cups of dried pasta* (I used penne, as I thought it most resembled cut grass) in a large zip-lock bag or container with a lid. *I used a 900-gram bag of dried penne from the dollar store for $2.
2. Add 1–2 teaspoons of food dye, depending on how brilliant you want your colours.
3. Close the bag and SHAKE!!! Shake until your pasta is covered and then place them out on trays to dry. I used Styrofoam fruit trays from the market. Let your pasta sit in the sun if you want it to dry even faster...

Assembling the Sensory Bin
To make your pipe-cleaner rainbow, just hold all your pipe cleaners flat in the palm of your hand with the ends even at the bottom and top. Bend the wires into an arched shape and place them in your bin of pasta. Pile up your white pom poms around the bottoms of your rainbow and that's it!

I added a scoop, a bucket, and a bowl of gold coins (all purchased at our local dollar store), and placed the whole sensory bin on a drop cloth for the children to discover when they arrived in the morning.
This is where the magic of an open-ended sensory play bin really gets to shine...when the children get involved! I wish you could have heard the excitement in my kitchen when they spotted it! They play and shake...

They stack and pour...  
They thread and bend...

And they share and sort...

This play experience offers a plethora of opportunities to practice so many important skills. The children practice colour recognition, eye-hand coordination, fine-motor skills, cause and effect, shape/texture sorting and recognition, sharing and turn taking, filling and dumping (a toddler favourite), and creative innovation. Oh, and it's really pretty and a whole lot of fun! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Article Author Arlee Greenwood
Arlee Greenwood

Arlee is an Early Childhood Educator, earning her degree at BYU Idaho. She runs a government accredited care center in her home in Red Deer, AB. She studied with the New York Institute of Photography and she owns her own photography studio. Arlee is a mother of 6, an aspiring yogi, a lover of books, bento box lunches, travel, good food and wine. She’s a blogger in her “spare time” and she will never say no to chocolate. Find her at Small Potatoes, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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