Make a Seaside Inspired Ocean Themed Sensory Bin

Today we are making a seaside ocean sensory tub for kids!

This homemade sensory activity uses items that you likely already have at home and can help kids keep memories of a recent beach vacation or to explore the touches that they can experience near the ocean.

Seaside Ocean Homemade Sensory Bin for Kids - Kids Activities Blog
Let’s make an ocean themed sensory bin for play!


This idea came to me after returning from a seaside vacation (see my kids vacation essentials).  I thought creating a sensory bin for sensory play that was inspired by our trip would be a way we could keep that vacation spirit going long after we return home from the ocean.

How to Make an Ocean Themed Sensory Bin

We used some of our beach-combing treasures that we’d collected to make an imaginary seaside inside the sensory bin once we got back home.

We started with a container that was big enough for a couple of children to play in together, but still easily portable so we can use it indoors and out. We found that an under-bed storage box is ideal.

The seaside ocean sensory bin made at home with rice, toys, shells and more
Almost like sitting on the beach!

You may have these items from a recent vacation as well, but no worries if you don’t!  You can get them by clicking through the affiliate links used in this article.

Supplies Needed to Make a Seaside Sensory Bin

We’d been to a white pebble beach on our vacation, so we filled our tub with white rice to recreate it.  You could also use sand or try this idea for a rock pool that I love from Nurture Store.

Then we added all the treasures we’d collected to bring lots of sensory textures and play possibilities: drift wood, pebbles, shells, dried seaweed.

Homemade seaside ocean themed sensory bin for kids - Kids Activities Blog
Our seaside sensory bin invited a lot of toys to our homemade vacation beach!


Directions to Make a Seaside Sensory Bin

Step 1

Pour the rice (or sand) into the plastic bin filling it at least several inches deep.  For the best sensory experience, if kids can feel something under the rice (or sand) but not see it, it helps them start identifying things solely on touch.

Step 2

Add the sea shells, shovels or scoops and any other toys.  This can be a sensory bin that grows over time!  You don’t have to fill it right now with items to touch and feel.

Recreating ocean senses with sensory bin at home - Kids Activities Blog - kids on beach collecting shells
Recreate your ocean vacation experience at home!

Our Experience with the Ocean Sensory Bin

I found that younger children might love to simply enjoy touching and exploring all the beach items in the tub. My girls love to create imaginary lands so they brought their favorite characters along for a picnic day at the seaside.

This kind of play gives children the chance to recreate adventures they’ve had on vacation, to tell stories and practice new language, as well as learning how to co-operate with a friend to enjoy some play together.

Sensory bins for kids using rice - Kids Activities Blog - three rice filled sensory bins
Oh so many fun sensory bins we can make!

More Sensory Bin Ideas for Kids

If you have ever wondered how to tell if my child has sensory issues…we have been there!

What was your favorite part about making a seaside ocean sensory bin?


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