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.
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.
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
- Uncooked bulk rice or fine play sand
- Under bed storage plastic bin for more than one kid, plastic dish pan for one kid – you can also use a plastic bin with a lid if you want to store this for multi-day play
- Sea shells collection
- (Optional) Drift wood pieces (small)
- (Optional) Pebbles
- Small plastic shovels, sand scoops or kitchen cooking spoons
- (Optional) Small toys
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.
Directions to Make a Seaside Sensory Bin
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.
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.
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.
More Sensory Bin Ideas for Kids
- Sensory bin ideas for kids – easy to make!
- And here is another ocean sensory bin that you might like to try!
- More fun DIY sensory bin ideas
- Preschool sensory bins you can create for sensory play
- Sensory bin ideas perfect for any month
- Make edible mud sensory bin
- Create a dinosaur bin for sensory play
- Oh so many wonderful sensory bins for toddlers and older kids as well…
- How about some Halloween sensory ideas?
- Or some sensory activities we identified for 1 year olds, but work for older kids too.
- Baby sensory bins are fun too!
- Homemade sensory bags are full of surprises
- And if your kids are having fun finding things in the sensory bin, try these hidden pictures games that also have an ocean theme…OK, it is shark, but they live in the sea!
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?