Halloween Themed Sensory Bin

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I love making themed sensory bins, and since Halloween is a favorite in our family, G and I set out to to make one. We found JACKPOT at our local dollar store including sticky eyeballs and a skeleton that could be taken apart and reassembled.  We also found autumn scented dried spices to make our sensory bin smell a bit like a pumpkin pie!  We rushed home, to put this beauty together!To get started, we colored our rice.  G chose the colors orange, yellow and purple.  We added one pound bags of rice, actually brown rice, to gallon Ziploc bags.  We were not sure how well the brown rice would color, but figured we would give it a try, because that is what we had. 

Then we made a plan to color and scent our rice.  After a smell test, we choose cinnamon, clove, and ginger….

Since we had dried spices, we needed to add water to them so they could stick to the rice.  We added one tablespoon of spice to two tablespoons of water and this seemed to do the trick!

          

We put it in the bags and shook, Shook, SHOOK.  We added that mixture onto the rice and then added in about 20 – 30 drops of food coloring to get the colors we wanted.  Then we wiggled and danced and shook again!

   until we had:

We carefully poured them into our bin.

     

Read on for information on how bin size and amount of rice are the key for to making a sensory bin a the perfect tool for regulation and coping.  But first, the finishing touches!  How great are these Halloween add-ins?!  We took the pumpkin stickers and stuck two sticky sides together to keep them from sticking to the rice.  We found an awesome skeleton that could come apart, so we added each individual part to the skeleton.  We finished the bin off with sticky eyeballs, larger eyeballs and stringy centipedes.

Mixing it up was as fun as making it!

So what is so great about a sensory bin anyway?!

1. They provide a variety of sensory inputs – touch, smell, sight, and even sound!

2. Depending on the amount of rice and depth of the bin, they can assist with a variety of needs

~A shallow bin will help with DISCRIMINATION skills.  The more touch opportunities we have to discriminate, or detect the salient qualities of sensory inputs, the better we understand our bodies and how they interact with the environment.  This can help with improving fine motor control and coordination.

~A deep bin will help with MODULATION skills.  The deep rice, like really deep, up to the elbows, provides deep touch pressure which is calming and comforting for the body.   [See SOOTHE for more information on DEEP TOUCH PRESSURE)

3.  They can become a FOCUS tool, especially when you create a list of things to find in the bin.  Or even better, with this bin, to find all the parts of the skeleton and reassemble.

4.  Sensory bins can be used during quiet time, sensory break time, or even classroom stations.

5.  And like many sensory tools, that often seem to appeal to younger ages, I have seen many teenagers fully engaged in making and using sensory bins.

6.  You can be super creative.  Come up with your own theme and go CRAZY!

Recap:

Materials — bin, rice, food coloring, dry spices, water, miscellaneous decorative supplies of different textures

Directions

  1. Pour rice into Ziploc bags
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of water to 1 tablespoon of dried spice and stir
  3. Pour mixture over rice and shake
  4. Add 20 – 30 drops of food coloring per bag of rice to create colored rice
  5. Pour rice into bin
  6. Add decorative materials
  7. Mix and have fun!

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