July 3, 2012

Sensory Bins to Teach Night and Day

To go along with our study of the sun, I created sensory bins to teach about day and night.


Last week we studied the sun and how it gives us light.  I used a flashlight and a globe to demonstrate how the earth rotates and that it's night when where we live is facing away from the sun. Part way through the week I came across an awesome post from Connecting Family and Seoul with the creative sensory bin she set up for her son to Celebrate the Summer Solstice. Her bin has different ideas than mine, so be sure and visit her site for the details.


The timing of Connecting Family and Seoul's post couldn't have been more perfect.  As you know, I love combining what we learn with sensory exploration, and I knew that day and night sensory bins would be the perfect way to wrap up our study of the sun.  Ever since reading Messy Farm Play from Taming the Goblin I've been wanting to set up a bin full of coffee grounds.  Thanks to a recent post from CAUTION! Twins at Play! I was reminded that Starbucks has bags of used coffee grounds available daily.  I asked my husband to grab a large bag one day while he was running errands.


  • For the Day bin I used cloud dough (flour and grape seed oil).  I added in a few flowers from our yard and butterflies from Dollar Tree that we used in our Bird's Nest Sensory Bin.
  • For the Night bin I used coffee grounds and glow in the dark stars.


I used two separate bins for the purpose of having enough for all four boys to enjoy, but I fully anticipated the two bins being combined.


J-Bug (3) played the longest, by far.  He made balls, castles, volcanoes, pizza, lattes, rockets, and more. 


The little guys (11 months) also enjoyed digging in the bins.


Tank immediately taste tested the night side.


I don't think he is a fan of used coffee grounds, what do you think?



There's nothing better than hands on learning!  (And when you can make it smell like coffee...WIN!)

For more ideas for sensory bins follow my Sensory Activities board on Pinterest.

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22 comments:

  1. oh, no... doesn't look like it tasted too bad. lol. these are so neat separate. together, they look like mash-up oreo. i bet they were a super fun texture.

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  2. How fun! Love the face of the little guy after the taste test :)

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  3. What a fun time! I love the smell of coffee with any activity! :)

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  4. I love the night time bin! Super creative and easy! I will have to try that one for sure. It looks like they had a blast!!

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  5. Awesome idea!

    Julie @ Naptime Review.

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  6. very sensible to do it outside. looks like fun - i'm impressed how much coffee you get through!

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  7. What a great idea! We are going to do a unit on the night sky soon, so that nighttime sensory bin will be very useful! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I always see the coffee grounds and never once thought to use them this way...brilliant! Stopping by from TGIF...stop by and say hi

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  9. What great buckets. Looks like the little one might pass on coffee for a while.
    blessings, Dawn

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  10. Great idea, and thanks for the tip about the Starbucks coffee grounds. My mind is now turning with ideas of what all I could do with them, lol! Thanks for sharing at the Outdoor Play Party.

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  11. This is such an amazing idea. I've been saving up coffee grounds to make some dinosaur eggs and I ended up with WAY too much. This would be the perfect idea for the extra we have. Love the pics of your little guy tasting the stuff. http://sjthomeschool.blogspot.com/

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  12. That looks like a lot of fun! The pictures are great. Please add a link to this post tomorrow on the first ever Artsy Play Wednesday on Capri + 3. It is a new weekly linky for posts about arts, crafts and play activities for children. I hope to see you there.

    : 0 ) Theresa
    http://www.multiples-mom.com

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  13. I love the idea of two contrasting sensory bins. Thanks for posting on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you'll be back this week.
    -Mackenzie
    http://www.cherriosandlattes.com

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  14. OH wow I didn't know that about the coffee grounds. We don't have a Starbucks locally but maybe next time we're on the road. Thanks for sharing the tip and linking up at Learn through Play linky today !

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  15. I featured this on my link-up post! Zel has really been into smelling things lately including my coffee! He would love this especially since it has stars. Thanks for linking up :)

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  16. Great idea! We're just starting on real sensory bins with Edie, and I'll definitely post when we use this one!

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  17. Love the face hahaha! Thanks for sharing on Hey Mom, Look What I Did at Adventures In Mommy Land!!

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  18. OMGosh they looked so happy! Great ideas.. Thanks for linking up!

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  19. I'll have to tell one of our friends she works at a kindergarten... i think this will be great fun for there kids.

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  21. How do you store up so many used coffee grounds? Do they need to be refrigerated? Frozen? Do they go bad after a certain amount of time? I'm just thinking the most economical way to get so many is to just save them after we make coffee every morning for a while! =)

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