My kids have always had a certain fascination with bugs while I myself am not a huge insect person. Certain things such as raising butterflies are a lot of fun, but up close interactions with bugs beyond that is just not something I can handle without my skin crawling. This Insect Sensory Bin was a fun way for us to explore the fascination of slimy creepy crawlers without me actually having to handle live bugs. A happy middle ground for us!
Sensory Bins are one of my kids favorite activities, and quite honestly I love them too. They are simple to throw together and can usually entertain kids for quite some time. They are also a fantastic tool for imaginative play, fine motor, and language development. Activities such as this insect sensory bin are extremely open ended and easy to modify to your child’s developmental level and needs.
Items Needed for a Bug Bin:
- Cooked Spaghetti
- Green Food Dye
- A Bin (Rubbermaid works great)
- Insect TOOBS
- Magnifying Glass
- Fine Motor Toys (scoops, tweezers, spoons, etc)
Setting Up Play:
This bin does require some prep to play which will take about 30 minutes. To prep your spaghetti for play boil it until it is at the texture you desire. I usually cook ours until it is soft enough to eat. Drain and rinse with cool water. Add in the green food dye and stir until your pasta is fully coated. Then place your pasta in an area that it can dry out. I usually put ours on a cutting board. It should take about 10-15 minutes to reach a level of dried out to where the food dye will not transfer to your hands. Drying times will vary depending on which brand of food dye that you use. Personally I use and love Wilton’s Icing Colors because their colors turn out nice and vibrant.
How to Play with Your Insect Sensory Bin:
Once your pasta is ready to go simply pour it into an open container and pour your Insect TOOB on top. Set out your tools for exploration and invite your kids to play!
Meatball started out his play by naming all the bugs in the sensory bin and matching any pairs. Then we discussed how many legs each bug had and whether or not they had wings, antennas, or stingers.
Which was the perfect opportunity to pull out the magnifying glass for further inspection!
After inspecting and exploring every insect it was time to dig into the bin! Spaghetti is definitely one of my favorite sensory materials as it is squishy, stringy, and slimy. It is such a fun material to scoop and dump!
It also is a great challenge for little hands which makes it great for fine motor! It was a fantastic material to imitate grass. Our bugs had a brilliant time playing hide-n-seek in it! Some of them were a bugger to find!
All in all my kids had a blast with this sensory bin! It was a super easy solution for a quick distraction that kept them engaged and learning!