15 + Summer Sensory Bin Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

The summer holidays are here and to keep that ‘I’m bored’ at bay for as long as possible, we have rounded up some of the best summer sensory bin ideas that are easy to setup, and feature lots of things you’ll already have lying around the house.

We always think some of the simplest ideas end up getting the best reception. For toddlers and beyond, scroll through to get some inspiration for some summer fun!

15 + Summer Sensory Bin Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

1.Ice Rocks

This natural summer sensory bin is the perfect ticket for summer fun, allowing your child to be involved from the implementation side too.

Collect rocks with your little ones, be it in your garden or on a nature walk, and when you get home freeze them into ice cubes. Add them to a bin and let you little one play with them, watch them melt and skid across the bin.

Instagram image credit: @happytoddlerplaytime

2. Bug Sensory Bin

There’s something about creepy crawlies that little ones just love to explore, and this is a great idea for outdoor play.

Grab a bin, fill with leaves or bark, bug catchers, magnifying glasses, and of course, creepy crawlies! Get them to spot them and add them to the catchers. Take a look at our insect tuff tray ideas for plenty more bug fun.

Instagram image credit: @thechildhoodglen

3. Mermaid Fun

If you have a mermaid loving little one, they will adore this tuff tray idea!

Add small and jumbo water beads, aquarium plants and fun resin mermaids for open ended role play.

Instagram image credit: @melodyinthemaking

4. Hot Chocolates

It doesn’t need to be cold weather to enjoy this drive by hot chocolate sensory bin! This idea is so much fun for little ones playing barista for the day.

You’ll need a bag of uncooked pinto beans, cotton balls, cups and scoops. Get them to fill and serve up to the guests that are waiting for their order!

Instagram image credit: @coffeeandspitup

5. Summer Alphabet Sensory Bin

Letter matching, but make it fun! Add some sand to a bin, and toss in some plastic alphabet letters and a shovel or two. Kids can match or trace the letters.

A great activity for indoor or outdoor fun with a seaside twist.

Instagram image credit: @thebenderbunch

6. Iced Tea

Perfect for hot summers day, this ice tea setup is a lot of fun (and taste friendly!).

Brew some ice tea, pour into the sensory bin with lemons, ice, cups and pitchers. Get your little ones to scoop, play and serve up!

Instagram image credit: @thechildhoodglen

7. Ocean Sensory Fun

There’s nothing that says summer like an ocean sensory setup, are we right?

Combine sand and a sea element to your bin like the below. Colored lentils or rice is a great option. Add scoops, and sea relevant items like shells and animal figures.

Instagram image credit: @daniellemsapienza

8. Simple Water Play

Water play is always one that is met with great anticipation from little ones. This simple water play setup will help to develop concentration and focus from the fountain as well as sensory exploration.

Everything goes here! Add a solar powered fountain, animal toys, scoops, pouring jugs and anything else you think would make a fun addition to water play.

Instagram image credit: @tufftray_adventures

9. Ice Cream Cloud Dough

It’s not summer without ice cream. This setup is a LOT of fun, take inspiration from the below.

Make the soft ice cream cloud dough with 4 cups flour, 0.5-1 cup oil, cocoa powder to make it chocolate ice cream, and sprinkles.

Don’t forget to add some scoops and cones for your little one to whip up some creations.

Instagram image credit: @mmecaroline

10. Froggy Fun

We’re a firm believe that sometimes the simplest setups are the ones that are enjoyed the most. Fill a bin with water, wooden logs, sticks, pebbles and frogs.

Leave this as an open ended role play session for your little ones.

Instagram image credit: @prekpages

11. Ice Cubes

Another simple, but super satisfying game. Fill your sensory bin with a shed ton of ice cubes, a plastic bucket, spade and ducks.

They’ll have so much fun transporting the ice cubes from the bucket to the bin. A great way to improve those fine motor skills at the same time.

Instagram image credit: @tinyteachermama

12. Shaving Foam Ice Creams

Okay, this might be one of our favorite ideas yet as it’s super sensory and great for role playing.

Make shaving foam ice creams with colored shaving foam! Add cups and plenty of scoops, use sprinkles or pom poms for the toppings.

Instagram image credit: @playtime_laughandlearn

13. Spoon Practice

If you’re looking for a quick afternoon activity on a rainy day, this spoon practice will help to fill the time. Get your little ones to transfer the pom pots with a spoon, adjust what you offer to transfer and containers you use depending on what you have available at home.

Instagram image credit: @how2montessori

14. Ocean Exploration

Another twist on a water play activity. If you have two bins add water to one side with water beads on the other side. Add mini fishing nets, sea creatures and boats for plenty of play opportunities.

Instagram image credit: @thechildhoodglen

15. Frog Pond

Embrace a beautiful summers day outside with a frog pond summer sensory bin. Fill with water and add items such as lily pads, frogs, flower petals, and numbered pebbles if you want to introduce some number counting into their play activity.

Instagram image credit: @tufftray_adventures

16. Parts of A Flower

This simple sensory idea allows your little one to learn about the parts of a flower. Use items such as lentils, decaf coffee beans or rice for the base.

Take inspiration from the below to craft your setup. Add labels for the different parts of the flowers.

Instagram image credit: @keepingthelittlesbusy

17. Perfume Potion Making

I have fond memories potion making when I was a child, and it’s a timeless activity that is still loved and adored today!

Add colored water for potion making or petal soup, add droppers to strengthen hand muscles and scoops and bowls to practice filling and pouring.

Which of these ideas will you be trying this summer? Let us know in the comments below if you have any other fun ideas that we should include!

Instagram image credit: @inspiremyplay
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Susan Sage
Susan Sage is a dedicated mother of two, whose journey through parenthood has fueled her passion for sharing knowledge and expertise with other parents. Her articles are a treasure trove of insights, offering practical advice, emotional support, and innovative ideas to help parents navigate the complexities of raising children in today's world.

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