5 Awesome Rain Sensory Bin Ideas

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Dancing in the rain, jumping in muddy puddles, rain boots and freedom… it’s safe to say that my toddlers love everything about rain! After learning about the different types of weather through sensory play I created some rain sensory bins to explore the concept in more detail. From fluffy clouds to pom pom rain showers, these are our favorite rain sensory bins!

Rain Sensory Bin Ideas
Our rain sensory bin

 

Rain Sensory Bins

Sensory play is a fantastic tool to encourage kids to explore, engage and create and it helps kids develop essential skills. Our rain themed sensory bins are focused on developing a range of skills including:

  • Fine motor skills: our rain sensory bins incorporate lots of scooping, grabbing and pinching with tongs and squeezing water from droppers. All these activities mean little hands will work hard and improve muscle strength.
  • Creative skills: rain sensory bins offer open ended play opportunities and aim to capture their imaginations.
  • Language and vocabulary skills: as well as introducing extensive weather vocabulary I also set up a few simple experiments which are a really fun way to introduce basic science and weather concepts.

Rain Sensory Bins tip: we use the Ikea Flisat table for all our space sensory bin play. Don’t worry if you don’t have sensory table, you can use craft trays or storage bins to the same effect. If you have an Ikea Flisat table then check out our Ikea Flisat table hacks

Weather Sensory Bin
Color sorting and scooping with our rainbow rice

5 Easy Rain Sensory Bins

We’ve included our 5 favorite rain sensory bins. These are relatively easy to set up and were created with ingredients and toys in our cupboard and playroom!

Rain sensory bin essentials

  • Rain themed book: I like to accompany our sensory bins with some toddler appropriate books to set the scene and explore the concept in more detail. We used the Little Raindrop book and The Drop goes Plop.
  • Wooden scoops: a wooden scoop set works really well with a small ingredient like rice – something similar to this set will work great.
  • Wooden tongs: wooden tongs like these are fantastic for working on fine motor skills.
  • Jumbo eyedroppers:  this set of Jumbo eyedroppers are one of favorite sensory tools. They are excellent for fine motor skills and developing an understanding of cause and effect.
  • Wooden bowls: we love our Grimms stacking and nesting bowls  – we have this set in natural and rainbow colors.
Rain Sensory Bin Ideas
We used Jumbo droppers and the Little Raindrop book in this sensory bin

 

1 | Dancing in the rain!

The idea behind our first rain sensory bin is to introduce kids to the concept of rain and illustrate rain and all the things we associate with it.

Weather Sensory Bin
Our Dancing in the Rain sensory bin

The sensory bin contains lots of white pom poms and loose parts including raindrops, umbrellas, rainbows. I left some small bowls, scoops and tongs on the side. After reading through our rain themed books we worked on fine motor skills using our scoops and tongs and set to work separating all the elements of rain into our sorting bows.

Rain Sensory Bin Ideas

I set up a colorful and engaging pom pom rain scene on the other side of the sensory table.

Rain Sensory Bin Ideas
A pom pom rain scene

For the introduction to rain sensory bin you will need:

  • Pom poms/cotton balls: my kids love working with pom poms! We used white pom poms to represent the clouds and some blue pom poms for raindrops. I have way too many pom pom sets to be sure which ones I used but these large pom poms are a good starter option! You can also use cotton balls for the clouds if you have some.

Weather sensory bins tip: remember, pom poms are a choking hazard so only use them if they are age appropriate. Make sure to closely supervise play at all times and avoid if your kid is likely to put things in their mouth.

  • Rainbow ribbon: for the rainbows I used some rainbow ribbon I had in my craft cart 
  • Wooden weather symbols: I took some pieces, including the large umbrella, from our balancing weather puzzle and also used our Grapat raindrops and Grimms rainbows. Grimms also do a great weather set.
  • Wooden scoops: a wooden scoop set works really well with a small ingredient like rice.
  • Wooden bowls: I used this set in rainbow colors
  • Wooden tongs: wooden tongs like these are fantastic for working on fine motor skills.

 

2 | Rain clouds

We then moved onto to the kids’ favorite, a sensory bin full of shaving foam accompanied by blue colored water to represent clouds and rain. This is such a easy sensory bin to create: I just sprayed a $1 tin of shaving foam into the sensory bin. My toddlers had so much fun using Jumbo droppers (one of our favorite sensory bin tools!) to make it rain onto the clouds. 

Rain Sensory Bin Ideas

My 3 year old was fascinated by the process and requested additional colors so we extended the discussion and color palette to cover the spectrum of the rainbow. Shaving foam is amazing for sensory exploration and my toddlers loved the tactile feedback from touching the shaving foam. It was wonderful to see how they each responded to some messy play with the shaving foam.

Rain sensory bin tip: I’ve held a lot of messy sensory sessions with both my toddlers. One of my most important learnings has been that each of my children have a different levels of tactile sensitivity. My one year old is still a little reluctant to dive in with both hands and, when she’s done, I don’t push it. On the flip side, my three year old would quite happily swim in it! I’d recommend watching how your child responds to the activity and encourage participation but don’t push it if they are very resistant.

Weather Sensory Bin
 Working on our fine motor skills with our jumbo droppers

What you’ll need for the Rain Clouds sensory bin:

My toddlers loved the pom pom rain scene so I quickly set up some pom poms in the shape of a rainbow. I popped a rainbow outline on the table top (just a sheet of paper with a rain outline of the rainbow colors) and set my 3 year old the challenge of filling it with pom poms from the rainbow sorting bowls – he did a great job and enjoyed trying to recreate a colorful rainbow.

Rain Sensory Bin Ideas
Pom pom rainbows

 

3 | Rain showers

I relived my school years by introducing a really simple rain experiment with shaving foam, water and blue food coloring.

Weather Sensory Bin
Setting up our rain experient

I explained in simple terms how water droplets gather in the clouds and, when they get too heavy to stay in the cloud, they fall down to the ground as rain.

Weather Sensory Bin
Waiting for the rain!

My 3 year old used his jumbo dropper to fill the shaving foam cloud with water until the cloud began to rain into the water below. He was so pleased with the outcome and proudly explained that the cloud was too heavy when it started to rain. This is such a simple and easy experiment to bring rain to life and it’s great for introducing younger kids to the concept of scientific experiments.

Weather Sensory Bin
Here come the showers!

For the simple rain experiment you will need:

Weather Sensory Bin
Our rain experiment

 

4 | There are no rainbows without rain!

The great thing about rain sensory bins is that they lead beautifully into learning about rainbows. After touching on rainbows on our earlier sensory bins we explored the concept of rainbows in more detail with a rainbow rice sensory bin. For more weather sensory bin ideas check out our favorite weather sensory bin ideas. 

Weather Sensory Bin
Our colorful and inviting rainbow rice sensory bin

I explained how rainbows come about when there are water droplets in the air and light hits the water droplets in exactly the right spot. We then discussed the possibility of seeing a rainbow when it isn’t raining and talked about the rainbows that appear on our favorite waterfall when there is no rain. This led us into our rainbow rice sensory bin.

Weather Sensory Bin
Our rainbow rice sensory bin

Rainbow rice is one of our favorite sensory bin fillers and the beautiful colors make it so inviting for sensory play. I set out some wooden scoopers and rainbow colored bowls and set the task of matching the rice color to the bowl. This is a fantastic sensory bin for color identification and matching and helps develop fine motor skills.

For the rainbow rice sensory bin you will need:

  • Rice: note, uncooked rice is toxic. This is an activity to monitor closely to ensure none of the rice is consumed. I mix the rice and a generous amount of food coloring for a vibrant color and leave to dry – a few drops of vinegar or water will help the color spread.
  • Wooden scoops: a wooden scoop set works really well with a small ingredient like rice – something similar to this set will work great.
  • Wooden bowls: we love our Grimms stacking and nesting bowls  – we have this set in natural and rainbow colors.
Rain Sensory Bin Ideas
I painted this rainbow peg doll to accompany our rainbow rice

 

5 | Play dough weather

Play dough is an excellent sensory tool and I always try to include it in our sensory themes. It works the muscles in small hands and helps with the development of tactile skills. I make my own play dough using the recipe below. 

Rain Sensory Bin Ideas
Creating a rain scene with our rainbow play dough

You will need:

  • Weather cookie cutters: you can make your weather play dough shapes free hand but our toddlers like using cookie cutter to shape their play dough – this is our favorite weather set 
  • Rainbow colored play dough: I made some rainbow colored play dough so we could work on creating a play dough rainbow.

Weather sensory bins tip: I make my play dough from a quick mix of some cupboard staples (flour, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, salt, water and food coloring). The recipe is taste safe and always goes down a treat with our toddlers. We love the Wilton icing colors and find the vibrancy of their colors amazing. Make sure to wrap the playdough in cling film when you’re done so it doesn’t dry out.

Rain Sensory Bin Ideas
Rainbow play dough

 

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