It's easy to whip up sensory bins and dough when you have a selection of materials ready to go. Here are some things that I keep on hand at all times. I can't tell you how many times these things have saved me when I didn't feel like making a craft or just needed a few minutes to get something done.
1. Rice - Whether you decide to make colored rice or just use it as-is, rice is a fun bin for kids of all ages. Pair it with a funnel, cups, spoons, and small bowls or get even more creative and use it as a base for themed bins, like this Dr. Seuss Literacy Bin.
2. Beans - I always have a bag of dried beans on hand to toss into a sensory bin. There are so many different types that they're great for sorting activities and it just feels good to run your hands through a big bowl of them. Plus, they're relatively cheap.
3. Flour - This is a staple for many dough recipes, including this no-cook play dough, so I always make sure to have some on hand.
4. Cream of Tartar
- My favorite dough recipes require a few minutes on the stove and a teaspoon of cream of tartar. We buy it in bulk and I've found it to be a much more economical choice than commercial dough and we can customize it any way we want.
5. Salt - This staple is great for making salt dough ornaments, doing salt painting, experiments, or having kids practice their writing in salt trays.
6. Shaving Cream - I know most people don't keep this in their kitchen, but we always have a cheap can of white foam shaving cream under the sink. It makes a great marbled effect for painting and adds a whole new dimension to dough recipes.
7. Baking Soda - This one is great for all sorts of twists on the classic vinegar and baking soda science experiment. It's also the star of one of our favorite snow dough.
8. Vinegar - It's not just great for cleaning! It's also great for all kinds of fizzing sensory experiments.
9. Cornstarch - This is great for thickening any type of dough. You can add it to so many things and form a new sensory material. We had a great time with our pumpkin dough and here's a gorgeous cranberry dough.
10. Oatmeal - I love his sensory filler for little ones since I don't have to worry as much about them tasting it. Like the rice, it's great for scooping, dumping, pouring, and measuring! You can see how we used oatmeal in our Farm Book Sensory Bin.
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