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Sensory Bin 101: Sensory Bin Bases

Ever wondered about what sensory bin bases to use for your kids’ sensory bins?

Welcome back to Sensory Bin 101, your introductory course to one of the most loved preschool sensory activities. Last week we looked at what is a sensory bin and a few benefits. Today we shall learn about sensory bin bases. Let’s walk.

Sensory bins bases can provide both fun and learning experiences. This post helps you to choose an appropriate sensory bin base.

What Are Sensory Bin Bases?

A base is exactly what it sounds like. It is the filler for your container and can take many forms.

Almost anything in your home that is safe and in abundance can be used as a base. When I say anything, I mean anything.

image of rice as an example of sensory bin bases

Ideas for Sensory Bin Bases


The simplest and easiest base is water. Yup you heard me, water. simply ensure that you are supervising your preschooler while they are using the bin. You can colour the water and you can also scent the water.


This is a big hit in my house as rice is cheap and you can buy huge bags. I use about 2 cups of rice for each of our sensory bins. I can even colour and scent my rice.

preschool sensory activities:our peppermint christmas sensory bin


I recently discovered this gem when I was cleaning out my cupboards and realized that my pearl barley was expired. I didn’t want to simply throw it out so I used it in our Frozen Winter Bin and I think this bin is J’s favourite to date.

frozen themed winter sensory bin preschool sensory activities


I have used cotton on several occasions especially when I want to replicate snow.

Other Bases to Consider

  • shredded paper
  • pompoms
  • cornmeal
  • shaving cream (really want to try this one soon)
  • cereal (stale Cheerios anyone?)
  • flour
  • snow
  • dirt
  • straw
  • oats
  • beans
  • beads
  • Ice (chipped or cubes)

Below you will see a few links for some of the popular sensory bin bases to try via Amazon. Please note that affiliate links are used below for your convenience.

 Happy Belly Pearled Barley 1lbHappy Belly Pearled Barley 1lb 365 by Whole Foods Market, Rice White Thai Jasmine Organic, 32 Ounce365 by Whole Foods Market, Rice White Thai Jasmine Organic, 32 Ounce Barbasol Thick and Rich Shaving Cream, Original 10 oz (Pack of 2)Barbasol Thick and Rich Shaving Cream, Original 10 oz (Pack of 2) Perfect Stix – Perfect Stix M Cotton Balls- 1000ct- 1M Medium Cotton Balls 2 Packs of 500. Total 1000Perfect Stix - Perfect Stix M Cotton Balls- 1000ct- 1M Medium Cotton Balls 2 Packs of 500. Total 1000 Cheerios Cinnamon Oat Crunch Breakfast Cereal, 24 ozCheerios Cinnamon Oat Crunch Breakfast Cereal, 24 oz Giraffe – Magic Water Beads – Over 55,000 Beads – 10.50ozGiraffe - Magic Water Beads - Over 55,000 Beads - 10.50oz


Like I said, once you have it in your home and in abundance and its safe, you can use it as a base. Well that concludes our second lesson in Sensory Bin 101. Thanks for walking with me.

Are you feeling more confident in making a sensory bin today? 

50+ Ice Cream Activities For Preschool Kids

Wednesday 29th of June 2022

[…] I love a great sensory activity and a sensory bin is such a great way to achieve this. A good sensory activity not only engages the senses but it facilitates learning in a super fun way. If you are looking for ideas for sensory bin bases, be sure to check out Simple Sensory Bin Bases. […]


Monday 16th of February 2015

I love sensory tables! I am trying to start a sensory table revolution in the school where I work, and am even trying to figure out a way to use the idea with my 6th grader at home (I'm thinking that a huge bin of LEGOs is a sensory bin - they love the sound and feel of pawing through to look for just the right piece...).

I will share your post and pin board with my kindergarten folks. Thanks!

Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Thursday 12th of February 2015

I'm contemplating using orca beans for ours. :) Water beads are fun, too. Thanks for the suggestions!


Thursday 12th of February 2015

LOLove the ideas, packaging chips are a favourite base here. :) x

Preschool Sensory Activities: Sensory Bin Tools and Storage

Monday 2nd of February 2015

[…] back to our last class of Sensory Bin 101. So far we have covered What is a Sensory Bin? as well as bases of Sensory Bins. Today we will be covering our last topic in our preschool sensory activities series. We will learn […]