Sensory bins are so much fun for toddlers (well kids of all ages really)! It’s like bringing a sandbox inside to explore and play!
Sensory play engages one or all of the senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) and helps young kids learn and process their environments.
You can incorporate sensory play into all aspects of life, including helping to calm and soothe. This calming lavender sensory bin has calming herbs and oils, plus the rice is smooth and soothing to the skin.
It’s the perfect activity for a sick child, a over-tired toddler, or anyone who has just had a bad day!
(But it’s fun to play in when you are happy and well rested too!)
How to Make a Calming Lavender Sensory Bin
To make this bin you will need:
A plastic or wooden container/box
Dried lavender blossoms
Dried calendula blossoms
Violet food coloring (optional)
Start by pouring your rice in a gallon size ziploc bag.
If you are using food dye, add a couple of drops and seal the bag, Give it a really good shake and rub the rice so that the dye is evenly dispersed. I wasn’t going for a bright solid color, more of a lavender hue.
Then add in just a couple of drops of Lavender Essential Oil- a little goes a long way! Seal and shake the bag again.
Now pour your colored and scented rice into your chosen bin. For this sensory bin, I wasn’t going for size. I wanted a smaller, table top bin that could be used for quiet play. Our bin was about 12 x 10 inches in size.
Now add your herbs. The lavender is a must, the calendula is optional. Both are very easy to grow, so we always have both on hand.
You can purchase dried herbs online if you don’t have them on hand at home. Both of these herbs offer color, texture, and scent to the sensory bin.
Let your child mix the herbs into the rice- the scent of lavender will be released, which is very calming.
Now add your extras- scoops, bowls, and tweezers are a staple in all my sensory bins. They are great for pouring and transferring- both good fine motor skills.
I also added pom-poms for more variety. Stick with soft, calming objects that don’t encourage the child to smash or get too excited in play.
Once your lavender sensory bin is all set- it’s time to play! Just stirring the rice with your hands will be fun and stimulating- especially with the lavender flowers and oils, but you can also play in other ways, such as:
Hide the pom-poms and flowers under the rice and let your child search for them
Use the tweezers to transfer all of the flowers and pompoms to the container
Use the tweezers or fingers to pull the calendula petals off of the flowers
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the larger objects out of the rice
Of course my son brings his cars into any sensory bin we make, so his tractors and trucks made an appearance as well!