Sensory play – Polar sensory bin

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By intheplayroom

For today’s sensory activity, I wanted to do an arctic, icy, polar theme with loads of things to explore. We are a bit hectic here this week as we are in the middle of redecorating and I had been rushing round to a couple of appointments so I didn’t get any chance to plan it, just pulled together whatever suitable things we had.

polar theme small world sensory bin


I would have liked to include more ice, and fluffier cotton wool, but I will do that next time to make it a bit different

sensory play winter polar sensory bin
As you can see its not everything natural in there, I have included the plastic figures because I find having some toys in there keeps my children’s interest more. I could have included our little fluffy polar bear actually, as again that would have been another texture! I wanted to use the polar theme to give a bit of context to the different textures rather than just collecting them in the tub, so it is incorporating some small world play.

What I’ve included is coloured tissue, bubble wrap, ice cubes, and cotton wool pads – these are all supposed to be for the polar scenery or environment! I also put a natural sponge with an interesting texture, along with the figurines (some polar bears, and seals which you can’t see in the picture) and their cave and ice platform.

Although it was a bit thrown together and not as impressive as what I had pictured in my mind, it was still fun for the children and did grab their interest as it’s something new and different. I have found that really whatever I put together, because its in combinations they haven’t seen before – they will still come running and enjoy exploring it.

IMG_5897My oldest really enjoyed playing with the ice and feeling the cold, and slippery texture. He was also experimenting with making it melt in his hands. It’s a shame I didn’t have more ice to include as that was one of the most exciting elements for him. I was also meaning to freeze small toys inside the middle of ice cubes and let him excavate them – but that will have to be an idea for another day.

They also had fun with the cotton wool feeling how it splits into thin layers, pulls apart into small pieces, or can be rolled up. This was quite interesting for my little one. Obviously with the younger ones have to be careful they don’t put this into their mouth, and luckily he didn’t try.

sensory play cotton woolsensory play cotton woolplay scene polarThen of course time for some imaginary play. We had a story about Sponge Bob coming to do some arctic exploring!

I think if had I included some more elements like shaving foam snow that they could use to cover up the animals, or including more ice, then they would have stayed with the activity for longer but I just wanted to set up a really non messy sensory activity, so I’ve stuck to these dry textures. I couldn’t face more mess on top of the decorating! And its good to remember that sensory play doesn’t necessarily have to be messy.

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14 thoughts on “Sensory play – Polar sensory bin”

  1. definitely gonna try it again with a bit more preparation to make it better, i have loads of ideas then when i get to do it i realise i don’t have all the stuff available!
    after looking at the pics again here in the blog im thinking back maybe there was a bit too much plastic toys in this so its not very heuristic is it! but i will keep trying, the kids enjoy exploring the different things and i like the challenge of trying to think of different ideas and make it better!

    tami you should try with a theme, can add some extra fun! your boy might stick with it a bit more, theres loads of cool themes Im meaning to try like space, farm..


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