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Sensory bin - Sensory play with natural materials

Let children play and discover with natural materials like stones, grass and gravel! Use natural materials when playing and make a ”sensory bin”, to encourage the children to feel, listen, smell and look. 

Victoria Bergman is an educational advisor and company and product developer.  She also has a background as a preschool teacher, teacher and university lecturer in teacher education at Linnaeus University.

Victoria tells us about why it's so important that children use all their senses when playing and shares her best tips for creating a fun sensory bin!

What is a sensory bin?

”A sensory bin is a box that you fill with different materials that the children explore with their senses.  You can have anything in the sensory bin, but natural materials are especially exciting. They often even have a variety of different smells.  Use the children's toys in conjunction with the sensory material.”

Why should I make a sensory bin?

”A sensory bin stimulates all the senses.  Let the children feel, listen, smell and look.  It also trains eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills if it includes tools for pouring, stirring, scooping, raking and so on. Naming movements, activities and objects also trains language skills.”

What ages are a sensory bin suitable for?

“Depending on what is put in the box, it can be used from the age of one with total presence and supervision by an adult. Make sure there aren't any toxic substances or choking hazards.”

How to create a playful world with Micki's farm and different natural materials:

Micki's playwords are perfect for building a sensory bin. The playworlds and the matching figures have simple shapes and a minimalist colour scheme.   This means that the child can use their own imagination to come up with ideas for what they should depict.

How do you look after the farm animals?


Ask the children what the different animals eat. Do the animals find food themselves or does the farmer need to give them food and water sometimes? Let the children feed the animals with rice or corn. They can train their motor skills by picking the food up with a spoon or scooping it from a container and transferring it to a small bowl from which the animals can eat. The children can also feed the animals with dry grass and a bowl of water (you could make a small pond). They could also try making hay from dried grass. Can people eat animals?


How do animals wash? Can they wash themselves or do they need help from the farmer? Has anyone brushed or groomed an animal? Let the children take care of the farm animals by washing them with a damp cloth, then drying them and brushing them gently with a dry brush or a clipped toothbrush if the children can handle something small. Let the children examine the animals to see if they have any injuries that need to be taken care of. What do you do if an animal has been seriously injured or is ill? There's a vet sign in the set. Introduce it to the children and show them that a vet can come to the farm or the farmer can drive to the vet with the sick animal on a trailer.

Living quarters

Where does each animal sleep? Can they sleep outside or is there a special building for them to sleep in? What do they need to be healthy?