A long time ago (how long was 2020??) When America went in to Quarantine, I came across sensory bin play, and spent the first few months of quarantine getting frustrated and overwhelmed with the mess and the expense that has come to define sensory bin play.
As an educator, I wanted educational play that was child led and child centered. As an artist, I wanted an aesthetic experience that was well designed and added magic and wonder to our play. As a mom, I wanted something that reduced the mess and expense, without sacrificing any aspect of the immersive sensory play.
What I came up with was Practically Playing's Printable Packs. They can be used individually or grouped together. Combine them with other Practically Playing Printable Packs for multidimensional, immersive play or add any number of books, loose parts, or fillers for amazing and immersive sensory play experiences.
Practically Playing Printable Packs are great for extending open ended play- here's just a few ways to use them:
- Print out a liner and cover with a filler, like rice or sand, then let your Little Learner move the filler around with a dry paintbrush, stick, or other tool. This is great for developing prewriting skills!
- Laminate a water or water and sand Liner, add it to the bottom of a bin, then add a little water. add fish and let them play in this immersive environment!
- Use a storyscape and a few loose-parts to help them act out a story you've read to them or let them create their own narration
- Add a Cover to the manufacturer's lid, and encourage your Little Learner to interact with the picture using animal figurines (ex. put the fish in the ocean)
- Use the Abstract Art Printable Pack with Feeling Peg Dolls or other emotive figurines to act out and talk about feelings.
- Pair the Abstract Rainbow pack with Unicorn or Fairy figurines for fantastical and magical pretend play.
- Use Abstract Rainbow, Color Study, or Abstract Art to learn about colors
- Use a Birds Eye View Pack to pretend to be birds, to learn about trees, or to talk about patterns in our world
- Use a texture pack to introduce the concept of Visual Texture to your Little Learner. Try pairing Texture Packs with Sparkly Iridescent shredded paper, this crinklecut paper or these shiny black rocks for incredible texture studies.
- Explore deep STEM concepts like implied motion and vanishing lines with the Cars Pack. Set a Car or Road template out with a bin of cars and see what happens! Passive learning at its best!
- Simply set them out and see what your Little Learner comes up with!
- Laminate a Construction Zone Liner, then toss it in the bottom of a bin (I use a little removable spray adhesive). Make a little taste safe mud with cocoa powder and crumbs. Or simply use dirt and water! The laminated inserts wipe clean, and with the visual texture of the mud, the sensory experience is expanded, while using less filler!
- Use the Fire and Ice Fire Cover Template on a plastic manufacturers lid, then setting it out next to a bin full of small twigs. Let your Little Learners learn how to safely add wood to a fire by dropping the twigs in to the hole! This is a great way to practice fire safety and responsibility through safe play!
- Try an Activity or Game Pack for open ended board game style play- use the instructions and game pieces, or don't!
- Use the Habitat Pack with animal figurines to sort and organize which animal lives in which habitat.
There are so many ways to play with Practically Playing's Printable Packs. Thank you for trying us out and I can't wait to see how you play!