5 Fun Weather Sensory Bin Ideas! - Two Crafty Makers (2024)

After some snow earlier this winter, my two toddlers developed a huge interest in the weather. I wanted to bring their questions on rain, snow, and rainbows to life and set to work creating a series of weather sensory bins. From pom pom rainbows to a snowy winter day, these are our favorite weather sensory bins and they are the perfect introduction to weather activities for toddlers.

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Table of Contents

Weather Sensory Bins

Sensory play is a fantastic tool to encourage kids to explore, engage and create and it helps kids develop essential skills. Our weather themed sensory bins are focused on developing a range of skills including:

  • Fine motor skills: our weather sensory bins incorporate lots of scooping, grabbing and pinching with tongs and squeezing water from droppers. All these activities mean little hands will work hard and improve muscle strength.
  • Creative skills: weather sensory bins offer open ended play opportunities and aim to capture their imaginations.
  • Language and vocabulary skills: as well as introducing extensive weather vocabulary I also set up a few simple experiments which are a really fun way to introduce basic science and weather concepts.

Weather Sensory Bins tip:we use the Ikea Flisat table for all our space sensory bin play. Don’t worry if you don’t have sensory table, you can use craft trays or storage bins to the same effect. If you have an Ikea Flisat table then check out ourIkea Flisat table ideas!

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5 Easy Weather Sensory Bins

We’ve included our favorite weather sensory bins. These are relatively easy to set up and were created with ingredients and toys in our cupboard and playroom!

Weather Sensory Bin Essentials

  • Weather book: I like to accompany our sensory bins with some toddler appropriate books and opted for All About Weather. It is simple with lovely illustrations and is a great introduction to the topic. My kids enjoy dancing in the rain and jumping in puddles so I also used some rain specific books to explore the concept of rain in a little more detail. We used the Little Raindrop Bookand The Drop Goes Plop.
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  • Food coloring or non toxic paint: we use Wilton Icing colors for most of our sensory activities as it gives such vibrant colors. This is the Wilton set – I used it for the rainbow rice and also in the play dough we made below. I use a liquid food coloring like this set for water coloring.
  • Wooden scoops:a wooden scoop set works really well with a small ingredient like rice – something similar to this set will work great.
  • Jumbo eyedroppers:this set of Jumbo eyedroppers are one of favorite sensory tools. They are excellent for fine motor skills and developing an understanding of cause and effect.
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Sensory Bin Table

We use and highly recommend the Ikea Flisat kids table for all our sensory bins. It’s a fantastic addition to your playroom and is super versatile. While it’s available from Ikea directly, it’s usually out of stock. Luckily you can usually grab one on Amazon – check prices now!

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We also use the Ikea Trofast bins for sensory play. They’re easy to clean and our kids love them – check prices now!

1 | An Introduction to Weather

The idea behind our first weather sensory bin is to introduce kids to the various types of weather: we started with snow, wind, rain, sun, clouds, storms and rainbows. We used this bin in conjunction with our All Weather book to identify the different weather types.

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After this I set my little ones up with some mini scoopers and sorting bowls – colored rice is an excellent sensory bin filler for developing fine motor skills.

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For the introduction to weather sensory bin you will need:

  • Rice: note, uncooked rice is toxic. This is an activity to monitor closely to ensure none of the rice is consumed. I mix the rice and a generous amount of food coloring for a vibrant color and leave to dry – a few drops of vinegar or water will help the color spread.
  • Pom poms: my kids love working with pom poms! The variety of colors makes them an excellent prop for weather learning and they feature in many of our sensory bins. The clouds, snowman, wind and rain are pom poms. I have way too many pom pom sets to be sure which ones I used but these large pom poms are a good starter option!

Weather sensory bins tip: remember, pom poms are a choking hazard so only use them if they are age appropriate. Make sure to closely supervise play at all times and avoid if your kid is likely to put things in their mouth.

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  • Rainbow ribbon: for the rainbows I used some rainbow ribbon I had in my craft cart
  • Pipe cleaners: another sensory bin staple, I used pipe cleaners to represent lightning. If you need a set, try one like this with a variety of colors so you can use it time and time again.
  • Wooden weather symbols: I took some pieces from our balancing weather puzzle and also used our Grapat raindrops and Grimms rainbows. Grimms also do a great weather set.
  • Wooden scoops:a wooden scoop set works really well with a small ingredient like rice.
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2 | Rainbow Rice Fun!

Rainbow rice is one of our favorite sensory bin fillers and the beautiful colors make it so inviting for sensory play.

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I set out some wooden scoopers and rainbow-colored bowls and set the task of matching the rice color to the bowl. This is a fantastic sensory bin for color identification and matching and helps develop fine motor skills.

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I quickly set up some pom poms in the shape of a rainbow to accompany the rainbow rice sensory bin and we talked through the different colors. I popped a rainbow outline on the tabletop (just a sheet of paper with a rainbow outline) and set my 3-year-old the challenge of filling it with pom poms from the rainbow bowls – he did a great job and enjoyed trying to recreate a colorful rainbow.

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For the rainbow rice sensory bin you will need:

  • Rice: note, uncooked rice is toxic. This is an activity to monitor closely to ensure none of the rice is consumed. I mix the rice and a generous amount of food coloring for a vibrant color and leave to dry – a few drops of vinegar or water will help the color spread.
  • Wooden scoops:a wooden scoop set works really well with a small ingredient like rice – something like this will work great.
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3 | Dancing in the rain clouds!

My toddlers love rain so I created a couple of rain sensory bins for them to explore.

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Our first set up was a sensory bin and table top using pom poms and weather props to set the scene and introduce the concept of rain. We used scoopers and tongs to collect items from our rain sensory bins to encourage dexterity and improve fine motor skills.

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We then moved on to the kids’ favorite, a mix of shaving foam and food coloring – I filled a sensory bin with shaving foam to represent clouds and we used our jumbo droppers (another sensory bin favorite!) to make it rain onto the clouds.

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My 3 year old was fascinated by the process and requested additional colors so we extended the discussion and color palette to cover the spectrum of the rainbow. This session was a huge hit and both my toddlers loved the tactile feedback from the shaving foam.

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Finally, we did a really simple rain experiment with shaving foam, water and blue food coloring. I explained in simple terms how water droplets gather in the clouds and, when they get too heavy to stay in the cloud, they fall down to the ground as rain.

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My 3 year old used his jumbo dropper to fill the shaving foam cloud with water until the cloud began to rain into the water below. He was so pleased with the outcome and proudly explained that the cloud was too heavy when it started to rain. This is such a simple and easy experiment to bring rain to life and it’s great for introducing younger kids to the concept of scientific experiments.

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For the rain sensory bin you will need:

4 | Play dough weather

Play dough is an excellent sensory tool and I always try to include it in our sensory themes. It works the muscles in small hands and helps with the development of tactile skills. This play dough weather tray can be created with regular or DIY play dough, I made the play dough for our weather activities.

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You will need:

  • Weather cookie cutters: you can make your weather play dough shapes free hand but our toddlers like using cookie cutter to shape their play dough – this is our favorite set
  • Rainbow colored play dough: I made some rainbow colored play dough so we could work on creating a play dough rainbow.

Weather sensory bins tip: I make my play dough from a quick mix of some cupboard staples (flour, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, salt, water and food coloring). The recipe is taste safe and always goes down a treat with our toddlers. We love the Wilton icing colors and find the vibrancy of their colors amazing. Make sure to wrap the playdough in cling film when you’re done so it doesn’t dry out.

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5 | Snow Day

For our final weather sensory bin I used a mix of conditioner and baking soda to create some fake snow. The great thing about this fake snow recipe is that it produces an endothermic reaction and the snow is cold to the touch – my kids love that it mimics real snow!

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I introduced our snow sensory bin with a discussion about winter weather and how snow happens when it gets cold and there is water in the air.

For this snow sensory bin we used:

  • Baking soda: 3 cups. I always stock up on a few larger bags of baking soda for sensory play
  • Conditioner: ½ cup. The conditioner just needs to be white colored, I usually pick up something generic from the supermarket.

Weather sensory bin tip: stir the conditioner through the baking soda and adjust the quantities as necessary to change the consistency of the snow.

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Weather Peg Dolls

I love incorporating wooden peg dolls into our sensory play and used a set of weather peg dolls to match weather types and aid story telling. Wooden peg dolls are excellent for promoting imagination and story telling in sensory play.

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I painted each peg doll a rainbow color and added a weather symbol on their front. My toddlers loved being able to match each doll to the weather type and my 3 year old loved taking them on an adventure through the weather sensory bins.

Weather sensory bins tip: when I’m painting peg dolls I always give my toddlers one to design and paint themselves and they love it! If you have older kids, No products found. is great for encouraging them to create their own peg dolls.

You will need:

Weather sensory bins tip:I usually paint my own peg dolls but you can usually pick up a themed set from Etsy if you prefer.

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For more sensory bin ideas

Check out our:

  • Space Sensory Bin
  • Birthday Sensory Bin
  • Bee Sensory Bin
  • Dinosaur Sensory Bin

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert in sensory play and early childhood education, I can provide information related to all the concepts used in this article. Let's break it down:

Sensory Play and its Benefits

Sensory play is a type of play that engages the senses, such as touch, sight, hearing, smell, and sometimes taste. It involves providing children with opportunities to explore and interact with different materials and textures, which helps them develop essential skills. In the case of the weather sensory bins, the focus is on fine motor skills, creative skills, language and vocabulary skills, and introducing basic science and weather concepts.

Fine motor skills refer to the coordination and control of small muscles, such as those in the hands and fingers. Activities like scooping, grabbing, and pinching with tongs, as well as squeezing water from droppers, help strengthen these muscles and improve dexterity.

Creative skills are developed through open-ended play opportunities. Weather sensory bins allow children to use their imagination and creativity to explore different weather-related scenarios and stories.

Language and vocabulary skills are enhanced by introducing extensive weather vocabulary and setting up simple experiments. This helps children learn and understand weather concepts, as well as develop their communication and language abilities.

Setting up Weather Sensory Bins

The article mentions using sensory bins as a way to facilitate sensory play. A sensory bin is a container filled with materials that stimulate the senses and provide a sensory experience. In this case, the sensory bins are themed around different weather conditions.

Table or Container: The article suggests using the Ikea Flisat table for sensory bin play, but if you don't have one, you can use craft trays or storage bins as alternatives.

Weather Sensory Bins: An Introduction to Weather

The first sensory bin mentioned in the article is an introduction to different types of weather. It includes snow, wind, rain, sun, clouds, storms, and rainbows. The bin is filled with rice, pom poms, rainbow ribbon, pipe cleaners, and wooden weather symbols. The rice is colored with food coloring to represent different weather conditions. The pom poms, rainbow ribbon, and pipe cleaners are used as props to create a sensory experience and facilitate imaginative play.

Rainbow Rice Fun!

Rainbow rice is another sensory bin filler mentioned in the article. It is created by coloring rice with food coloring and allowing it to dry. The colored rice is then used for activities such as matching colors and filling a rainbow outline. Wooden scoops and rainbow-colored bowls are provided for children to interact with the rice, promoting fine motor skills and color identification.

Dancing in the Rain Clouds!

The rain sensory bin mentioned in the article aims to recreate the experience of rain. It includes pom poms, scoopers, tongs, shaving foam, jumbo eyedroppers, and food coloring. The pom poms and weather props are used to set the scene and introduce the concept of rain. The shaving foam represents clouds, and the jumbo eyedroppers are used to make it "rain" onto the clouds. This activity helps develop dexterity, fine motor skills, and provides a tactile experience.

Play Dough Weather

Play dough is a versatile material that can be used for sensory play. In this weather-themed sensory bin, play dough is used to create weather-related shapes using cookie cutters. Rainbow-colored play dough is used to make a play dough rainbow. This activity promotes tactile skills, creativity, and fine motor skills.

Snow Day

The final sensory bin mentioned in the article focuses on creating a winter weather experience. Fake snow is made using a mixture of conditioner and baking soda, which produces a cold and tactile sensation. Pine cones, winter village props, and weather peg dolls are added to enhance the sensory experience and facilitate storytelling. This activity helps children understand the concept of snow and winter weather.

Weather Peg Dolls

Wooden peg dolls are used as props in the sensory play. They are painted in rainbow colors and have weather symbols on them to match different weather types. The peg dolls promote imagination, storytelling, and fine motor skills.

Additional Sensory Bin Ideas

The article concludes by mentioning other sensory bin ideas, such as space, birthday, bee, and dinosaur-themed sensory bins. These sensory bins provide different themes and materials to engage children's senses and promote various skills and concepts.

Overall, the weather-themed sensory bins described in the article provide hands-on, interactive experiences for toddlers to learn about different weather conditions, develop fine motor skills, enhance creativity, and expand their vocabulary and understanding of basic science concepts.

5 Fun Weather Sensory Bin Ideas! - Two Crafty Makers (2024)
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