Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The "Feely Bin" Chronicles: Volume 1

     Ok, people!  It's a brand new year and I am *going* to keep up with this blogging thing!  Adam and I are both doing great.....great summer....great fall....great holidays....just. freaking. great.  (Seriously, I'm not being a smart ass.  Life is good.)

See?  Pretty great.

     Partly because Adam is super excited about learning, and partly because I totally miss teaching preschool, we tend to do a lot of crafting/experimenting/hands on kind of fun stuff around our house.  One of his favorite things (and mine too!) is what most people refer to as a tactile or sensory bin.  Adam, however, insists on calling it his "feely bin".  It's just an under the bed storage bin which we fill with all sorts of various fun substances to play with and explore.  You can find all kinds of great information about making these types of bins, and also all sorts of articles about why they're great for kids, around the internet.  None of that shall I link you to here though, because, frankly, it's after midnight and I lack the initiative.  Trust me though....google it up.  It's good stuff.

     I've decided to issue myself a year long "feely bin" challenge.  Once a month new, exciting, and festively thematic contents will appear in the aforementioned "feely bin" to be enjoyed by Adam.  (and I guess I'd probably play along if I had to....)  I have a little container of things for him to use to explore the bin....tongs, measuring cups, spoons, strainers, etc....but some of those things may change with the contents of the bin as well.  The enjoyable part of the process for me is thinking of how to combine substances that feel cool with fine motor activities, some sort of cognitive component, and the option for open ended, imaginative play.  We'll see how it all goes as the year progresses, but so far so good!

January:  Winter/Snow

The tools

The bin

     The "feely bin"  (sorry about the quotes....it just seems necessary when typing words as ridiculous as "feely bin")  for this month has a winter theme.  First I added four containers of salt (snow) to the bin, followed by two big bags of cotton balls.   Those are the snowballs....obviously.  :-)  Then I covered it all with a healthy shake of silver glitter, because seriously what's more fun that vacuuming glitter out of your rug forEVER?!  In the snow I buried some diamond shaped plastic beads, some round plastic beads, and a package of flat glass stones.  The little snowmen and trees were left over Christmas gift tags, but I thought they looked cute in there.  (Incidentally, all of this stuff came from the Dollar Tree.  In addition to being a way fun mom, I am a way broke mom.)

     I drew a snowflake on the back of five of the flat stones and told Adam that those were "magic snowflakes", and that he could only extract them from the snow using the tongs.  The rest of the buried treasures he could dig for and sort however he liked, as well as sifting and measuring the salt, sorting/counting/comparing the different sized cotton balls, moving and rearranging the trees and snowmen, and whatever else he decided would be fun.

Sifting the snow
He ended up really liking the tongs!

Sorting the buried treasure

     We've played with the bin twice so far, and he's already added a little Lego house for the snowmen to live in, and a couple of hot wheels dump trucks and bulldozers to move the snow around.  I think the next time we get it out I'll add some index cards with numbers on them and ask him to put the corresponding number of "snowballs" on each card.  Ooooo or maybe I can put some upper and lower case letters on the trees and snowmen and have a matching game.  (I just thought of that one...can you tell?!)  Regardless of what he ends up doing, he seems to really be having fun with it, which is definitely the most important function of a "feely bin"! 

     So, what do you think for next month......outer space or dinosaurs? 



  1. Great ideas Jess! Keep blogging...and I'll keep copying your ideas :)

    1. Ha! Copy away, and have lots of fun! (Seriously though, the glitter is a hot mess. Really didn't think that one through!)