21 Best Sensory Bin Fillers - Little Bins for Little Hands (2024)

Are you ready to make fantastic sensory bins with your kids? Our list of favorite sensory bin fillers has plenty of great ideas to suit your needs and your kids’ preferences. Check out how to use rice for sensory play or make homemade cloud dough and more. Explore the benefits of making sensory bins or sensory tables, and grab our free sensory play guide to get started!

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Why Make A Sensory Bin?

Sensory bins or sensory tables are lovely hands-on fun for many ages, including toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners! Creating sensory bins for kids can offer a wide range of benefits, including:

  1. Sensory Exploration: Sensory bins allow kids to explore various textures, materials, and sensory experiences, which can enhance their sensory development.
  2. Fine Motor Skills: Activities within sensory bins often involve scooping, pouring, pinching, and grasping, helping to improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
  3. Cognitive Development: Sensory play encourages problem-solving, imaginative play, and cognitive development as children experiment and connect with different elements in the bin.
  4. Language Development: Sensory activities can lead to rich conversations and new vocabulary as children describe what they are feeling, seeing, and experiencing.
  5. Emotional Regulation: Engaging in sensory play can be soothing and help kids manage their emotions, especially when feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
  6. Creativity: Sensory bins allow kids to use their imagination and creativity to develop new ways to play and interact with the materials.
  7. Focus and Attention: Focusing on sensory experiences can improve a child’s attention span and concentration.
  8. Independence: Sensory bins can be set up for independent play, allowing children to engage in self-directed learning and play.
  9. Social Interaction: Sensory bins can also be used in group settings, encouraging social interaction and collaboration among kids.
  10. Sensory Integration: Sensory play can benefit children with sensory processing challenges, helping them adapt to and process sensory input more effectively.

Incorporating sensory bins into a child’s playtime can be a fun and educational way to support their overall development.

Also check out our list of 5 senses activities for young kids!

Cheap Sensory Bin Fillers

Do you have a favorite sensory bin filler? We have gathered a collection of our favorite sensory bin fillers, that are easy to find or make, and inexpensive as well.

I like sensory bin fillers I can easily store after playtime is done and are easy to take back out again. You can also use sensory bin fillers that are a bit messy, or can only be used once! These ones listed below are my favorite sensory bin materials for easy storage and re-use.

Free Quick Start Sensory Bin Guide


Best Sensory Bin Fillers


Colored rice is number one on our list of favorite sensory bin fillers! Find out how to dye rice for beautiful colors to fit your themes.

Here’s our resource for rice sensory bin ideas for all seasons. Rice has to be one of the quickest and easiest sensory bin fillers out there!



Simple staples from your pantry can make quick and easy sensory bin fillers. Check out our simple recipe for how to dye pasta for a cheap sensory bin filler.

Check out our newest sensory bin with pasta – Butterfly Sensory Bin



These brightly colored aquarium rocks make easy sensory bin fillers and are great for so many sensory play ideas! See how we used black aquarium rocks for this fun space sensory bin.

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CAUTION: We no longer support using water beads for sensory bins and play. Water beads, if ingested, they can be fatal. Please do not use them.


Colored craft sand is a fun sensory bill filler that reminds me of outdoor sand box play! Here we used our colored sand for a themed Valentine’s Day sensory bin and a sand sensory bin for spring.


Make use of the mounds shredded paper you may have on hand. Grab some from the dollar store or make your own, shredded paper makes a fun but messy sensory bin filler.

See how we used green shredded paper for our pumpkin patch sensory bin.



Salt is another cheap and easy option for sensory bin fillers. Find out how to dye salt to make beautiful colored salt for hours of fun sensory play!



Have you ever thought of water as a sensory bin filler? No wonder water is one of our favorite choices for sensory play, and we reckon it makes for the cheapest sensory bin filler! There are so many things you can do with water, including freezing it and creating a fun ice melt play activity.

Check out these fun sensory play ideas with water and ice:

  • Water Sensory Table Ideas
  • Frozen Dinosaur Eggs
  • Ice Play Activities
  • Arctic Ice Melt
  • Rescue The LEGO
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All kinds of household dried beans and peas make a great sensory bin filler. Plus, they store well and keep for ages! Popping corn makes another easy sensory bin filler idea!

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Soak chia seeds in water and they make a lovely and unique texture for sensory play. Check out how to make a colorful chia seed sensory bin.

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Cloud dough makes our list of favorite sensory bin fillers because it is so versatile for playing with. It also keeps nicely for quite a while.

Check out our homemade Cloud Dough Recipe

Here are a few fun variations with cloud dough:

  • Sensory Activities With Cloud Dough
  • Pumpkin Cloud Dough
  • Chocolate Cloud Dough

These sensory fillers make awesome any-day play and can be easily adapted to fit your themes, lesson plans or play ideas for toddlers, kindergarteners, and preschoolers.



Kinetic sand makes for another fun moldable sensory bin filler that you can use repeatedly. Here’s how to make your own DIY Kinetic Sand!

  • Dinosaur Sensory Bin
  • Tropical Summer Sensory Bin
  • Winter Ice Castle Sensory Bin


What’s more fun than colorful rainbow spaghetti for young kids to dig their hands into! Find out how to dye cooked spaghetti for sensory play that’s taste-safe!



A colorful and inexpensive craft material that makes a fun sensory bin filler! Check out how to use pom poms to make:

  • Ice Cream Sensory Bin
  • Easter Sensory Bin
  • Weather Sensory Bin


We used wooden beads to create these fun fall theme sensory bins!

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Fake snow is easy to make and perfect for winter theme sensory bin filler! See here how to make fake snow. Or you can easily purchase fake snow that simply needs water added!



Craft and dollar stores often have bags of vase rocks, stones, or pebbles used as vase filler. This is a fantastic material to add as a sensory bin filler or to add to other sensory bin fillers. Go ahead and add water, too…maybe a few plastic frogs.

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Try this easy garden sensory bin with simple materials from the dollar or craft store!



An easy sensory bin filler, and you can make these birdseed ornaments when finished. This is a great sensory bin to bring outside for easy clean-up!

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Water makes one of the easiest sensory bin fillers to use. But what about soap foam as a fun alternative? Check out how to make soap foam.



Create a squishy moldable sand dough for a fantastic non food sensory bin!



A little messy but a little clean! Learn how to make clean mud for a unique sensory play experience.

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More Helpful Ideas For Sensory Bins

Sensory play is an amazing tool for young children. It’s the perfect hands-on play for early learning. Sensory bins are so versatile and easy to use and create. Make sure to check out the resources below for more on sensory bin and sensory play.

  • Sensory Bin Ideas and Themes
  • How To Make A Sensory Bin
  • Non Food Sensory Bin Fillers
  • Rice Sensory Bin Ideas
  • How To Clean Up A Sensory Bin In A Snap

Extra Sensory Play Recipes To Try

Click on the image below or on the link for morefun sensory play recipes for kids. Learn how to make cloud dough, kinetic sand, homemade playdough, and more.

21 Best Sensory Bin Fillers - Little Bins for Little Hands (2024)
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