Monday, July 9, 2007

50 Ideas For Filling Your Water Bin (51 if you count Water

Like much of the country, Connecticut is experiencing a heat wave. We've been playing with the water bin a lot - filling it with ice cubes or water and large blocks of ice "iceburgs". We've added jungle animals and dollhouse people, plastic fish or dinosaurs, small boats. We've given the dolls a bath and washed clothes and dishes.
Other than early morning, it's too hot to play outside. We get bored with water, so I've been pulling out all those old sensory bin ideas and putting them to good use.

The bin doesn't have to be anything fancy - it can range from a container as simple as a shallow dishpan all the way up to a pre-constructed sand and water table

I'm using a clear rubbermaid storage container – one of the shallow ones – about 18” wide, 36” long and 4” high – set on the floor with a plastic tablecloth underneath.
I do want to offer a caution before I get started with the list of fillers –
Young children must be closely supervised when playing in the bin.
The water should be shallow (even then, if the child is younger than three, you must sit beside him while he plays. A young child can fall face first into a very small amount of water and be unable to stand up )
Choose the fillers for the bin according to the age and ability of your child.
If there is any danger of the child putting small objects into her mouth and choking – avoid small objects.

With those less than cheerful images out of the way, Let’s get on with the fun!

50 Fun Fillers
1. Sand
2. Uncooked pasta shapes
3. Rice
4. Pine cones
5. Corn meal
6. Dry cereal
7. Oatmeal
8. Beads
9. Playdoh
10. Feathers
11. Goop
( a mixture of ½ cornstarch, ½ water)
12. Fresh clipped grass
13. Dried peas, beans, lentils
14. Different scraps of cloth
15. Cotton balls
16. Colorful yarn scraps
17. Birdseed
18. Coffee grounds
19. Hay
20. Colored aquarium rocks
21. Bubble wrap
22. Pine shavings
23. Shredded paper
24. Valentines or Christmas cards
25. Potting soil
26. Seashells
27. Instant mashed potato flakes
with or without water
28. Cooked spaghetti
29. Shaving cream
30. Plastic drinking straws
cut to different lengths
31. Knox gelatin
32. Aluminum foil
33. Ice cubes
34. Cornstarch packing peanuts
(not styrofoam)
35. Buttons
36. Magazine pages
37. Plastic Easter grass
38. Frozen peas and carrots
39. Snow
40. Dog biscuit bones
in different sizes and colors
41. Unpopped popcorn
42. Bubbles
43. Dried corn cobs and corn husks
44. Small lengths of curled curling ribbon
45. Dry autumn leaves
46. Sunflower seeds
47. Flower heads and petals
or old potpourri
48. 6” or less lengths of cut
Mardi Gras beads
49. Construction paper scraps
in lots of different colors
50. Clean Mud

Clean Mud Recipe
1 roll white toilet tissue
1 cup soap flakes
1 ½ cups water

Mix soap flakes and water in the bin
until soap is dissolved.
Help your child to tear the toilet tissue
into small pieces and toss them into the bin.
Mix with your hands to make mud –
the more you mix,
the softer and squishier
your mixture will be.

The mud can be stored
in a covered container
in the refrigerator
for reuse.

30 Tools and Toys to Use with Your Bin
1. Scoops
2. Tongs
3. Sieves
4. Pitchers
5. Spoons
6. Ladles
7. Small dinosaurs,
farm and jungle animals,
insects, etc.
8. Toy cars, trucks , tractors
9. Plastic flowers or aquarium plants
10. Squeeze bottles
11. Tub toys, ducks, fish
12. Watering cans
13. Whisks
14. Basters
15. Old fashioned egg beaters
16. Rocks
17. Eyedroppers
18. Children’s scissors
19. Plastic knives
20. Empty plastic jars and bottles with lids
21. Muffin tins
22. Egg cartons
23. Aquarium nets
24. Net sponges
25. Spray bottles
26. Plastic berry baskets
27. Shovels and pails
28. Small pots and pans
29. Foil candy cups
30. Sand molds