Craft Chat

Starter Sensory Bins

Sensory bins are all over Pinterest, but at 16 months old, I don’t think Amelia is quite ready to be unleashed upon a huge bin of rice. But we’re at a phase where most toys last approximately 2 minutes until she’s onto the next (and the entire toy box has been emptied across the living room floor), so I’ve been looking for new activities that will hold her attention for a longer span.

In addition to scouring Pinterst, I follow some fun Instagram accounts geared toward toddler/pre-schooler activities. Right now Amelia is still a bit too young for most sensory bins and similar undertakings, but I’m filing them away for future use.

If you’re in the same boat and looking for new ideas, here are a few of my favorite IG accounts:

@busytoddler – The queen of sensory bins! Her youngest son is almost exactly the same age as Amelia, so I love her “taby” (not quite a baby, not yet a toddler) ideas

@dayswithgrey – Great activities geared toward pre-school skills

@powermothering – Huge amount of ideas from busy bags to arts & crafts, from toddler to preschool age

@funathomewithkids – Lots of great book recs from a writer of children’s books

@californiatoddler – Healthy meal ideas, plus fun book recommendations

@everydayreading – More of a lifestyle blogger, but she has four little girls so plenty of activity/parenting/book ideas make it into her feed

Let me know if there are any I should add to the list!

In the meantime, I put together two starter sensory activities that Amelia really enjoys! The supplies are super simple, yet they keep her entertained for much longer than the average toy.

Starter Sensory Bins for Young Toddlers


  • assorted pom pom balls
  • colorful plastic caps (I saved the caps from puree pouches, but you could also use caps from milk jugs, screw-on lids, poker chips, etc.)
  • empty baby wipes container
  • containers of different sizes – cups, tupperware, scoops, milk jugs, baby food jars or cans, etc.

That’s it!

The only thing you have to teach your toddler is NOT TO EAT the pom poms, but other than that they will know exactly what to do. Even though it seems so simple, it keeps her so busy!

We tried the pom pom balls first, and for extra excitement we played in the tent (which also helped keep it more contained). Amelia loved the texture and the novelty of different containers.

Amelia’s current favorite item to play with are the colorful caps from the pureed food pouches that I’ve been collecting for the past couple months. She loves to make a lot of noise by swirling them around before carefully choosing one, and also loves dumping the whole bowl onto the floor, because why not?

Pushing pom poms or caps into the empty wipes container, moving them from the bowl to the tupperware jug, emptying one container into another, dumping them all over the floor; what’s not to love? I name the colors and sometimes she’ll play along, but usually she just wants to do her own thing, and that’s fine by me!

I’ve collected funnels, tongs, scoops, cups of assorted sizes, etc. but honestly I’ve found that a limited amount of options leads to longer play. As Amelia gets bigger, I’ll add in more tools and containers, but she has so much fun with just a few that she doesn’t need anything more complicated.

As the weather warms up, I know we’ll have a lot of fun playing with water and ice cubes outside, so I’ll keep you posted as we find new ways to keep this busy baby occupied!

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