Rain Sensory Bin

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A fun water play sensory bin for kids, today’s Rain Sensory Bin is the perfect indoor activity on rainy days, promoting fine motor, literacy and numeracy concepts along the way.

A super simple rain-themed sensory bin for kids, perfect for water play inside or outside. Kids can explore mathematical and scientific concepts while building their fine motor skills and having fun!

Rain Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are a weekly occurrence in our daycare. Not only are they fun to play with and easy to make, they are a great way to engage kids in exploring different concepts and building fine motor skills in a stress-free, play-based way.

Whenever I create a sensory bin for my crew, I try to keep things open ended while providing lots of opportunities to explore different concepts. There is never just one “right way” to play with our sensory bins. (How boring would that be?)

I do generally have some ideas of how the different materials can be played with (and if the kids are stuck, I’ll show them some of my ideas) but more often than not I am completely amazed at the different ideas that the kids come up with on their own. For example, with this rain sensory bin I expected the kids to use the cut up pool noodles for dropping the glass beads in, try to pour water through the holes and maybe discuss the different colors and shapes of the pool noodles. The kids completely surprised me by not only deciding to stack the pool noodle slices, but also using the shaving cream to stick them together – almost like they were laying bricks and using the shaving cream as the concrete adhesive. Some of the kids even decided to explore patterning during their pool noodle stacking.

As with any sensory bin, have a conversation with your crew about any rules before you start playing and set up your area for success. If you’re worried about them splashing the water out of the bin, lay down some towels or a plastic tarp or tablecloth and set up the bin in a room that can easily be cleaned up if shaving cream or water gets on the floor.

If you’re worried about the kids’ clothing getting wet, you can encourage bathing suits, provide waterproof art smocks, or even have large “messy” shirts that the kids can wear during their play and then change into their normal clothes afterwards.

Of course, if you have some great weather, you can take this rain sensory bin outside or even set it up in water table. 

More Fun Weather Activities for Kids

Rain Sensory Bin Materials

Tip: these are the materials I used but feel free to swap them out with materials you already have on hand or materials that will interest your kids. I keep a giant tote bin with lots of different sensory bin materials that I pull from when creating each week’s sensory bin.

How to Make and Play with a Rain Sensory Bin

To set up the water sensory bin, I started by cutting up a couple pool noodles into different lengths. I used a sharp, serrated knife and cut two different shapes and colors of pool noodles into 2″ slices and then created a few 10″ lengths of pool noodle.

Then, I shaped three gold pipe cleaners into lightning bolt shapes and inserted them into the bottom of a colander serving as my “rain cloud.”

I then filled the colander with a bunch of blue glass gems and then covered them up halfway with shaving cream.

I filled a plastic storage tote bin with water and set the colander and cut up pool noodles in the bin.

To the side, I provided the longer pool noodles, plastic measuring cups and straws. I eventually placed a plastic tablecloth underneath our sensory bin to designate an acceptable area for the materials to be taken out of the bin and also trap escaping water.

I started off by ensuring that every child had a change to pour water into the “rain cloud” before it got emptied of it’s glass gems and shaving cream. The kids didn’t mind taking turns with this because they loved watching how pretty the water was streaming out of the bottom of our “cloud” alongside the pipe cleaner lightning bolts.

Some of the kids pointed out that the glass beads weren’t coming out of the rain cloud because they were too big for the “rain holes.” (Comparing and contrasting shape and practicing problem solving skills.)

After that, I allowed the children to explore the bin to their hearts’ content. A few of the ways that they explored were:

  • using the pool noodles as “drain pipes” to pour water through and also drop the glass “rain drops” down
  • they also used the straws to pour water through and discussed whether they liked the pool noodles or straws better for this
  • they splashed their hands in the water and felt the cool glass beads both in the water and outside of the water. They felt more slippery and cool inside the water
  • pool noodle slices were threaded on the straws and we made patterns
  • we made patterns with the glass beads in the shaving cream and then experimented with dissolving the shaving cream in the water. There were many requests for MORE shaving cream – which I happily obliged
  • the kids stacked the pool noodle slices and used shaving cream to help them stick together
  • we made funny sounds by rubbing the pool noodle slices together
  • we tried to push the pool noodles down to the bottom of the sensory bin, only to have them pop back up again. Why did the pool noodles float but not the glass gems?
  • we refilled the colander over and over again with water and poked the straws and pipe cleaners through the colander’s holes

We easily played with this sensory bin for 2 hours before it was time to have lunch, which is always the sign of a successful sensory bin!

Because we used shaving cream, everything needed a simple rinse after we were done, but if you skip the shaving cream, there’s practically no clean up needed. Everything can be used over and over again.

 

Pin this Easy Rain Sensory Bin for your next rainy day:

The perfect weather sensory bin for a rainy day - this rain sensory bin allows children to explore a variety of concepts while having fun and building fine motor skills.

Grab your free printable instructions for our rain sensory bin activity:

Yield: 1 Sensory Bin

Rain Sensory Bin

Rain Sensory Bin

A super simple rain-themed sensory bin for kids, perfect for water play inside or outside. Kids can explore mathematical and scientific concepts while building their fine motor skills and having fun!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $5

Materials

  • Blue Glass Gems
  • Shaving Cream
  • Pool Noodles
  • Colander
  • Pipe Cleaners (gold or yellow)
  • Measuring Cups
  • Straws

Tools

  • Large Bin

Instructions

  1. To set up the water sensory bin, I started by cutting up a couple pool noodles into different lengths. I used a sharp, serrated knife and cut two different shapes and colors of pool noodles into 2" slices and then created a few 10" lengths of pool noodle.
  2. Then, I shaped three gold pipe cleaners into lightning bolt shapes and inserted them into the bottom of a colander serving as my "rain cloud."
  3. I then filled the colander with a bunch of blue glass gems and then covered them up halfway with shaving cream.
  4. I filled a plastic storage tote bin with water and set the colander and cut up pool noodles in the bin.
  5. To the side, I provided the longer pool noodles, plastic measuring cups and straws. I eventually placed a plastic tablecloth underneath our sensory bin to designate an acceptable area for the materials to be taken out of the bin and also trap escaping water.
  6. I started off by ensuring that every child had a change to pour water into the "rain cloud" before it got emptied of it's glass gems and shaving cream. The kids didn't mind taking turns with this because they loved watching how pretty the water was streaming out of the bottom of our "cloud" alongside the pipe cleaner lightning bolts.

Notes

A few of the ways that they explored were:

  • using the pool noodles as "drain pipes" to pour water through and also drop the glass "rain drops" down
  • they also used the straws to pour water through and discussed whether they liked the pool noodles or straws better for this
  • they splashed their hands in the water and felt the cool glass beads both in the water and outside of the water. They felt more slippery and cool inside the water
  • pool noodle slices were threaded on the straws and we made patterns
  • we made patterns with the glass beads in the shaving cream and then experimented with dissolving the shaving cream in the water. There were many requests for MORE shaving cream - which I happily obliged
  • the kids stacked the pool noodle slices and used shaving cream to help them stick together
  • we made funny sounds by rubbing the pool noodle slices together
  • we tried to push the pool noodles down to the bottom of the sensory bin, only to have them pop back up again. Why did the pool noodles float but not the glass gems?
  • we refilled the colander over and over again with water and poked the straws and pipe cleaners through the colander's holes
  • Some of the kids pointed out that the glass beads weren't coming out of the rain cloud because they were too big for the "rain holes." (Comparing and contrasting shape and practicing problem solving skills.)

Pin this Project for Later

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

I hope your crew loves exploring their rain sensory bin as much as mine did!

For more fun sensory play activities for kids, check out our full sensory play section here:

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