After reading a good squirrel book, it’s fun to let kids dig into this Squirrel Sensory Bin! It’s a quick and easy fall sensory bin that can be as educational as you like.
Squirrel Sensory Bin
Everywhere I’ve lived, squirrels tend to keep their distance from humans – running away skittishly if we dare come too close.
However, in the city that I’ve lived in for the past decade, we have “friendly squirrels.” Squirrels who beg like puppy dogs, wanting a piece of whatever the kids are eating, and are often so curious about what we’re up to, that they come within arm’s distance almost daily.
It can be quite scary for some of the kids, so I’ve tried to remove some of the fear by reading a few fun squirrel books and making this simple squirrel sensory bin for the kids to “act out” a day in the life of a squirrel.
It was so fun to see which activities each of the kids got up to with the bin, and eventually I snuck some letters onto some of the leaves for my kids who love discovering letters and putting together simple CVC words.
Are sensory bins Montessori?
While I could craft an argument that suggests that they are – especially since Montessori herself said, “Nothing comes to the intellect that is not first in the senses,” (Secret of Childhood) and the Montessori curriculum has a large emphasis on sensory awareness, in the strictest sense, sensory bins are not Montessori.
However, I do believe sensory bins can fit within a Montessori home – and in our case, preschool/daycare setting.
I strive to make my sensory bins interactive and allow my children to practice concepts that we learn in our Montessori lessons. Beyond that, I usually use our sensory bins as a transition between free time and moving towards a quieter part of the day – whether a circle time reading, lunch time, or just before naps. It’s a cooperative experience where the kids can sit down and explore together – it is always so interesting to see how they each approach the sensory bin and what they learn from each other’s play.
Materials for a Squirrel Sensory Bin
- Squirrel Finger Puppet
- Lots of nuts, acorns, etc, for the squirrel to gather
- Nature elements to enhance the bin:
- fake leaves (we used two different types for texture)
- pine cones
- fake log
Tip: substitute materials that you already have on hand for these materials, being sure to give a couple of different items for different narratives and imaginative play. If you don’t have a squirrel finger puppet, maybe a paper cut-out or a popsicle stick puppet squirrel would be a good replacement.
Books To Read Before Playing
- Scaredy Squirrel (Melanie Watt)
- Those Darn Squirrels (Adam Rubin)
- The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (Beatrice Potter)
- That’s Not My Squirrel
How to Make a Squirrel Sensory Bin
Place all of the items strategically in the bin or sensory table.
Read a squirrel-centric book and encourage the kids to explore the sensory bin to their heart’s delight.
Add in letters on the leaves or labels for the various nature elements for a literacy enhancement. Some of my kids took to counting the nuts and making patterns with the leaves which are great early math skills.
Grab your free printable for what we used in our sensory bin: