Nothing says spring and summer like a bug sensory bin. This activity can be done indoors or outdoors and will be enjoyed by kids big and small!
Looking for the perfect spring and summer sensory activity? Look no further: bug sensory bin
Some things just have to be done every year in preschool, and this is at the top of the list.
Kids love bugs just as much as they do sensory bins, so when you combine them, it’s off-the-charts fun.
Plus, it’s a quick and easy bug activity, so putting it together is a cinch.
Related: Our GIANT 10-foot bug coloring page is the perfect bug art project for your little entomologists.
No real insects were harmed in the making of this bug sensory bin
My favorite part of the bug sensory bin is that you don’t have to touch actual bugs.
Instead, these pretend bug toys are perfect for imaginative play, so you don’t get the creepy crawlies.
And I’m going to teach you five ways to use them.
Here are some other “bug-cellent” insect activities to try:
- Insect Ice Excavation – Friends Art Lab
- Sparkly Spin Art Butterflies – Toddler Approved
- Free Printable Bug Bingo Cards – The Best Ideas for Kids
Bug sensory bin materials
- Insect toys – I like this brand because they’re rainbow-colored and won’t get mistaken for real bugs when left around the home or classroom
- Colored rice – Here’s the easiest dyed rice tutorial ever, or skip the rice and do this in sand, dirt, water, beans, plain rice, etc.
Some additional optional materials are needed for specific activities, which I’ll share in their sections.
However, before you proceed, just know that bug toys in any material are hours of fun as a standalone project. 😉
There are endless ways to play with a bug sensory bin.
Just tossing the plastic bug toys into a bucket with water = hours of fun.
Or, tossing the plastic bug toys into a tray of sand = hours of fun.
Of course, tossing the bug toys in colorful dyed rice = hours of fun.
A bug sensory bin can be as simple as you want and still be a delight!
If you want to step up your bug sensory game, try these activities, too.
Sort by color
Add small bowls and invite your child to sort the bugs by color.
This is a dynamite math activity where kids classify based on an attribute (in this instance, by color).
An activity like this easily serves as both a sensory and math activity!
Sort by type of insect
“The caterpillars go here, the dragonflies go here, the beetles go here…”
Watching kids sort by insect is a level above sorting by color because they have to really examine the bugs and notice the characteristics of each.
Just like sorting by color, this is a magnificent math activity.
Challenge: invite your child to name the insects as they sort.
Roll, count, and fill the muffin tin
First, invite your child to roll the die and name the number of dots shown.
Next, invite them to add that same number of insects into the muffin tin.
Continue until all of the muffin tin spots are full.
Challenge: provide older children with two dice for them to add together.
Scoop and pour
Kids. Love. Scooping. And. Pouring.
It begins when they’re babies and never really stops (I can personally attest to this).
Raid your kitchen, home, or classroom to collect as many scoopable things as possible! Try to find the following:
- Soup spoons
- Serving spoons
- Slotted spoons
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
You can build your collection by adding specialty spoons and scoops to your stash, but begin with materials you already have on hand to see what your child enjoys the most.
Race against the clock
Some things ring true across age groups, and after teaching preschool for a million years, you learn how much preschoolers love a good race.
An outdoor running race? They love.
An indoor cleaning-up race? They love.
A race against the clock where they hear how many seconds something took? THEY LOVE.
In your bug sensory bin, add a container of some sort (here I used the container the bugs come in) and invite your child to fill it to the top while you time them. When the bucket is full, share how long it took (ex: “That took 27 seconds!”) and get ready for them to ask to do it again and again and…
Comparing numbers, recognizing numerals, learning double-digit numbers? Yes, please!
Are sensory bins worth it?
They’re worth every penny, every ounce of energy, and every second of prep.
In how many other activities are kids learning math, science, tactile, fine motor, social, literacy, and creative skills in one without even realizing it?
Plus, if you make sensory materials like colored rice, seal them in an airtight container when done, and it will last for YEARS.
Worth it 654897x over.
If you store it in an airtight container it will last for years and years!
If you add the bugs to something dirty and want to clean them, we run ours through the dishwasher in a basket for small items.
Not at all! Kids will love them in water, sand, dirt, beans, pompoms, white rice, and more.
A bug sensory bun is un-bee-lievable fun
Once you live the sensory bin life, you just can’t go back.
Have fun with this adorable activity!