American Sensory Bin

American Sensory Bin

I love a good sensory bin because they engage both my Lil’s (3 years and 18 months). It allows them to explore and problem-solve in a super laid back manner.
During this sensory bin activity, I watched my Lil’s poured pasta from one measuring cup to the next. I watched D’s accuracy improve as he scooped and poured the noodles which is a great fine motor workout and I watched Rea figure out that when she poured from the large scoop to the small scoop she lost a lot of pasta, but when she poured from the small scoop to the large scoop she didn’t lose much. None of this was explicitly explained to them, but rather they made observations as they played and learned from them. This is a PRIME example of learning through play.
In honor of Memorial Day, we made this bin to resemble the American flag.

Lil’ Explorers Focus Skills


  • Understand 3 of the 5 senses to make observations


  • Engage in problem-solving activities

Fine Motor Skills

  • Coordinating the use of arms, hands, and fingers together to manipulate objects with increasing accuracy
  • Engage in activities that require hand-eye coordination

Lil’ Creators Focus Skills


  • Use 5-senses to make observations


  • Engage in problem-solving activities

Fine Motor

  • Coordinate the use of hands, wrists, and fingers to complete tasks that require more precise movements
  • Engage in activities that require hand-eye coordination with increasing accuracy

Required Materials

*Affiliate Link

*Plastic Bin

Dried Pasta

*Measuring Cups

*Food Coloring


*Ziplock Bag

Step #1
Divide your pasta into 3 groups.
Step #2
Place 2 groups of pasta into separate Ziplock bags and add food coloring and a tablespoon of vinegar.

We added red to one bag and blue to the other.

Step #3
Shake the bags until the pasta is all colored.

Allow the pasta to dry for 1 day.

Step #4
Pour the pasta in the sensory bin.
  • We added the blue first and kept it contained to the top left.
  • Then we added the red on the top right and the bottom.
  • Finally, we added the white in the center and sprinkled a few white pieces over the blue.

If it isn’t perfect, do NOT worry about it. This “picture perfect” bin was pretty for all of .001 seconds, but the play lasted 20 minutes.

Step #5
Invite your Lil’ to play with the bin using measuring cups.

Teacher Tip

Two tips today:
  1. Place the bin on top of a blanket so when spills happen (cause they will) you can just pick up the blanket and pour it back in the bin.
  2. If you run out of food coloring like I did, you can use a drop of paint instead. This does mean that the activity is no longer taste safe though.

Lesson Bundles

Want more lessons like this? Check out my lesson bundles!

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