blue and yellow water in a larger bin for sensory play

What Are Sensory Bin Fillers?

Sensory bin fillers are the materials that you use as the base of your sensory bin. They can be almost anything.

When picking a filler think about what feels good and relaxing to touch. I have put together two lists for you, food sensory bin filler ideas and non-food sensory bin filler ideas.

I have to add a MAJOR disclaimer here: All sensroy bins require adult supervision. Many of the items on this list are choking hazards. 

Food Sensory Bin Filler Ideas

Basic pantry items are the most common sensory bin fillers for preschool. We tend to have food on hand and they are fairly inexpensive. I typically like food fillers because I can dye or paint them to change their color. 

  • Rice – uncooked
  • Pasta – uncooked
  • Pasta – cooked
  • Marshmallows
  • Crunchy Pantry Items
  • Crumbled Cake
  • Cereal
  • Beans
  • Corn Kernels
  • Oats
  • Citrus
  • Cornmeal
  • Coconut
  • Baking Soda
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Barley
  • Whipped Cream
  • Pizza Dough
  • Quinoa
  • Seeds
  • Cranberries

 

  • Dried Garbanzo Beans
  • Ground Coffee
  • Chia Seeds
  • Coffee Beans
  • Lentils
  • Dried Peas
  • Jelly Beans
  • Sprinkles
  • Ice
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Gum Drops

Non-Food Sensory Bin Filler Ideas

A friend recently asked me for some suggestions on sensory bin filler ideas that are not made from food. She brought brought up the fact that not all families have enough food as it is so using food as a filler seems wastefull. I loved her point and instantly started working on this list. Non-food fillers also benefits students and kiddos who have food allergies or sensitivities. 

I do want to note, you should not dump any food fillers you already have out of guilt. That would be the ultimate act of waste. If you already have sensory bin fillers that are food based, but you would like to be more mindful, use them until you no longer can. When you buy new sensory bin fillers look for non-food items.

  • Rubber Mulch
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Mud
  • Wood Chips
  • Leaves
  • Mulch
  • Snow
  • Grass
  • Hay/Straw
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Rocks
  • Aquarium Gravel
  • Flowers/Petals
  • Sticks
  • Acorns
  • Soil
  • Water Beads
  • Beads
  • Water
  • Soapy Water
  • Bubble Foam
  • Cotton Balls
  • Legos
  • Buttons
  • Bottle Caps /Pouch Caps
  • Shaving Cream
  • Ooblek

 

  • Pom Poms
  • Pipe Cleaners – Cut
  • Shredded Paper
  • Cut Ribbon
  • Crinkle paper
  • Confetti
  • Feathers
  • Cut Straws
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Glass Beads
  • Table Scatter
  • String/Yarn
  • Gems
  • Sequins

Tell me in the comments your favorite sensory bin fillers and share pictures so we can all be inspired.