Sensory Fun with Sand and Water Bins

A healthy sensory system allows your child to attend better to tasks, interact with the world around them, and have positive social interactions with others. In short, the development of your child’s sensory system is critical to their ability to successful navigate the world. Sensory bins are a wonderful way to encourage sensory play and promote your child’s ability to happily tolerate a variety of textures. Since it’s summer (and we love to get outside) one of our favorite activities are to promote a healthy sensory system are sand and water bins.

To prepare your child for this activity,  allow them to pick out some toys that can go in their sensory bin. You can make a sensory bin out of any large container, and fill it with sand from your local home improvement store and water. Children can help by pouring / filling the container – don’t forget to grab a towel (or two)! Just in the set up, you can work with your child on following directions, impulse control, and experiencing the different textures of materials.


  • Large bin or container (with lid)
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Water safe toys
  • Scrub brushes / sponges

Using sand for play can be a calming, tactile sensory option. The texture and fluidity of the particles allow for the child to receive input through their hands while remaining “clean.” Adding in a water basin allows them to clean their hands as often as they would like, and additionally receive a different feeling. 

Sand is not only calming, but it is also easy to encourage your child’s imaginative play. Once there is sand in the bin, add some dish soap to the water to create a “toy wash”. Create underwater scenes with underwater animals, and explore the sea. You can also add a boat and let your child hunt for buried treasure. The possibilities are endless.

Play with your sensory bins outside for easy clean up, but be sure to always cover your sand for more days of fun! Remember to empty the water each time and refill for a clean experience. To introduce this activity to your child, watch the video below with them:

If your child could benefit from one-on-one therapy this summer, give any of our three offices a call – or contact us for more information.