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Taste-Safe Sensory Bin Ideas. Sensory bins are a creative and fun way to increase your child’s cognitive development.
But not all sensory bins are right for young children or children with autism with oral sensory needs. Thankfully, there are sensory bin ideas that are edible to accommodate any child.
When creating a new sensory bin it’s important to think about your child’s current cognitive development and safety.
Although sensory bins provide needed stimulation for a child’s senses, sensory items in bins do pose choking hazards and are not safe to ingest.
One of my favorite fillers for a sensory bin is water beads! But water beads are a choking hazard and are not safe if ingested.
Therefore, you should avoid water beads if you have young children and children with oral sensory needs. Since my own child chews on everything due to autism, I can’t use water beads as a filler.
Instead, I’m getting creative with sensory bins that are taste-safe! Although it’s required a lot of research to find successful and fun taste-safe sensory bins, it’s worth it.
I’m not taking the chance of my son chewing or ingesting an inanimate object he shouldn’t be.
With a sensory bin being “taste-safe” I’m assured he can taste everything without choking or getting sick.
Here are some simple and fun taste-safe sensory bin ideas to try!
Let’s start with a simple sensory bin activity. All you need for rainbow spaghetti is one to two boxes of spaghetti and food coloring.
Simply boil spaghetti noodles in water with a few drops of food coloring. Then drain the noodles and allow them to cool completely before adding them to a sensory bin.
For rainbow spaghetti, you will need to separate the noodles into portions and boil each separately with different food coloring in each portion of spaghetti.
Although it’s very messy, you can use a chocolate cake mix to create a “swamp.” I just took a chocolate cake mix box and mixed in a small amount of water till I got a consistency resembling mud.
After you spread the edible mud in a bin add in fun extras like gummy worms and frogs, plastic snakes, and alligators.
Depending on your child’s interests, you can also do a muddy construction site with small construction toys or farm animals and trackers (Little People toys work great for this sensory bin!).
Ice ice baby
To combine water play with less mess simply freeze water into ice cube trays. Some ice cube trays even come in fun shapes like stars and mermaid tails.
Adding Kool-aid to the water will create visually stimulating colors and you can also freeze objects like tiny plastic dinosaurs in the ice cubes and supply your child with a plastic toy hammer to smash or “hatch” the dinosaurs.
However, be aware that small figurines do pose a choking hazard.
Let it snow
While you can always take white flour and pour it into a bin to represent “snow,” I’ve found a much better representation of snow can be found with boxed potato flakes!
Turn this into a themed sensory bin by adding these extras:
Christmas themed sensory bin
- Small plastic reindeer
- Shatterproof ornaments
- Paper or plastic snowflakes
- Ribbon (red or green)
Antarctica themed sensory bin
- Polar bears
Whip cream foam
Whip cream is a tasty substitute for non-edible foam. All you do is put whip cream in a bin and add drops of food coloring.
Then your child can mix the colors to form a new color with trucks, spoons, and plastic animals.
Moon sand is a type of sand with a crumbly texture but is easily molded when compressed.
Taste-safe moon sand is only two ingredients of flour and vegetable oil.
Taste-safe moon sand recipe:
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 cup of vegetable oil
Most people use white flour, however, I had wheat flour in my pantry and I loved the results. It had the texture of moon sand while having the brown color look of real sand.
I highly recommend using wheat flour! Although I used extras like small sand molding toys and cookie cutters, with wheat flour you can always create an edible beach or construction site themed sensory bin.
Sensory bins can tackle sensory issues
I’ve fallen in love with creating sensory bins for my son! One sensory issue I’m trying to tackle with the help of sensory bins is his discomfort of having his hands dirty.
Sensory bins tend to get messy, so it’s perfect for introducing my son to new textures and to show him it’s ok to get your hands dirty.
But I’ve run into the problem of non-edible sensory bin items ending up in his mouth.
Now with taste-safe sensory bins, I no longer have to worry!
About the Author
Liz Talton is the contributing author for the Speech Blubs blog. After her son received an Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluation, she decided to do all she can to help her little one. She is a full-time blogger, and a creator of Pitter Patter of Baby Feet, a website dedicated to trying to conceive; fertility; pregnancy; mental health and anything related to motherhood. Before starting a family, she received a master’s degree in forensic psychology and mental health.
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