Monday, December 12, 2016

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Magnets & Trains Sensory Bin

Preschool sensory bins are an important part of our schedules because they are little portable science labs that our preschoolers can access and experiment with at exactly their own pace. I was delighted (don't laugh, I really was delighted!) to put together this simple magnets & trains sensory bin to go with this week's Virtual Book Club book, The Polar Express.



Preschoolers can come up to a sensory bin and touch, see, smell, hear, and manipulate the contents however they need to in order to get the most out of the experience. It is child-led and investigative learning at its best! (Click here to learn more about how a young child's mind learns and grows.) If you let your preschoolers investigate a sensory bin in a small group they get to practice social skills too...and you can never practice sharing too much!

The kids figured out pretty quickly which trains would stick to their magnets and which would not.



Some trains had metal in them, but not enough metal to stick their heavy weight to the magnets!


Pretty soon, the kids started building structures with the magnets, adding trains, and taking over the whole floor. Some sensory bins need floor space to go with them!





To make your own magnet & train sensory bin, you only need two supplies, and you probably already have them both:

1- an assortment of trains (both magnetic and non-magnetic)
2- an assortment of magnets

Once you gather the supplies, just put them in a bin (or box) and let your kiddos get into it!

You can use any kind of trains or magnets, but here are a few Amazon Affiliate Links for supplies like we used:


My kiddos played with this bin (actually, I used a box...we have so many at this time of year!) for over 30 minutes. It's a super simple set-up, but it has so many learning possibilities! I just set it all in a box and placed the box on a counter! Less than two hours later they were back at it! Here are a few science and math concepts that they explored:

* polar nature of magnets
* What will magnets stick to?
* different materials and textures
* size comparisons
* color comparisons
* counting
* construction and balance
* strength of magnets comparisons
* science reasoning - experiments and hypotheses


We have been a little obsessed with trains lately because we are so in love with The Polar Express! You can see our free Train Game here, a free train pattern printable here, and a Train Challenge here!

Amazon Affiliate Link:


This week the cohosts from the Virtual Book Club are all sharing train themed activities!


Be sure to check them out:



Spell My Name on a Train – Powerful Mothering



Christmas Train – Mama Smiles

Trains & Magnets Sensory Bin – Preschool Powol Packets

Learning colors by Painting with trains – views from a Step stool

Train Pretend Play Fun for Kids– Toddler Approved

Train Ride Yoga – My Storytime Corner

Train Shapes -craftcreatecalm






Happy Educating,
Carla







I may share at any of these parties!




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