Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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Nuts & Bolts Sensory Bin

When I dreamed up this Nuts & Bolts Sensory Bin, I had no idea how popular it would be for our preschoolers.

I expected the kids would be excited and want to twist the nuts onto the bolts.  And they were...but that was just the beginning!

The bin looked like this when we started:

Less than two minutes later, each child had pulled out the pieces he/she wanted and had a small pile on the floor in front of them.  Less than two minutes after that, the bucket was empty.  But the preschoolers (and their siblings!) kept playing.

They stacked, screwed, and measured.  They experimented with what fit where.  They even scooped handfuls of nuts, bolts, and washers into their hands and let them just "rain" down into the bucket or onto the floor next to them.

Then their creations came alive.  There were kings, queens, princesses, princes, and trolls.  And I cannot even begin to tell you the adventures they went on!  I saw contests, challenges, and a few of your basic good-verses-evil-decides-who-will-rule-the-world games!

In all, they played for over a half hour...the first time.  The next day, they practically came running to play again when they heard the sound of the bolts rolling around in the sensory bin!  I had six nuts and bolts activities planned for two days, but I had to wait several days to get to them because everyone (all ages!) loved the sensory bin SO much!

You can also create your own nuts & bolts sensory bin for your preschooler!  Obviously there are small pieces in our bin...if there is any chance that your children will put pieces in their mouths, wait until they are older or use the larger plastic nuts and bolts designed for toddlers.

To make your own nuts and bolts sensory bin, just dump a pile of nuts, bolts, and washers into a bin!  You may want to play with it in a place where you will not mind if the pieces come out of the bin...because they will!

We picked up the nuts and bolts at a hardware store, but if I had it to do again, I would totally get an assorted set like one of these:

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This bin appeals to preschoolers' sense of touch in a unique way while also engaging their senses of hearing and sight.  At the same time, their analytical and creative brains begin looking at combinations of nuts, bolts, and washers, and coming up with ways to build and play!  During this whole process, they are exercising the same fine muscles that they need to strengthen for writing. Like most sensory bins, no instructions are needed!

I'll be sharing more nuts and bolts activities during the next few weeks.  Do you have a favorite sensory bin?  Have you seen these other sensory bins at Preschool Powol Packets?

I may share at any of these parties!

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