I got the idea for this zoo safari sensory bin theme for the boys when I found a giant bucket of safari animals (zoo animals work, as well) at Target a few weeks ago. I knew we needed them and that there would be so many zoo animal inspired activities we can do with them. So, I set off to learn how to color rice for sensory bins, so I could set up different colored rice for different “habitats”. Of course, it all got mixed up in the end, but we had a lot of fun talking about where the different animals lived.
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Here’s our Zoo Safari Sensory Bin
Before I even used the fun little fence pieces to separate our “habitats”, the boys knew where I was going, grass, dirt (ahem, desert), and water habitats!
Sensory bins are a great way to develop fine motor skills, have some imaginary play, and they provide a great sensory experience for little ones development. I find that my bigger kids enjoy them, too. Always provide some adult supervision for smaller children, since small pieces can be choking hazards.
There are a lot of learning opportunities with this from talking about the animals to their habitats, what they eat, where they live, etc… and then the boys also loved the rice aspect of this bin, and had a lot of fun scooping and mixing the rice all together before it was over with. For these safari/zoo animals, I’ve also seen really cute animal washing stations, and the kit really has everything you’d need to set up your own zoo play area just with what is included. I try to find things to make these bins that I know will have more uses, and this set definitely qualifies. They’ve been enjoying the animals and the rice left in the bin for several days since we did this.
Okay, so first you’ll start by coloring the rice. you can do two colors, or three, whatever you feel like making, and I have a full tutorial on that here.
You can, of course, use different materials in your bin, such as sand, black beans, small or large rocks, etc… we just really love using rice and it is so inexpensive.
Then, you’ll get your rice into your bin, divided up for your “habitats”. I really love these cheap and easy Sterlite bins for sensory bins and other activities. If you have a sensory table setup, that would work great, too.
Then, you can start adding in different animals. My boys loved swapping all of the animal figurines out and talking about where they would go. This definitely provided them with a little critical thinking along the way.
If you are looking for a fun zoo/safari themed animal set that you can use for a whole bunch of activities this Summer, this set is great. You can enhance this bin even more with any other safari themed materials you find. I hope you’ve enjoyed our take on a safari themed sensory bin.
Your little one might also enjoy these great book ideas that are Zoo and habitat themed!
Visiting the Zoo-
Visiting the Zoo in Spring and Summer can be a lot of fun, and you can keep the learning going with this Zoo sensory bin idea and fun Zoo and habitat books for your kiddos. Which animals do your little ones absolutely love seeing at the Zoo? I think our favorites are the elephants and the reptiles!
You might also love these other sensory play ideas-