1 year old

Hot Chocolate Sensory Bin


We have so much fun creating new sensory bins to play with, so when I told Ethan that we were going to make a hot chocolate sensory bin you can just imagine how excited he was! (I did have to quickly tell him that it wouldn't involve actual chocolate, ha ha!)

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Setting up our Hot Chocolate Sensory Bin

We started with a base of pinto beans (buy from Amazon US / Amazon UK), they were the perfect choice as they are the perfect shade of brown and really do look like bubbly hot chocolate.  I also wanted something a little bit larger as the weather is getting colder and we're doing a lot more of our play indoors and my two are still very messy with a sensory bin, so rice really gets everywhere!  These beans are a bit easier to clean up and even Ivy can pick up the individual beans that get outside of the bin.  

The only challenge with beans is that they are slightly more difficult to scent as you want to avoid getting them wet.  So we used some chocolate tea bags (buy from Amazon US / Amazon UK) and mixed them around with the beans and stored them in the bin with a lid to infuse them with the scent.  I remove the tea bags while the children are playing with the bin so that Ivy doesn't rip them, then replace them to enhance the scent while it's on the shelf.

We added some cotton balls (buy from Amazon US / Amazon UK) as marshmallows, some cute little cups a whisk for stirring and a ladle for scooping up the beans.  Both Ethan and Ivy couldn't wait to dive into this bin and explore those beans, they were scooping them up and filling their cups as soon as they had a chance.

Ivy quickly figured out that she could fill up one cup and use it to pour the beans into another cup.  She kept herself busy doing this for ages, listening to the beans as they fell into the cup and spilling them all over the floor in the process.  When things got a bit too messy I would take the bin away and ask them to collect up all of the beans into the cups.  Then as they were picking up the individual beans they were really using their fine motor control and following my instructions.  Once the beans were all picked up I gave them the bin back and they continued to play.

Ethan love to put the marshmallows on top, and he would count out how many he could fit at the top of the cup before they would start to fall off.  

Then he had to blow on the hot chocolate before taking a sip of his perfectly made drink.  Even Ivy pretended to have a drink and I was so impressed that she didn't put any of the beans in her mouth, maybe at 19 months we're finally getting past that stage!

Ethan came and went from the sensory bin a few times but Ivy was completely focused and playing with it for ages.  She just ran the beans through her fingers sometimes and filled the cups up again and again.  She loved using the whisk to stir the beans around and the ladle to scoop them up and pour them into the bowls.  I have a feeling that this hot chocolate sensory bin is going to come out a lot over the next few months!

If you like this, take a look at our other winter activities for kids and all of our other sensory activities!

This post is a part of the Alphabet Sensory Activities series hosted by The Jenny Evolution along with their partner site The Sensory Spectrum.  26 fantastic bloggers have got together to share a sensory experience based on a letter of the alphabet this month, ours is H is for Hot Chocolate.  There are loads of other amazing sensory play ideas, you've got to take a look!

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  1. I am off to find chocolate tea bags - where have they been all of my life!

    1. I can't wait to see what other ways you find of using them!

  2. Where did you find your tea cups?

    1. They came with toy tea sets. The purple ones are from a Fisher Price set and the red ones may just be from a grocery store set (Tesco?) Sorry not to be more helpful, hope you find some nice ones!


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