Bring a day at the beach home with this fun play theme.
A sandy beach and ocean sensory bin is great for toddlers and preschool aged children.
This time last year we were enjoying a week on the beach for a family vacation. But since COVID cancelled our vacation this year, we have all been dreaming of the beach.
So we brought the beach to our backyard with this sandy beach and ocean sensory bin. This small world brings all your favorite parts of the beach to your home. Dig in the sand, let your dolls lay out and get some sun, and watch dolphins swim in the deep blue sea!
Your kids will love this activity that transports them to a virtual vacation.
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Sandy Beach and Ocean Sensory Bin
My kids love sensory bins. They are a great way to get the kids to step away from electronics and play the old fashioned way.
Over the years, we have created lots of easy activities for toddlers and preschoolers to play with like a Vegetable Soup water table activity, cookie cereal no bake kit, and planting flowers and seeds.
So they totally knew what to expect when I said we were going to play with a sensory bin.
But this sandy beach and ocean sensory bin actually uses two different bins so that was a little different. One bin is for the beach and the other is for the ocean.
I separated them for a couple of reasons but the main reason was just to protect the sand from possibly breaking down from the water.
Here is what you need to do to create this day at the beach play activity.
Creating The Beach Play Scene
Sandy Beach Sensory Bin Materials:
- Kinetic Beach Sand
- Bouncy Ball
- Small Dolls (Mini Barbies or even Wooden Dolls)
- Paper Umbrellas
- Tin Beach Bucket
- Wooden Scoop Shovel
- A couple of Pieces of Fabric for Beach Towels
Most of these items you probably have at home or can find something similar.
I had to buy the beach Kinetic sand but everything else we already had from other toys or past sensory bins that we have done.
The bouncy balls make great doll sized beach balls!
Some of our Paw Patrol figurines even came along because Marshall wanted to go on our beach trip too!
Blue Ocean Foam Bin
The DIY ocean foam bin is made with just a couple of items that you probably have in your cleaning closet or pantry.
To Make the Foam:
Add the following to a medium plastic mixing bowl:
- 1/3 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of Blue Dawn Dish Soap
- 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
- A few drops of blue or teal food coloring
Using a hand mixer, mix, mix, mix until the foam is thick and foamy and large in volume.
You can transfer the DIY ocean foam to a flatter sensory bin or just serve it up for play in the mixing bowl.
If you have some ocean animal figurines or boats, those are fun to add to the sea.
Playing With The Activity
The best thing about an invitation to play activity is that you put it together and give it to the kids.
There is virtually no instruction needed. I typically just tell them what it is (here is a beach and an ocean) and then tell them that they can start playing.
If the kids get stuck, I will try and give them an idea to get the creative juices flowing.
Some example for play prompts with this bin might be:
- Take the dolls for a swim
- Build the biggest sand castle
- Bury treasure in the Sand
Digging In the Sand
Using the shovel and bucket was a big portion of what my kids enjoyed. They dug in the sand, filled the bucket and tried to make sand castles.
My 6 year old also spent some time playing pretend with the dolls on the beach.
What Is Hiding in the Ocean
The 2 year old really enjoyed the ocean foam bin. Probably because that was the messier of his two options!
I prompted him to hide some of the objects in the ocean. He then used his shovel to find and fish out the items.
An extra bin or bowl of fresh water is helpful to have around for this side of the bin. We used it to wash off toys and hands before going back to the sand side.
If you have 2 kids, you will like the sandy beach and ocean sensory bin because it encourages play time jointly but there are 2 separate bins.
So the kids can play pretend together but they both have their own space to engage with the different materials.
Helping to eliminate disagreements! We all need that right?
Do your kids talk about their birthday year round? Celebrate their un-birthday with this idea.