Toddler Activities: Simple Sensory Bin

Some of you may already know our family’s story, but I like to assume that I have at least one new reader every now and again. Those of you who know us well can just skip over the next two sentences.

Our older daughter was born unxpectedly at 26 weeks, weighing just 1 pound, 8 ounces. Her first 135 days were spent in the NICU, and she had four surgeries before she was four months old. As a result of her prematurity, Addie had a weekly hour-long session with a pediatric occupational therapist for nearly three years.

Those first few years were filled with all kinds of specific fine-motor play: lacing beads, stacking blocks, pulling items out of clay, etc. As excellent (slightly obsessive), first-time parents, our older daughter had a lot of *focused* adult attention for three years.

And then her little sister was born.

Y’all, I am the second of two girls myself, so you better believe that colors how I parent my children. (Confession: I tend to take my younger daughter’s side more often than not.) But Kate definitely has Second Child Syndrome when it comes to *focused* playtime with her parents. It’s so much easier having TWO children and sending them off to play together! (Am I right or am I right?)

I love to read awesome toddler/preschool blogs because I get AMAZING (over-the-top) ideas for my sign language classes. I see great activities posted on Pinterest and I dutifully re-pin them. 🙂 But to actually sit down and do them with my own child? There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to create a Giant Pink Lemonade Lava Lamp. (Sorry, Kate.)

I find myself being drawn toward the Montessori-style of learning for little ones (like these beautiful Discovery Baskets), and I’m trying to be more purposeful in giving our toddler time to play with simple, natural materials. The other evening while I prepared dinner, I sat her down on the kitchen floor with a metal bowl, some uncooked rice and beans, and a scooper and let her go to town.

Do you believe sensory play is important for your children? How do you implement that into your family’s daily routine?

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