Art Appreciation Sensory Bins (plus our favorite resources!)

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Two months ago, as I prepared a handful of art appreciation activities based on Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting, I stumbled across a great sensory bin idea from Munchkins and Moms. Since one of my girls LOVES sensory play, I knew it would be a fun way to help her learn more about this beautiful painting.

Art Appreciation Chapter Books

We borrowed the book Katie and the Starry Night (author: James Mayhew) from the library and the girls had free play time with our sensory materials: blue rice & green and yellow noodles. Our older daughter, Addie (7), also devoured the chapter books Charlotte in Giverny and Charlotte in Paris (illustrated by our very favorite illustrator,  Melissa Sweet).

Art Appreciation Sensory Bin: Starry Night

Both girls enjoyed their sensory bin experience, so we decided to do it again with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting. (See our inspiration over at Life Over Cs.) I dyed some rice bright yellow and added sunflower seeds (still in the shell), green floral gems, and a yellow silicone muffin liner. The girls and I also read Katie and the Sunflowers (author: James Mayhew) and had a tasty sunflower seed snack.

Art Appreciation Sensory Bins: Sunflowers

Addie and I read several books about Van Gogh together over a period of a few weeks, and then she asked if we could study Claude Monet next. We requested a handful of books from the library, including Usborne’s Art Treasury and Katie Meets the Impressionists (author: James Mayhew). We also went to our local art museum to see a real Water Lilies painting (as well as art from several other artists we’ve learned about these past few months).

Art Appreciation Sensory Bin: Water Lilies

I made a Water Lilies-themed sensory bin for the girls using our blue rice and dried peas, plus a few white and blue floral gems and white cupcake liners. (See our inspiration from Playground Parkbench.) Addie has two different Water Lilies Usborne flashcards, so we went with the version without the bridge.

Art Appreciation Activities and Sensory Bins

We’ve really enjoyed these relaxed explorations of famous works of art–I’m impressed by how much information the girls are retaining from our casual conversations. I’ve already requested more James Mayhew “Katie” books and the rest of the “Charlotte” series, too, so be on the lookout for a follow-up post with other artist-inspired sensory bins in the near future.

Click here to see our other favorite art resources, available from Amazon!