We do all kinds of crazy things around here.  We are just a tad different to most people, I think. 
 We limit our TV (when I’m consistent), and rec soccer stressed me out this year.  I don’t feel the need to go to every single social gathering I know of; we like to be at home with our little family. 
Not saying our way is the best, or the only way, but it is our way.  Y’all know we plan on homeschooling our kiddos, and even though they won’t say it, I know most people are a little startled (or completely freaked out) by that as well.
And I know this is not a homeschooling/family blog (although I think I’m going to start one of those as well), but you had to see this one “different” thing we do.
At random times throughout the year, and now through our school year, I basically dump a bunch of stuff in a tub and deem it a “sensory bin.”
What’s a sensory bin, you ask??  Well, stick around.  Might blow your mind, I tell you.
Plus, it’s just fun for those of you with kids…even older kids…you would be surprised.  Okay, maybe your 18 year old might not join in… 

Head to your crafting spot.  Since my craft table typically has something drying on it from my paint saga, I usually head to our dining room (which boasts the only fall decor in the house right now).

I definitely included dried beans, which are one of the best things to put in a sensory bin, and as you can see, I use dried beans and pasta all over the place as decor fillers….especially in the Fall!  I grabbed all of this from the Dollar Tree for about 6 bucks.

This is actually a picture of our year-round bin….dried penne, macaroni, and rice.  Grab all the scooping, bulldozing, sorting, pouring “tools” you can think of.

As you can see, most of these were “given” to me by local restaurants and Grayson’s toy bins.
Here’s our Fall version:

Sensory bins are all about exposing your kiddos to texture, color, pattern, shape…pretty much everything you can think of to highten their senses.  For younger children, fun (and learning) is all about exploration.  Plus, scooping, pouring, transferring from one container to another…these are all developments they learn…and why not have some fall fun while they’re at it??

Our fall bin includes:
leaves (dollar tree–came with 150)
dried pinto beans
dried black beans
candy corn
candy pumpkins (which I have not eaten a single one)
2 larger pumpkins
fall colored pom poms (already had those lying around)

I’m telling you, they love it!  Seriously, younger kids can sit there for such long periods, while they pour and scoop, pour and scoop.  Plus, let’s face it…it’s messy!! Notice, we are outside on this fun, Fall day. 
Just spread out a large blanket or towel and let them go at it.  We are always having to tell them, “no, don’t!” and “don’t make a mess.”  You know what?  We’ve got to remember to let them make some messes…appropriate ones, that is.
Another fun game with these is to hide some of their toys within the pasta (or whatever medium you use) and let them scoop them out.  It totally delights their little minds!  I love watching them get so excited about something so simple!  (Don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but I love being a mom…not always good at it, but love it nonetheless.) 
For older kids, you can add an order to their “find” list…and let’s face it, sensory bins won’t hold them forever.  You might have to graduate to cooked pasta if you pushed too long….
although…might be fun.
Share with us if you’ve done this or if you come up with any great ideas for your kids!!

Here’s to getting messy with your precious ones!

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