Preschool weather activities are usually a hit with my students. They just love talking about the weather, observing it, graphing it on our weather chart, and trying to predict what the weather will be like next. In fact, the kiddos never seem to tire of this subject. Already this month, we’ve had a huge variety of weather, so we’ve been talking about it even more. So when it came time to change out our sensory table, I asked the children if they wanted to help me plan a weather sensory bin. In case you’re wondering, the answer was a resounding, “YES!”
preschool weather activities with a kid-designed sensory bin
Materials we used
Liquid water colors
Small blue glass gems
White pipe cleaners
Gold cupcake liners
As I mentioned above, many of the students want to help plan this weather sensory bin. I was all for that! I sat and chatted with the children who were interested, taking notes along the way. The children knew they wanted a blue sky for the background, but weren’t sure what material would work. I suggested rice since I had extra in my craft closet at home. Once that was settled, we talked about the different kinds of weather to include with the bin. On our planning day, we settled on sunny, rainy, cloudy, stormy, and snowy. The morning we assembled the bin, the kiddos decided to also add windy and foggy.
Here’s the run down of the materials and the weather they represent:
- Blue rice = the sky
- White cotton balls = fluffy white clouds
- Black cotton balls = stormy clouds
- Gold cupcake liners = the sun
- Blue glass gems = rain
- Straight white pipe cleaners = fog
- Curvy white pipe cleaners = wind
- Snowflake stickers = snow
I used blue liquid watercolors to dye some old rice at home (all I did was put the rice in a bag, add a few squirts of watercolor, zip the bag and shake). We had leftover black cotton balls from our Baa Baa Black Sheep name activity, so we snagged a few of those. The kids helped me curve and cut white pipe cleaners, and then we were good to go! I placed the blue rice in a basket, alongside a tray that had the other weather materials in it.
How the kids played
As with most sensory bins, the kids first explored it using their hands. They scooped the rice and let it run through their fingers. After that initial exploration, the other weather bits and bobs came into play. Some of the children were intent on creating weather scenes, while others just liked adding the materials to the rice. There was a lot of scooping, pouring, manipulating materials, and pretend play!
By the end of centers, the weather bin was all mixed up. One kiddo was making “stormy weather soup”, while another was content with filling containers with rice. Based on the center’s popularity, this was a hit with my students! We’ve already sorted everything out again, and it’s ready for a ton more play the rest of this week!
While I love how the weather sensory bin turned out, I was most excited about the planning part of this activity. The children really got involved in coming up with items for their play. We talked, made a plan in writing, then followed it through. We even problem-solved when some children wanted to add new scenarios to the bin at the last minute! Here are a few other early learning concepts touched out with this bin:
- Fine motor skills
- Transferring, pouring, and scooping materials
More preschool weather activities from the #PLAYfulpreschool crew