A scented apple sensory bin is just what your preschoolers need this fall. It’s the perfect addition to your preschool apple theme and can be used to explore a wide variety of early learning skills.
Related: Apple Number Cards
To me, fall is the perfect time for a preschool apple theme!
The weather starts getting cooler, bringing with it thoughts of apples and pumpkins.
I know not everyone enjoys teaching about apples, but I always have. It’s a great way to learn about something simple that most children already have some background knowledge of.
This apple sensory bin is one that my preschoolers and I had an absolute blast with. I hope you and your students do, too!
Dyed Chickpeas Apple Sensory Bin
It’s been years and years since we first made these dyed chickpea apples.
And each and every year we’ve made them, the kids have spent hours exploring them. I’m not even exaggerating . . . hours upon hours!
Let’s take a look at how you can make your own apple sensory bin.
Dyed Chickpea Apples Materials
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- Dry garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
- Apple pie spice
- Little measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Kid-friendly tweezers
How to Prep the Apple Sensory Bin
When I was creating this sensory activity, I knew I wanted a material that looked like apples.
I’ve done an apple pie bin with oats in the past, but I wanted something a little different this year.
Then I remembered And Next Comes L’s Rainbow Chickpeas and inspiration struck! I dyed the garbanzo beans as she did, but I only used red, yellow, and green.
Related: Apple Dramatic Play Pack
After you’ve dyed the chickpeas, it’s time to add apple pie spice and stir everything up!
Then pour the chickpea “apples” into a bin, bucket, or tray.
For our first time using them, I poured them into a bamboo bowl from our science center.
I put the bowl on a tray, along with measuring cups, measuring spoons, and tweezers. I placed a large glass bowl nearby, too.
Related: Apple ABCs
You can add your favorite sensory tools to your apple sensory bin! You know your students best.
How the Kids Played
The children loved the “teeny tiny apples that smell so delicious!”
I enjoyed watching them smell the beans and exclaim how yummy they smelled.
This led to a great discussion about how to make apple pie, as well as different kinds of spices.
Some of the children went on to make their own “apple pies”, while others decided to make “colorful apple cakes” for someone’s birthday.
Related: Apple Counting Book
In addition to all of the “baking” that went on, there was tons of measuring, scooping, and pouring.
The children used spoons, cups, and tweezers to transfer the apple pie beans between containers.
There was also a lot of counting and sorting the mini “apples” throughout center time.
The dyed chickpeas made a fun sound as they were poured onto the wooden tray and into the glass bowl.
This led to some over-exuberant pouring for a while, with some apple beans escaping to the floor!
Let’s just say the kiddos got to work their fine motor skills while they cleaned up!
Learning with the Apple Sensory Bin
This dyed chickpea apple sensory bin led to oh so much learning through play:
- The children engaged most of their senses in this activity – sight, hearing, smell, and touch.
- Math was used quite a bit – counting, sorting by color, estimating, and measuring.
- The kids’ fine motor skills were practiced so very much with this activity.
What other sensory ideas do you like to include in an apple theme?
Apple Theme Preschool Lesson Plans
Save time and get right to the playful learning with Preschool Teacher 101’s printable lesson plan sets.
Each set includes over 30 learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for classroom teachers and home preschool families so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas, book suggestions, and the following printables:
- Apple Number Cards (0-35)
- “Counting Apples” emergent reader
- “I See Apples” emergent reader
- Apple Letters (uppercase and lowercase in both red and green)
- Apple Life Cycle Cards (in color and b/w)
- Label the Apple Diagram (in color and b/w) with labeling cards
- Apple Pattern Cards
- Put the Apples on the Tree Game Mat
- Editable cover and pages for a class apple book
Get Your Preschool Apple Lesson Plans
Here’s my apple theme Pinterest board, if you’d like more apple ideas!
Originally published September 14, 2014