Make your own corn sensory bin using homemade dyed corn kernels. Add it to your list of corn activities and crafts for kids. But the bin is good for more than just corn-related activities. Use it for a variety of themes throughout the year!
Related: Individual Sensory Bins
After an experiment learning how to make colored popcorn kernels, the preschoolers and I found so many ways to play with the corn.
When we made our first batch of rainbow corn, I knew I wanted to put together a colorful sensory bin with the kernels.
Corn Sensory Bin with Dyed Kernels
We first made this discovery bin around St. Patrick’s Day, along with some St. Patrick’s Day sensory bottles. They were great additions to all of our discussions about rainbows and colors.
Since then, we’ve played with a corn sensory bin almost every other time of the year. Personally, I think it’s perfect for fall sensory play, too.
Materials We Used
You really don’t need a lot of materials for this! Just add the rainbow corn to your favorite sensory bin and let the kids get into it.
If you do want to add a few items, here are some suggestions (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
We used our dyed corn, along with some bowls, glass gems, and some measuring cups the first time around.
Since then, I’ve let the children choose their preferred sensory tools for the bin. It’s always interesting to see what the kids end up choosing.
How to Set Up a Rainbow Corn Kernel Sensory Bin
As I mentioned earlier, you can really just pour the corn into a bin and be done with it. Add in a few tools to spice it up.
However, sometimes it’s just plain fun to create a visually engaging invitation to play. Right?
The first time we put this sensory bin together, I placed the corn in a plastic bin in our math area. The table was wide, with a raised edge. The raised edge helped keep the corn corralled if the kiddos wanted to take it out of the container.
I decided to set up the rainbow sensory bin while the students were in the classroom. This allowed me to talk to them about colors and rainbow ordered.
We sang a silly rainbow song, and they helped me make the corn look like a rainbow. I knew they’d mix the colors together in no time flat, but it was a good teachable moment.
Related: Spring Activities for Preschoolers
Once the corn kernels were in rainbow order, we decided to add some “jewels” (aka glass gems) to the bin. My class at the time was completely enamored with the gems, so the jewels got added to tons of activities.
A few of the kids sat and helped me place the gems in rainbow order on top of the corn. More teachable moments ensued! We discussed rainbow order again, matched up the colors, and observed how the corn looked different when we peeked through the glass gems.
Playing and Learning with Rainbow Corn Sensory Play
Every time we’ve gotten into the corn sensory play, the children immediately pounced on the materials! Running their hands through the corn, scooping and measuring it, and transferring it between bowls.
Related: Corn Color Sorting Mats
Then the pretend play came on the scene. A group of children decided to make a “rainbow cupcake shop”. Lots of cakes and cupcakes were made with the rainbow corn. The glass gems were the toppings for the cupcakes. This went on for close to 40 minutes, with different children taking turns running the store.
Related: Fall Activities for Preschoolers
Needless to say, the corn sensory bin is always a hit with the preschoolers! On top of all this fun, this bin lends itself to quite a bit of learning:
- Color identification and rainbow order
- Counting the corn kernels (as they decorated the “cupcakes”)
- Fine motor skills
- Sorting by color
- Language skills
- Sensory input (touch, sight, and sound)
Have you tried your hand at a rainbow corn sensory bin? If you ever put one together, let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Where to Buy Corn for Your Sensory Table
While I am all about making my own colorful corn for this corn sensory bin, I know it’s not for everyone.
If you’re looking for places to buy corn for sensory tables, I’ve got you covered. Below are a few places you can check to find corn your preschoolers will love in the sensory center.
First, check your local grocery store. Yes, I’m serious! I just used plain old popcorn kernels for this colorful corn sensory bin. I’d suggest grabbing some bags of corn when they’re on sale.
Another place to look for corn to put in your sensory bin is a local farm or a farm supply store. You can find often find feed corn there!
Finally, take to the internet! In this day and age, you can find so many helpful teacher resources online. Here are some possibilities I found on Amazon:
- Bulk cracked corn (as the name implies, this won’t be whole corn kernels)
- 10-pound bag of whole corn (this is often what people put out to feed birds and deer)
- Dried corn cobs (some people use this to feed squirrels and birds in their backyards)
- Bulk popcorn kernels (like what you’d pop for a movie night)
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
Save time and get right to the playful learning with Preschool Teacher 101’s printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes book suggestions, printable plans, over 30 learning activities (whole group, small group, and centers) related to the theme, and corresponding printables.
You’ll find a variety of ready-to-go preschool resources at Preschool Teacher 101. Click the images below for more information about each resource. And be sure to check out the membership options, too.
Originally published March 2014.