Put together a colorful St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin for the kids this March. Just what you need as part of your St. Patrick’s Day activities for preschool.
I love reusing sensory materials. In fact, I make it a point to do just that whenever possible. The only time I don’t is if the sensory items are damaged or not usable in some other way.
The base for this particular sensory bin came from a pumpkin sorting activity I did a while back. I realized that the colors were reminiscent of the Irish flag and knew it would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
And once the play is done with this bin, I’ll be sure to save everything for another day!
St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin
As I just mentioned, the base of this sensory play invitation is made up of the colors of the Irish flag. Specifically, it’s green, white, and orange dyed chickpeas.
Then I couldn’t resist adding a few extra items to let the kids practice math and fine motor skills. Alongside all of the sensory fun, of course!
Materials for the March Sensory Play
I don’t know about you, but over the years I have really built up a stash of materials! Due to the fact that I’ve been in early childhood education since 2001, I suppose it’s not much of a surprise.
So I already had everything I wanted for the St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin on-hand. If that’s not the case with you, don’t worry! Take stock of what you DO have and make adjustments as needed.
Here’s what I used:
- Chickpeas (dry)
- Liquid watercolors (green, orange, and pearl/white)
- Round metal tray
- Plastic gold coins
- Shamrock mini erasers
- Small plastic cauldrons
- Kid-friendly tweezers
- Wooden 10-frame
Again, if you don’t have the exact same items just make some tweaks to use what you have. Unless you’re looking for an excuse to get a few more things. In which case, you have it now!
How to Assemble the St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin
There’s not too much to putting this sensory tray together, really. Especially if you’re using sensory fillers that are all ready to go, like I did.
First, dye or paint your dry chickpeas and let them dry. See how I did it below.
Grab a tray or bin. This time around, I thought it would be fun to use a round, metal serving tray. Just because. You can use whatever works best for you!
Pour the dyed chickpeas into the tray or bin. Spread them around evenly.
Related: St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bottles
Then place a few black cauldrons out, if you’re using them. I thought it would be a nice way to invite kids to sort, scoop, or pour.
Next, add in the plastic gold coins. I spaced them around somewhat evenly. Mostly because I just wanted it to look nice. You can also simply place the coins in a stack near the bin.
After that, pop in some shamrock mini erasers. You can use shamrock beads, little cookie cutters, or hole-punched shamrocks instead.
Finally, add the child-friendly tweezers next to the bin, along with a ten frame. These are optional, but I feel like they invite the kids to go in a few different directions with the St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin.
How to Dye Chickpeas
At this point in time, you’ve probably seen dyed chickpeas used in a wide variety of sensory invitations. So you might already have your own preferred way of coloring the dry garbanzo beans.
Can I let you in on a little secret? My friend Dyan from And Next Comes L was the first person to share how to dye your own rainbow chickpeas years ago. It caught on and has taken the sensory world (especially on Instagram) by storm!
I’ve used chickpeas in sensory bins before, and I’ve colored them in different ways. But for the St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin I followed Dyan’s directions. Super easy, and super quick to dry.
Playing and Learning with the Sensory Bin
Once you have everything assembled, it’s time to let the kids get into the sensory play fun!
This is an open-ended invitation to play, so you may see a variety of activities take place in your St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I love sensory bins so much. The kids can explore based on their own interests, needs, and abilities.
The kids might decide to gather up all of the gold coins. Perhaps they’ll use the tweezers to place them into one of the cauldrons, making their own pots of gold!
Related: Individual Sensory Bins
The mini erasers might get collected and sorted, too. The children might even try to make patterns using the shamrocks and gold coins.
Lots of pouring and scooping will probably take place, using both hands and cauldrons. Some children might even focus on running their hands through the chickpeas. The garbanzo beans have a fun texture, and they make an interesting sound when moved around.
The 10-frame might see some use too. It’s interesting to observe how children the ten frame. Some might count and add one item to each spot on the frame, stack mini erasers, or mix and match the erasers with the coins.
No matter what they do, the kids are definitely learning! Here are some concepts they might be practicing with the St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin:
- Sensory input (sight, sound, touch)
- Fine motor skills
- One-to-one correspondence
Other Ideas for the St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin
As with all sensory bins, you can adjust this one as you see fit. I happened to like the setup of this one, but maybe you want to take your own in a different direction.
So I thought I would suggest a few ways you can change this bin:
- Use just green chickpeas. That way, the dyeing process is simpler for you!
- Add different sensory tools. Scoops and funnels would be a great fit for this one.
- Add some magnetic letters into the mix. You can add the whole alphabet, letters from the kids’ names, or letters to make words like “shamrock.”
How do you think your students will engage with the St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
Having been a preschool teacher for many years myself, I know just how hard it can be to plan meaningful lessons week after week. And that’s why we created Preschool Teacher 101, to provide full and comprehensive lesson plans for teachers like you!
Click on the images below to learn more about some of our amazing St. Patrick’s Day lesson plans!
Make sure to join the waiting list to become a member of The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101! A membership will give you regular access to our great products. In the meantime, check out some of our other St. Patrick’s Day resources below.