Simple Set Up Earth Day Sensory Bins

Simple Set Up Earth Day Sensory Bins

Are you looking for some fun and simple Earth Day sensory bin ideas? Well, you are in luck because today I am sharing two new bin ideas. Not only were these sensory bins ones that my little learners LOVED but best of all, they were quick and easy for me to set up (we like to call those sensory bin wins around here).

earth day sensory bins

Ocean Clean-Up Sensory Bin

The first sensory bin is all about cleaning up the ocean. During Earth Day we talk a lot about how we can work together to take care of our world, and this sensory bin gives littles the chance to take care of their own little ocean. 

Setting Up

ocean clean up sensory bin preschool

Since there is liquid involved, this is a great activity to set up outside on a sunny day! To prepare this simple sensory bin, I first filled up my bin with water. Then, I added ocean-themed objects and items for pollution. Some of the things I used in my ocean were: 

  • Water beads (disclaimer: please do your research before deciding if they are safe to use with your littles)
  • Pebbles
  • Rubber Fish (found at Target)
  • Plastic Fish (from the Dollar Tree) 
  • Ripped up pieces of paper and plastic for trash
  • Fishing poles (found at Dollar Tree) 
  • Bowls and Trash Cans for clean up 


Cleaning the Ocean Sensory Play

Once our little oceans were set up, I let the kids go to town using their fishing poles (and sometimes fingers) to scoop the trash out of the water. If you don’t have fishing poles for kids to use, you could also have them use tongs or jumbo kid tweezers. This is great for their fine motor skills! 

ocean clean up sensory bin

My little learners had so much fun cleaning up their oceans and saving the fish! As they played, they sorted the trash and we talked about what could be recycled and what couldn’t. 

earth day sensory bin

Extending the Sensory Bin 

This activity opened up lots of discussions on the importance of keeping your ocean and beach clean because our sea creature friends do not like trash! 

ocean clean up sensory bin

Since we live near the beach, my little ones made lots of connections to their own experiences. If you are in a more landlocked location, you could print out some real-life photos to show as examples of what we do and don’t want our oceans and beaches to look like. 

Trash Sorting Sensory Bin 

Our second simple sensory bin is all about sorting: sorting colors and sorting trash. Since I have been working with my littles on identifying and grouping colors, I thought I could tie it into this fun Earth Day sensory bin. 

trash sorting sensory bin

Trash Sorting Sensory Bin Set Up

To get started I filled my sensory bin with green-colored rice to be the filler. Since we are working on the colors red, blue, and green I used pom poms in those colors for my trash. You could also use ripped-up paper or any other small manipulatives. 

trash sorting sensory bin

I then set out some spoons, tweezers, a dump truck (“trash truck”), and mini Dollar Tree trash cans in red, green, and blue. 

Trash Sorting Sensory Play

Using their spoons and trash trucks little ones sorted the pom poms by color and put them in the matching trash can. 

trash sorting sensory bin

After sorting the colors,  I like to keep this sensory bin pretty open-ended and just let the kids have fun and explore. Their favorite thing was filling the spoons up with rice and shoveling them into the trash cans.

Extending the Sorting Sensory Bin

Aside from working on fine motor and colors, you could practice number skills by counting how many of each color pom-pom they found.

Wanting to talk more about the importance of sorting our waste? The book The Three R’s teaches littles all about how to recycle by sorting their trash into three categories: reuse, reduce, and recycle.

color sorting sensory bin

Looking for any of the materials I have used in these sensory bins? I have them (and more) saved in my Earth Day Amazon Storefront

Needing more Earth Day activities for your little learners? My Earth Day Bundle over on TPT includes 5 different Earth Day-themed activities for preschoolers (and bonus, it's on sale right now!). 

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