Now that I do all kinds of interactive sensory bins for Becca, I had to really dig deep to remember how I started with her. There’s a picture of 8 month old her floating around Pinterest playing with her very first sensory bin… and sadly, the link is broken because my old blog doesn’t exist anymore. But, it’s a super cute picture, and hopefully the picture alone has given lots of moms ideas. It brought me back to my “roots” of how to start for him.
It’s as simple as sorting your Baby Bees’ toys by color. If you’re like us and have an older child, you probably have a MILLION baby toys that your Baby Bee has “adopted” from their older sibling(s). And then there are the Christmas presents that just never seem to stop, that equip your Baby Bee with even more toys they probably don’t need. So, take all those excess of toys and turn them into a learning experience!!!
Don’t have an older child and an over abundance of toys? Just wait! HA! No, seriously, what I did for Becca was to sort her toys, and then I added additional things that were ok to go in her mouth – like long strips of colored ribbons and fabric tied together into a large knot. Think dog chew toy. Seriously, ya’ll, it works for Baby Bees, too.
So, you’ve got all these toys to sort. What to put them in? Well, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Dollar Tree. Get some of their little colored buckets to help you organize. Then the great thing is, the toys are organized, too… plus they are sensory bins! Double bonus!!
Right now, Grayson’s color sensory tubs are for blue, yellow, and red.
The rest of his toys are also organized in Dollar Tree bins – I especially love the big basket I found for all of his cloth books, which are never organized and needed something larger to just throw them in so they stay off the floor!
As an extension for play for an older sibling, have him or her help you sort the toys. Let your Big Butterfly help you sort them by color, deciding which color is most prominent on that toy. Your Big Butterfly can also select which color your Baby Bee will play with – and encourage Big Butterfly to talk to Baby Bee about the color, and point to that color if the toy has multiple colors on it. If your Big Butterfly is anything like mine, they’ll love the challenge. Becca is all about teaching Grayson things. She’s quick to say, “Look, Brother, this is yellow. And this is yellow. But Pooh’s sweater is red. And so is his hat.” It’s also a great extension to the activity to have Big Butterfly help clean up – remembering to sort the items into the correct bucket.
After they’ve been sorted by color for a while, get creative – sort into soft and hard, or noisy and quiet… so many ideas for using those toys!!
And again, if you don’t have a million toys, first, praise God! (Seriously, ya’ll, I think we have toys coming out of our ears!!) Second, look for things around your house that would be safe that you could add to the toys you do have. Do you have colored washrags? Do you have colored plastic bowls or plates that perhaps your Baby Bee isn’t ready to eat off of just yet? Look for items at Dollar Tree that could be considered “toys” now, and could grow with your child – like colored plastic cups that for now can be a toy and later they can drink out of. Or those little plastic measuring cups that right now they can just chew on, but later they can use in a sensory bin and then later use to learn about measuring. If you feel your Baby Bee is lacking in soft stuffed animals, Dollar Tree also has a million of those… or we could donate a few to your cause. 😉 Remember, however, that with your Baby Bee, less is more. You don’t need a box of 30 red items. 5 is plenty. Ideally, they’ll have different textures, weights, etc, but even if you have five identical items, it’s all good. The focus is to introduce colors.
As your Baby Bee gets a tad older, you can begin providing two tubs to play with, and see if your Baby Bee gravitates toward one color or the other, and see if Baby Bee can put the items back in the bucket. (At 7-9 months Baby Bee should be really awesome at pulling everything out of the bucket, and may begin to start setting things back inside closer to the beginning of the 10th month. Don’t expect color sorting til Baby Bee is much older – for some Baby Bees, color sorting between two colors won’t happen until well after Baby Bee’s first birthday. Remember always – every Baby Bee is unique and different!)
Colored sensory tubs are a great way to keep your Baby Bee happy during tummy time, and encourage Baby Bee to keep reaching for toys, trying to crawl, and practicing rolling!