SeaWorld has generously offered FREE passes to preschoolers this year for Florida residents, so we got one for Dee, and upgraded the rest of our homeschoolers’ Busch Gardens passes to include SeaWorld. With our MOSI passes, we are able to get into the Clearwater Marine Aquarium this month for free to see Winter, the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale, and I just ordered our marine science curriculum, Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day — so, time to dive in to our study of the ocean, sea life, and beaches!!!
What better way to prepare the little one for learning more about the ocean she already loves than to do an ocean themed sensory bin. (We actually made two different ones, but I think this, her first one, was her favorite — in fact EVERYONE, even the 14 year old, played with this one! There’s just something about the feeling of those water beads…anyway, getting ahead of myself here…)
Last year, while visiting Bok Tower and Gardens while they were having their annual plant sale, we were introduced to water beads; tiny NON-TOXIC (a big plus), odorless, colorfast beads that absorb and hold water, expanding them to several times their dehydrated size. They are a great substitute for regular soil (or simply as a means of watering) in potted plants — and they are so much FUN to play with! So while at Joann’s a few weeks ago, I spotted some in beautiful aqua and bright blue colors and knew it would be the perfect medium for our first Ocean Themed Sensory Bin!
OCEAN THEMED SENSORY BIN #1
“Big Blue Ocean”
So.Much.Fun! I highly recommend using water beads as a sensory medium.
How we did it -
- Sterlite 15 qt container (16 1/2″ x 13″ x 6 5/8″)
- Two packages of “Aqua Gems” water beads in two different sizes/colors (Joann’s)
- Two types of tongs (Dollar Tree and Walmart)
- Two small square reusable blue baby food containers with blue lids for scooping and sorting (Walmart)
- Blue sand scoop
- The blue animals and diver from packs of “Sea Life Creatures” (Dollar Tree), Wild Republic “Aquatic Collection” (Joann’s), “Whales and Dolphins Toob” (Joann’s), Wild Republic “Itsy Bitsies Aquatic” (Joann’s), and “Funny Squirting Sea Life” (Dollar Tree)
- Shark “Cold Pack” (Dollar Tree)
While preparing the sensory box, please take note that the water beads will take about 6 hours to reach their desired size. This is how they start out.