Spring and Summer are the perfect time for picnics! But what can you do if there’s a rainy day?
You can always have a regular picnic inside (boring!), or why not create this picnic sensory and letter-sound play bin for your kiddos – for sensory fun and early phonics learning!
Today’s post also contains links to FREE printable picnic food and letters!
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Supplies for Picnic Sensory Bin
- Several small colourful plastic or paper plates, bowls, and cups
- Plastic drink pitcher
- A couple of coloured napkins
- Yellow and/or green coloured rice (see the bottom of this post for instructions on how to make – don’t worry – it’s SUPER easy!)
- Pure lemon extract (to stir into yellow “lemonade” rice to add a nice scent!)
- Fake plastic ants (these MADE our bin!)
- A colour copy of the PICNIC BASKET letters printable (click here to download)
- A colour copy of the picnic food pictures printable (click here to download)
- Optional: a variety of other “picnic-y” type things like ketchup/mustard bottles, fake food, small plastic utensils, small magnifying glass
Picnic Bin Setup
Spread your green rice over the bottom of your sensory bin (we use an old baby bathtub!). Sprinkle in some pink rice if you like. Add your utensils, tongs, condiment bottles, etc.
Put your yellow rice into the “lemonade pitcher.” Arrange your dishes and napkins attractively! I placed some of the printable picnic food on the plates, as well as some little guests!
To make the “PICNIC” letters more durable, you may want to laminate them. By the way, the printable also includes the word “BASKET” for your picnic pleasure!
Onetime was chafing at the bit to get into this bin. As soon as he saw me dyeing the rice, he wanted to know what I was putting together, and when he heard “picnic sensory bin” he could barely wait!
After a little while, Onetime finally noticed the play food and started creating little meals on the dishes for me.
I tell you those plastic ants MADE our bin a success! Onetime had so much fun adding little “ant” touches to all the foods he created and served – including drinks!
Extend the Learning
After lots of time just exploring the rice and “playing picnic” – draw your child’s attention to the letters and sound out the word PICNIC together.
I told my son that there were objects in the bin that started with many of the letters in the word, and we had some fun searching for those objects and matching them up to their letter.
For example, we had peaches for P, an ice cream cone for I, and cookies for C (all on the food printable). Many of the foods on our printable match letters in the word “BASKET” so you could have “PICNIC BASKET” letters in your bin as well if you like!