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  • Writer's pictureMade by Sarah R.

Mini Calming Sensory Bin

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

Build your very own sensory bin with this fun activity! The Mini Calming Sensory Bin can be made by anyone but school-aged children will definitely enjoy it! You will be able to use your sense of smell, touch,sight, and cool gadgets to create how you want to have your calming sensory bin to look. Once you have made your mini calming sensory bin, you can place it on top of a desk or table and utilize it whenever you need a break!


  • Newspaper or plastic tablecloth

  • Empty Box or Container (it can be any size you desire)

  • Colored Sand (pick any color(s) you desire)

  • Items such as pebbles, rocks, seashells or figurines (for Decor)

  • Fine motor tools such as popsicle stick, chopstick, wooden spoon or fork

  • Essential oils (optional)

  • Markers (any colors)

Activity Steps:

Before we begin, make sure your workspace is ready to go with all of your supplies placed on a flat surface. It is a good idea to lay some newspaper or other surface covering down to protect the surface that you are working on as the color sand and decor you’ll use might be a little messy! If you need help opening up any of your materials you’ll be using, make sure to have an adult nearby!

Step 1: First, you are going to begin by choosing a container to be your bin. The container can be any size or type you desire! I chose a cardboard box because that’s what I had in my house but you can certainly use a plastic container or wooden box. Think of where you would want to place your calming sensory bin that may help you choose what size and type of container you pick. Once you choose your container, you are going to use your markers to decorate the outside of your bin.

Think of things that help make you feel relaxed, maybe it’s a teddy bear, listening to music, or dancing. Whatever it may be you can draw it or write it out on the sides of your bin.

Step 2: Now we are going to fill up the bin with colored sand! Open up your colored sand and remember it can be any color you desire. I chose white, tan and orange but you can choose to just have one color or as many as you want. If you choose many colors, I wonder what new color it will make when it’s all mixed up! You’ll want to fill up your bin halfway so it’s not overflowing with the sand. Once you pour the sand you want into your bin, you’ll want to press down on the sand to flatten it out. Focus on how the sand feels when you press down on it.

Does it feel rough or soft? Once you flatten it out you may add a few drops of essential oil of your choosing to the color sand! This will help promote your sense of smell!

Tip - If you are using more than one color, open them up one at a time so they don’t fall over or spill all over the place. If you choose more than one color sand, know that it will get mixed up with the other color(s) you choose.

Step 3: Next, you are going to decorate your sensory bin by adding the decorations listed. I’m using pebbles, rocks, mini figurine turtles to be sea turtles, and sea-shells. You can use whatever you have at home. I encourage you to think of a place that you find calming when you visit this place. I find the beach very calming so I choose decor items based on that decision to recreate the beach since I find that calming and soothing. I placed my blue pebbles all on one side on top of the white sand. Then I placed my seashells and mini figurine turtles on the tan/orange sand part.

Step 4: Now that you have created your calming sensory bin and decorated it to your liking, you can use it to calm down your body and mind by using different kinds of objects to make fun designs! I’m using a mix of different tools, you can choose either of these, all or think of others.

The first tool I grab is the mini little rake I had. If you don’t have this tool at home, you can use a fork. I use the rake to comb the sand back and forth or side to side. Then I grab the popsicle stick to draw letters in the sand.

Tip: Some other tools you can use are sticks or a spoon. You can scoop up the sand with the spoon to smell the essential oil. Make dots or swirls with the stick. You can write a positive message to yourself such as “I am okay” or “I am powerful.”

Step 5: Use your imagination in what design you want to make in your sensory bin! The possibilities are limitless. Once you're all done having fun creating the designs, remember to clean up your space or close your container for next time. You can use this activity whenever you need help to calm down, perhaps when you come back from school and had a long hard day.You can just bring it out next time and feel free to add more decoration to your bin or use your tools to design in the sand!

~Made by Sarah R.

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