I've included lots of different sensory elements: the lentils for pouring and sound, smooth cool rocks, both wooden and feather birds, feathers and wool for building nests, different size eggs and egg cups. I've also included a pond / bird bath area where I've re-purposed the glitter bag from my squishy bag table.
The lentils were meant to be of the green variety, but my on-line order keeps getting delayed and the kids were badgering me about when they were getting their new sensory box. So I've put aside my adult ideals of aesthetics and just used the yellow lentils I had already. The kids don't mind and, let's be honest, it is all going to end up on the floor anyway!
With each box I try to change up the utensils and containers included to facilitate different types of play. For the Bird Box I've included the utensils below. The little 'melon baller' type scoop came from a little bug specimen kit I bought from Homebase. They are really cheap and one has already needed gluing, but the kids LOVE them. If anyone knows where I can get better quality ones please share!
As an extra treat I've included a secret element to this box. When I introduce this box I will initiate a conversation about birds: bird homes, birds fly, water birds, bird babies and nest building, and bird food. Where do birds look for food? What do they eat? Where do we find bugs? Oh! Under rocks you say? Well let's have a look!
Oh yes, gummy worms and chocolate covered raisin 'bugs' hiding in crushed cookie 'dirt' for them to dig for and pick up with their tweezer 'bird beaks'. Taste!*
After the novelty of the sensory bin wears off a bit I'll add some other bits to extend the play. I am working on some clothes pin birds to clip onto nests. You may also have noticed that there are no trees in this box - we'll be hunting for suitable trees together in some woods behind my house next week. I'll also be looking for some suitable branches to cut into tree blocks, but that's another post.
*I am not insane enough to leave this out - this bit of the box is for limited supervised use. After meals. I don't want sugar-crazed kids running around my house with tweezers. Just sayin'.
We've gotten hours of play out of this Bird Sensory Bin. The 'mellon baller' grabber toy is a favourite by far.
Also of note - the 'dirt' box was not as popular as I expected. I don't think the kids really understood what it represented. E did enjoy getting his hands in it and eating it, of course. However, on a walk over the weekend we found some real bugs under a log and he tried to pick one up and eat it. I still think the 'dirt' box is a fun idea, but probably with older kids who aren't so literal!