A sensory bin activity for toddlers and preschoolers with a St. Patrick’s Day twist
Looking for a fun St. Patrick’s Day project to do with your toddler or preschooler? This Pots of Gold sensory bin activity is great to encourage creative and independent play. It’s easy to set-up and easy to clean which makes it an ideal activity for busy mamas.
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Why I Love My Sensory Bin Table
At the beginning of the pandemic, I found myself stuck at home with a rambunctious two-year-old and a new baby. My idea of a relaxing maternity leave full of snuggles and bonding with my newborn flew out the window when our daycare closed and my two-year-old was home for the duration of my leave.
OF COURSE I enjoyed getting to spend extra time with my daughter.
But I just WASN’T PREPARED.
I had anticipated keeping her home a couple of days a week, doing some fun activities, visiting friends, getting outside. Then, we were basically stuck at home, stuck inside (it was a COLD spring), couldn’t have visitors, couldn’t go visiting. I had to scramble to come up with fun things to do with my two-year-old while taking care of a newborn.
Then I discovered the Ikea Filsat table and it felt like my prayers had been answered.
I am so in love with this awesome sensory play, activity table. Not only does it look cute, but it’s easy to clean, Plus, my daughter can play with all kinds of fun sensory materials using the bins that fit into the table, WITHOUT making a huge mess all over the kitchen!
Pots of Gold Sensory Play for St. Patrick’s Day
I’m kind of new to sensory bin play but I love coming up with fun-themed activities for my preschooler to do.
This St. Patrick’s Day-themed sensory play involves mini pots, filled with different sensory materials to resemble leprechaun gold.
My three year old loved dumping out the leprechaun gold, scooping it up, and transferring it to different containers.
Materials for Pots of Gold Sensory Play for St. Patrick’s Day:
I am including links to materials for your convenience but I found most of our supplies at the Dollar Tree!
- Large bin (we used Ikea Trofast bins which fit into our Filsat table but if you don’t have a sensory table, any large container like this one will work)
- Mini black pots
- Pipe cleaners
- Wooden beads
- Mini foam balls
- Mesh tubing
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Cups and/or bowls
Many of these supplies are optional – you can use whatever you have around the house which makes it easy!
I used colored rice, colored beans, and mini yellow foam balls for the pretend gold inside each pot. Some other options you could try are:
Keep in mind that this is an activity for preschoolers and older toddlers who are able to differentiate between food and other materials. Only do this sensory bin with a child who does not put unsafe items in his or her mouth!
How to Set Up Your St. Patrick’s Day Pots of Gold Sensory Play Bins
1. Pipe Cleaner Rainbows
Before we set up our Pots of Gold sensory bin, my daughter and I made rainbows out of pipe cleaners and wooden beads. You can’t have a pot of gold without a rainbow!
This was a fun activity and my daughter impressed me with her fine motor skills. She slipped the beads onto the pipe cleaners like a total pro!
I added some white playdoh to the ends to make the rainbow stand up inside the sensory bin.
2. Leprechaun Gold
Next, I prepped my materials to use for the leprechaun gold. I had mini gold foam balls, rice, and beans. I dyed the rice and beans using yellow food coloring to make them look more like gold.
Other fun materials you could use for leprechaun gold are gemstones, marbles, pasta, and cereal.
3. Fill Your St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin
I used green felt at the bottom of my Pots of Gold sensory bin to represent grass. For an added sensory experience, I cut up pieces from green mesh tubing as pieces of grass.
Then, I added our wooden bead rainbows and the black pots filled with different types of leprechaun gold.
4. Add Sensory Play Tools
In another bin, I put all kinds of tools to play with the leprechaun gold. Some of my favorite tools for sensory bin play are funnels, measuring spoons, measuring cups, scoopers, and assorted containers.
5. Let Your Children Get Busy Playing with the Pots of Gold
My daughter had a great time with this St. Patrick’s Day-themed sensory play activity. She started out emptying out each pot of gold by using a spoon to scoop out the gold.
Eventually, she mixed everything together and spent a while transferring it from one container to another.
She decided she wanted more colors, so she ended up taking apart the rainbows we had made earlier to add the beads to her leprechaun gold.
Finally, she ended the activity by playing one of her favorite games: Food Delivery. I call her “restaurant” and order some “food”, then she packs it up and delivers it to me.
Final Thoughts on Pots of Gold Sensory Play for St. Patrick’s Day
Our St. Patty’s themed sensory bin was a big success! I have definitely been a victim of activities that take a lot of work to set up, only to have my preschooler play with it for 0.05 seconds.
Luckily, the Pots of Gold sensory bin was easy to set up, easy to clean up, and my daughter played with it for FORTY minutes which is a huge deal in our house!
Time to set up: about 5 minutes (if you have all the materials). If you have to dye your “gold” objects to look gold, it will take longer because you’ll have to wait for them to dry.
Time my 3 year old played with the Pots of Gold sensory bin: 40 minutes (definitely a great return on investment for us!)
Time to clean up: 5 minutes. Clean up took a little longer for me because I separated the “gold” materials my daughter had mixed all together into different containers to use another time but otherwise, clean up was pretty easy.