Raise your hand if one of the first thoughts that comes to mind when you hear “sensory bin” is “No way, it’s such a mess!” (I’m raising my hand!) This post is my number one mom hack for keeping the mess of sensory bins contained. Are you ready for this?
Keep the sensory bin mess contained
Here’s my hack: buy a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth or a waterproof shower curtain. Any time time we have out a sensory bin (or paint, play dough, etc) I first put down one of our vinyl tablecloths. I’ve scored several at end of season sales for $1 or less, but even full price they’re usually under $5. The tablecloths are waterproof and easy to wipe down afterwards. When we use our rice bins, I just clean up all the big stuff. Then I fold the tablecloth hot dog style and pour the spilled rice back in our sensory tub (a 32 qt bin). Any of the rice that ends up on our carpet, I just quickly vacuum up and we’re in back in business!
Teach kids how to play appropriately
One last thing to add. Sensory bins do require teaching “hands on manners” as I call them. My daughter has a lot of practice keeping the mess contained to the tablecloth. When we first started, the messes were bigger (even with the tablecloth). I try to be really patient with her and remind her to “keep the rice on the cloth.” The more sensory play we do, the better she is at this!
If you want to try out this hack, pick out a cute vinyl tablecloth on your next shopping trip and then head over to this post to learn how to make a quick and easy batch of rainbow rice. Your kids will be playing with less mess in no time!