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12 Winter Sensory Bins for Kids

by The Artful Parent Editorial Team
January 15, 2024
winter sensory featured

Check out our favorite winter sensory bins for kids. Try snow & ice pop painting, frozen water beads, plus playdough, kinetic sand and lots of winter themed play ideas.

Updated December 2023

Sensory play is so much fun for kids AND an important part of brain development. We gathered together some amazing winter sensory bins that are great no matter what the weather is around you.

Most sensory play setups are simple to set up and keep kids engaged for a long time. Many of the ideas below include items you might already have in your pantry or back yard (think–snow!).

But if not, don’t hesitate to make substitutions. Let these ideas serve as a starting point to inspire your own family’s creative play this winter.

winter sensory pin
Photo by Rachel Withers

Winter Sensory Bins

penguin ice play
Photo by Catalina Gutierrez

1. Penguins in Frozen Eggs from Red Violet Studio

We love this combination of sensory play and science exploration for kids! Freeze penguins (or any wintry animal) in ice eggs and let your children use salt and water to try and free them.

Frozen water beads sensory play_coffeandspitup_ winter sensory bins
Photo by Coffee and Spit Up

2. Frozen Water Beads from Coffee and Spit Up

We love this sensory table set up! Frozen water beads are perfect for scooping, dumping, and creating little homes for arctic animals.

Ice Pop Painting with The Joyful Learner
Photo by The Joyful Learner

3. Ice Pop Painting from The Joyful Learner

Make your own paints by freezing water mixed with food coloring or liquid watercolors. Your child can paint while observing what happens to ice when it melts.

Photo by Scissortales_Schoolhouse

4. Snowflakes at the Light Table from Scissortales_Schoolhouse

Create a DIY Light table and view materials in a whole new way! Try this invitation to create snowflakes using glass beads, sea glass, popsicle sticks and toothpicks.

arctic animal sensory play_thematernalhobbyist
Photo by The Maternal Hobbyist

5. Arctic Animal Sensory Play from The Maternal Hobbyist

If you don’t have snow in your area, use kinetic sand in its place! We love this invitation to explore using arctic animals, glass gems, and wooden pieces.

Child painting snow with liquid watercolors and pipettes_ winter sensory bins
Photo by Rachel Withers

6. Snow Painting from Little Mainer Art Studio

Try this super simple color mixing activity using fresh snow, liquid watercolors & pipettes. Then pull out any little figurines for a fun art play invitation.

polar playdough play
Photo by Andrea Martelle

7. Polar Playdough Invitation from the Artful Parent

We whipped up a batch of sparkly blue and white playdough and paired with some little polar animals. Our kids had a blast creating their own habitats using all the different parts.

winter snow construction bin_littlehandstherapy
Photo by Little Hands Therapy

8. Winter Construction Sensory Bin from Little Hands Therapy

This is the perfect sensory bin if your child loves to watch the plows go by on a snowy day. Let them get in on the action with their own diggers and see how much fun snow removal can be!

salt melting ice experiment
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

9. Salt Ice Melting Experiment from the Artful Parent

If you have a budding scientist at home, this is an absolute must-try! Freeze water into different shapes, add salt and liquid watercolors and watch what happens!

Penguin with snow and rice sensory bin_funincocoon
Photo by Fun In Cocoon

10. Penguin Sensory Bin with Rice and Snow from Fun In Cocoon

Your child can play pretend in Antarctica with this fun set up. Combine real snow with some colored rice, a few scoops and other wintry objects, and of course some penguins!

Photo by Rachel Withers

11. Instant Snow Sensory Play from the Artful Parent

Even if you live in a snowy climate, we find that the process and science of this fake snow is fun and engaging for a LONG time.

Coconut Snow winter sensory bins bin_moose_andfriends
Photo by Moose and Friends

12. Let It Snow Sensory Bin from Moose and Friends

Coconut flakes are also a perfect stand in for snow! Little scoops and bowls provide some great sensory play and fine motor development.

Photo by Rachel Withers

More Sensory Bin Ideas for Kids

Want even more creative ideas?

Check out our Winter Fun Creativity pack!

Cozy up with some of our favorite wintertime activities for creative kids! This pack has 40 pages of winter-themed art activities that will keep your kids busy even on the snowiest day!

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