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Snow Sensory Bins: Must Do Winter Activities for Kids

How To Make Christmas Snow Sensory Bins

Sensory bins never fail to please. They keep kids engaged and busy for hours, and they can be made to fit any theme. (Not that themes are necessary, but they are fun.)

A great theme for winter? Snow. What kid doesn’t like to play in snow? (Probably those who hate cold, but we’ll go with all kids like it.) I adore playing in the snow too. But it is quite cold. And getting kiddos dressed and out in that snow can be challenging.

So we’re going to bring the snow inside. Or at least some pretend snow. These winter sensory bins are perfect for when your kids want their snow fix but can’t go outside. Or for those of us who live where it doesn’t snow.

Here are 15 snow sensory bins that will let you create the winter wonderland sensory fun your child dreams of.

snow sensory bin picture

Why Sensory Bins

Why bother with sensory bins? Sensory play is so important for children. You can learn the big benefits here—> Why Your Child Needs Sensory Play, but the short version is that it engages all the senses and encourages neural development.

More than that, sensory play encourages STEM learning. It builds observation skills, encourages attention to detail, and allows for creative play. Plus sensory bins are perfect for scooping, pouring, and measuring, etc. It seems like an easy playtime, but there is so much going on!

Snow Sensory Bins

Here are some of the best and easiest snow bins to create.

2-Ingredient Snow

I have made this snow so many times. In fact, I have a whole post dedicated to it: How To Make Sensory Snow. This post focuses on how to make colored and rainbow snow, but you can do the same thing and keep it white.

The basics: Mix 3 cups baking soda with 1/2 cup white conditioner. (The cheap stuff is perfect.) This will create a show like material that is actually cold to the touch! (It’s an endothermic reaction.)

The chill won’t last forever, but the snow like texture stays for some time. You can create the snow and add in ornaments, jingle bells, bows, whatever you like!

STEM bonus: Once your children are done playing with this snow as in, you can add a super fun chemical reaction to the mix. Don’t worry, it isn’t anything crazy. Give your child a cup of white vinegar and a dropper and have them add the vinegar to the snow. It will fizzle up in a fun reaction!

Cloud Dough Snow

Cloud dough is fun any time, but it can be just the winter base you need to simulate snow. It isn’t cold like the sensory snow above, but itis really satisfying to play with.

To make cloud dough mix 1/4 cup baby oil with 2 cups of flour. (Use the white bleached kind for the best snow coloring.) Mix it well with your hands and add it to your sensory bin!

This is great to play with alone or add more winter play items to make the theme more obvious. (Scroll down to find the list of add in ideas.)

Shaved Ice

If you want to make a real snow experience, it’s going to get chilly. Grab some ice and crush it in your food processor or blender. The finer the crush the better.

Place the ice in a bin with some scoops and let them play! Snow inside!

Ice and Water/Real Snow

If you want a cold snow experience without having to crush ice, you can go fast and grab some real snow from outside. Find a patch of clean snow, scoop it up and bring it on in! Your kids can play away.

You can also create fun arctic sensory activities by just using ice and water. This gives s fun density experiment experience with sink or float games.

Safety Warning: It is super fun to play with ice and cold water. And on summer days it can be just the perfect activity to beat the heat. In winter it can be fun too, but keep an eye on your little ones. If they are having too much fun they might not realize their hands are getting too cold. And ice water can be colder than you might think.

If you bring in real snow it can be a good idea for your children to wear gloves or mittens while playing. (It adds to the realism of the snow experience too.) Or at least make sure your kids take a break and don’t get too chilly.

Cooked White Rice

Cooked white rice can provide a really fun and different snow like experience for your kids. It is a bit sticky, making it clump and easy to shape like real snow. And of course, the white color helps with the realism. 😉

Cook your rice and let it cool fully. Then let your kids play! If your rice isn’t very sticky go ahead and add a little bit of water. Just small amounts at a time until your rice is sticky enough to clump into balls.

This is great for packing small cups and shaping almost like sandcastles. And it can be great for creating snowman sensory play.

Rice sensory bin with funnel, measuring cup, and colorful waffle blocks

No Prep Snow Sensory Bin Fillers

I love doing the previous sensory bins. They are fun, they are creative, and my kids adore them. But sometimes you just don’t have the time to do much prep work. (Or you don’t want to. No shame in knowing your limits.)

In those times it is nice to have options you can just dump in your sensory bin and let your kids play. Here is a list of fun sensory bin fillers that take very little effort to put into use but still create an inspired sensory table.

  • Cotton Balls
  • White Rice
  • White Beans
  • White Rice
  • Crumpled Paper
  • Shredded Paper
  • White Puff Balls
  • Shaving Cream
  • White Plastic Ball Ornaments
  • Popcorn
The Best Snow Sensory Bins: Holiday STEM for Kids with pictures of 3 snow sensory bins

Sensory Bin Add-In Suggestions

Sensory bins are great with just the fillers. Kids can dig around, make piles, squish, and more. But putting a few extra little touches can really add to your theme and take your sensory bin to the next level.

Here are some simple suggestions for add-ins for snow sensory bins:

  • Small Ornaments (not breakable)
  • Puff Balls
  • Scoops or Spoons
  • Funnels
  • Small Tupperware Containers
  • Christmas Erasers
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Small Holiday Figurines
  • Small Waffle Blocks
  • Legos
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Craft Sticks
  • Bells

Pretty much anything holiday-themed or colored works. Red and green rocks? Perfect. Want to dye pasta to hide in the snow? Great idea! (And here is how: Dying Pasta and Rice.) Let your imagination and whatever your kids are into be your guide.

Make An Amazing Snow Sensory Bin!

Snow sensory bins are a great way to enjoy winter without actually going outside. And they are perfect for creating winter fun in the heat of summer. You can’t go wrong with a quality sensory filled activity. Which are you going to try first?

Christmas STEM and Learning Activities

Nothing says Christmas like STEM! Okay, maybe a few things do. But embracing the holiday season is a great way to get your kids excited about science and learning!

These super fun holiday stem activities are just what your children need to get ready for Christmas and keep their learning skills sharp over the holiday break.

how to make easy summer snow sensory bins for kids

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