Recently I helped my friend throw a butterfly themed birthday party for her 4-year-old, and while I had come up with a decent list of activities for the preschoolers, I wanted to add something for the younger guests. So I went to my favorite thing ... a sensory bin!
For those who are unfamiliar with sensory bins, they are a contained play area for children to explore with their senses. They encourage fine motor skills, creativity, problem-solving, and allow you to introduce educational topics/themes in a fun way like farms, construction, seasons, and in this case, butterflies.
To make this simple bin that entertained the babies, toddlers, and preschoolers at the party, you need the following:
- a bin or container of your choice, something the kids can easily reach into
- colored, cooked spaghetti*
- plastic butterflies
- fake flowers (I just pulled artificial flowers off the stems)
- tools for playing in the bin: gardening tools, magnifying glass, tongs, etc.
* To color your spaghetti, which is the base for this bin, just boil and cook spaghetti to your preferred texture. I like it soft, as my kids enjoy sticking it in their mouths and it feels nice and squishy in their hands. After you drain the noodles, rinse with cold water and put them back in the pot. Add the food coloring of choice (liquid and gel both work, but you will need more liquid dye to get a vibrant color). I went with green so that it would resemble grass. Mix with tongs, or your hands if you don't mind dying your hands! I didn't have any issue with the color transferring onto my kids' hands, but you may want to test on yourself before you give it to them to dig into!