50 Non-Food Sensory Bin Fillers {Free Printable List} (2024)

We like to use a variety of sensory bin fillers at our house, including both food and non-food items. However, I know there are a lot of people who prefer not to use food in their sensory bins.

So I have compiled 50 non-food sensory bin fillers to try with your kids, including example sensory bin ideas for each single item.

And to make your life even simpler, I've included a free printable list of all 50 sensory bin fillers. That way you can reference it when you want to create a sensory bin of your own. The possibilities are endless!

50 Non-Food Sensory Bin Fillers {Free Printable List} (1)

50 Non-Food Sensory Bin Fillers for Kids

1. Pom poms

Fuzzy, sparkly, small, large...the possibilities are endless, but kids will love the soft texture of pom poms and they're great for scooping and practicing fine motor skills.

Ideas to try:Pom Pom Sensory Bin Ideas|Counting Pom Poms Sensory Bin|Pom Pom Sensory Bin

2. Cotton balls

Another great soft and fuzzy texture for kids to explore. You can also add color or scents to the cotton balls to enhance the sensory experience.

3. Straw or hay

Straw and hay is an interesting and unique texture for kids to explore.

4. Packing peanuts

An awesome sensory bin filler is to reuse all those packing peanuts you might get from parcels. You can also build with them if you add toothpicks or skewers to the mix!

5. Epsom salts

Another interesting dry texture, epsom salts can also be dyed or scented with essential oils. Epsom salts also make great writing trays for kids to practice handwriting skills!

Ideas to try:|Writing Tray on Light Table|Rainbow Epsom Salts|Calming Epsom Salt Sensory Play

6. Water

What kid doesn't love playing with water? Add some color or some glitter or even some scents to boost the sensory experience.

Ideas to try:20 Water Sensory Soups

7. Shredded paper

Shredded paper is ridiculously fun for kids to play with! Recycling for the win.

Ideas to try:Music Themed Sensory Bin|Easter Sensory Bin|Winter Sensory Bin with Paper Pulp|Life Sized Easter Sensory Bin

8. Grass (fake or real)

Use fresh grass clippings as a base for a farm sensory bin or use the plastic Easter grass for an easy Easter sensory bin filler. Don't feel limited to farm or Easter bins as there are lots of other ways to try grass as a sensory bin filler!

9. Leaves (fake or real)

Fall is the perfect time to use leaves as a sensory bin filler since they're so colorful.

10. Water beads

If you haven't tried water beads before, then you should! They're squishy, slimy, bouncy balls of fun. The giant water beads are lots of fun too!

Ideas to try:Earth Inspired Sensory Bin|Winter Sensory Bin on Light Table|Arctic Small World Sensory Bin|Water Bead Seaside Sensory Tub|Frozen Water Beads Sensory Bin|Glow in the Dark Water Beads

11. Sand

You can try colored sand or regular sand as a sensory bin filler. It's a perfect base for an ocean themed sensory bin!

Ideas to try:Spring Craft Sand Sensory Bin|Sand & Rock Sensory Box|Digging for Shark Tooth Fossils Sensory Bin

12. Kinetic sand

It's no secret we love kinetic sand. If your kids don't enjoy the texture of sand, then they will likely prefer this alternative. It doesn't stick to hands like sand does. Plus, it can be molded and shaped like play dough.

Ideas to try:35 Kinetic Sand Activities|Kinetic Sand Activities

13. Aquarium gravel

These colorful little rocks are a neat texture for kids to explore.

Ideas to try:Teeny Tiny Ocean Small World Activity Bin|Pet Frog Sensory Bin|Sorting Shapes Sensory Bin|Space Themed Sensory Tub

14. Rocks

My boys love playing with rocks! So go on a scavenger hunt, collect some rocks, and make a sensory bin with them.

Ideas to try:Simple Rock Sensory Bin|Rock Sensory Bin|Construction Themed Rock Sensory Bin

15. Glass stones

These round, flat marbles are so versatile. They're especially great for sensory bins on the light table. They have a cool, smooth texture that my kids absolutely love.

Ideas to try:Rainbow Stone Soup|St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin|Watermelon Soap Foam

16. Buttons

Buttons come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures, making them a great sensory bin filler.

Ideas to try:Buttons Soup|Button Sensory Bin|Buttons & Eggs|Button Water Play

17. Ice

Brrrr! Ice is a great sensory filler, especially for winter themed sensory bins.

Ideas to try:Arctic Small World Sensory Bin|Rainbow Ice Ball Sensory Bin|Arctic Ice Sensory Bin|Rainbow Ice

18. Coins (fake or real)

My three year old loves coins. He used to hoard real coins in his pockets all the time. Try using them in a sensory bin!

Ideas to try:Piggy Bank Coins Sensory Bin|St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin

19. Shaving cream

Looking for something messy and squishy? Try shaving cream! It's also great for handwriting and mark-making practice.

Ideas to try:Kool Aid & Shaving Cream|Shaving Cream & Water Beads|Starfish & Sand Dollar Shaving Cream Dig|Rainbow Shaving Cream Dig

20. Play dough

My kids love play dough! Play dough is a great sensory bin filler, especially for small worlds, because you can make it any color and/or scent you choose.

Ideas to try:Play Dough Sensory Mud|Snow Play Dough Bin|Play Dough Ocean Small World Sensory Play

21. Feathers

Feathers are a great soft texture for kids to explore and they come in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures.

Ideas to try:Rainbow Feathers Sensory Bin|Thanksgiving Sensory Bin|Gold at the End of the Rainbow Sensory Bin

22. Dirt

Most kids love to dig in the dirt, so why wouldn't you include it in a sensory bin?

Ideas to try:Dirt Sensory Bin|Garden Sensory Bin|Spring Garden Sensory Bin

23. Snow

We get a lot of snow here, but it's also fun to bring inside to explore with.

Ideas to try:Arctic Small World Sensory Bin|Real Snow Sensory Bin|Snow Painting Sensory Bin

24. Mud

Messy, glorious mud. My youngest loves to play in mud!

Ideas to try:Build Your Own Mud Pond

25. Soap shavings

Soap comes in a variety of colors and scents, but try grating or shaving it with a vegetable peeler and using it as a sensory bin filler.

Ideas to try:Fairy Mud|Ghost Mud|Rainbow Clean Mud

26. Soap foam

Goodness, we love soap foam here! It's easy to make, versatile, and easy to clean up. You definitely must try soap foam!

Ideas to try:25 Soap Foam Sensory Activities

27. Fabric scraps

The perfect first sensory bin filler for babies or small toddlers is fabric scraps. Provide a variety of fabric types and colors to keep it really interesting for small hands.

Ideas to try:Fabric Scraps Sensory Box for Baby|Cloth Napkin Sensory Bin|Fabric Scraps Sensory Bin

28. Baby oil

As an alternative to using other liquids, try baby oil!

Ideas to try: DIY Sensory Bottles with Baby Oil| Ice, Baby Oil, & Glitter

29. Tinsel

Before you pack up all that tinsel after Christmas, try it in a sensory bin. It's really a unique and sparkly texture for kids to explore.

Ideas to try:St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin|Christmas Sensory Bin|Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

30. Ribbon

You can either use fabric ribbon or curling ribbon as a sensory bin filler.

Ideas to try:Letter R Sensory Bin|Ribbon Sensory Bin|Ribbons & Bells Sensory Bin

31. Raffia

Raffia is what I like to call craft straw or hay, but it provides a really cool texture for sensory bins.

Ideas to try: Letter R Sensory Bin|Fall Sensory Bin|Farm Sensory Bin

32. Flower petals (fake or real)

Have a flower bouquet that's about to be tossed out? Save it and try it as a sensory bin filler. Fake flower petals work great too!

Ideas to try: Fine Motor Flowers Sensory Bin|Rose Petal Sensory Bin|Flower Sensory Soup|Silk Flowers Sensory Bins

33. Beads

Beads come in all sorts of shapes and colors! Try wood beads, perler beads, pony beads, or plastic beads. The possibilities are endless!

Ideas to try:Wood Bead Sensory Bin|Pony Beads Sensory Bin|Beads & Stones Sensory Bin|Beads Sensory Bin

34. Foam bits or blocks

Kids seem to enjoy the texture of foam so it makes sense to try it as a sensory bin filler.

Ideas to try:Foam Bits Sensory Bin|Foam Block Building Sensory Bin| Foam Blocks Quiet Box|Square Themed Sensory Bin with Foam Blocks

35. Corks

Save all those wine corks and fill up a sensory bin with them! Kids will love to stack and build with them.

Ideas to try: Cork Sail Boat Sensory Bin|Corks Sensory Bin

36. Seashells

Seashells have such a great variety of textures: bumpy, pointy, smooth, ridged, etc. They make a great sensory bin filler!

Ideas to try:Seashells Sensory Bin|Seashells & Shaving Cream

37. Aloe vera gel

Soft and squishy, aloe vera gel makes for a really fun and messy sensory experience. Plus, it's great for the kids' skin!

Ideas to try:Earth Inspired Sensory Bin|Slimy Aloe Vera Sensory Play for Babies|Arctic Penguin Habitat Bin

38. Cut up straws

Get the kids to work on fine motor skills by helping cut up some straws. The cut up straws provide a really unique sensory experience when used as a sensory bin filler.

Ideas to try:Plastic Straw Sensory Bin|Drinking Straw Sensory Tub|Straw Spring Sensory Bin|Halloween Sensory Bin with Straws

39. Cotton batting

Batting is a great substitute for fake snow in a sensory bin. Kids will love the soft, fluffy texture.

Ideas to try:Winter Theme Sensory Bin|Polar Bear Sensory Bin|Weather Sensory Bin

40. Tissue paper

If you recently had a birthday party or celebrated some other gift giving occasion, save the tissue paper for a sensory bin filler. It's simple and fun, but the kids will love ripping and tearing it as they play!

Ideas to try:Tissue Paper Sensory Bin| Ghost Sensory Bin|Airplane Sensory Bin|Tissue Paper Squares Sensory Bin|Tissue Paper Sensory Box

41. Crepe paper or streamers

Similar to tissue paper, kids will love being able to rip and tear the crepe paper.

Ideas to try:Wild Kratts Sensory Bin

42. Play silks or scarves

Another great sensory filler for babies and small toddlers who are just starting to explore sensory bins. So many wonderful colors and textures to explore!

Ideas to try:Spring Time Sensory Basket for Toddlers|Rainbow Scarves Discovery Box|Play Silks & Textured Balls Sensory Bin

43. Polyfill pellets

Here's another fun sensory bin filler. Kids will have a blast scooping and pouring the pellets.

Ideas to try:Glowing Letter Recognition Sensory Bin|Christmas Ornament Sensory Play|Magnetic Christmas Sensory Bin

44. Balls

From ping pong balls to spiky balls to ball pit balls, you can easily make a fun sensory bin using just balls. Or try making a full-body sensory bin by doing a ball pit! Balls make a great first sensory bin filler for babies and small toddlers!

Ideas to try: Sensory Ball Pit for Baby|Snowman Sensory Bin|Exploring Textures Through Balls Sensory Bin

45. LEGO

Whether you use the small bricks or the DUPLO bricks, LEGO is a great texture to explore what with its hard and bumpy edges.

Ideas to try: LEGO Sensory Soup|LEGO Sensory Bin

46. Sticks

My kids love sticks! So let your kids go collect some sticks and use them to fill up a sensory bin.

Ideas to try:Sticks Sensory Bin|Build an Apple Tree Sensory Bin|Cherry Blossom Tree Sensory Bin

47. Wool roving

Soft and fluffy, wool roving would be a lovely sensory bin filler. You can even get it in a variety of colors.

Ideas to try:Make a Lorax Themed Bin with these Truffula Trees

48. Yarn or string

You can find a variety of textures, colors, and sizes of yarn or string so they work nicely as a sensory bin filler.

Ideas to try:4 Yarn Sensory Bins|Yarn Sensory Bin|Christmas Light Sensory Bin|Small World Stables

49. Jingle bells

Add a little sound to your sensory bins by adding jingle bells.

Ideas to try: |Jingle Bell Sensory Bin| Jingle Bell Soup|Ribbons & Bells Sensory Bin

50. Rubber bands or loom bands

My kids are always drawn to rubber bands and they would love to play with a sensory bin filled with them.

Ideas to try:Sensory Bag with Loom Bands & Glitter|Rubber Loom Bands in a Discovery Bottle|Rainbow Loom Sensory Bottle

Download the Free Printable List

To get a copy of this printable list, click the link below:

>> Click here to download the free printable

50 Non-Food Sensory Bin Fillers {Free Printable List} (2)

50 Non-Food Sensory Bin Fillers {Free Printable List} (2024)


50 Non-Food Sensory Bin Fillers {Free Printable List}? ›

Keep the base materials separate from the goodies. This saves space and allows you to create new combinations of sensory bins. Use zip top bags to store your themed materials.

How do you organize sensory bin items? ›

Keep the base materials separate from the goodies. This saves space and allows you to create new combinations of sensory bins. Use zip top bags to store your themed materials.

What do you put in a construction sensory bin? ›

various construction trucks and figurines. Filled with black beans + colored chickpeas.

What is the best fillers for sensory bags? ›

Fill a resealable plastic bag with tactile materials like hair gel, pumpkin seeds, shaving cream, or marbles. Reinforce the seal with strong tape, then use painter's or washi tape to secure the edges of the bag to the floor or a table where your baby can play.

What to use as grass in a sensory bin? ›

A few spring sensory bin ideas for your base include any materials that mimic grass or the ground like split peas, green-colored or yellow cornmeal, chickpeas, rice, or even decaf coffee grounds! Once you have your bin and your base, you can begin to build your spring sensory bin with some of these fun themes.

How do you organize toys with many pieces? ›

Nest containers – Store toys with many pieces all in the same large plastic bin. Sort each toy in smaller plastic bins and nest them inside the larger one. Keep each toy set separate – You will be more likely to keep your small parts together if they are in their own plastic bin.

What is sensory bin activity? ›

What Is a Sensory Bin? A sensory bin is a shallow container that combines filler material and various small odds and ends. You fill the bin with a filler material such as sand or rice, then add items from around the house such as spoons or measuring cups. Let your child explore the items and have fun playing.

How to dye pasta for sensory bin? ›

Keep adding drops of food coloring until you get the color you like! Add the food coloring and vinegar mixture to the resealable bag with the pasta. Seal the bag and mix well by shaking the bag until all of the pasta is covered in the color. Once it's all mixed, place the pasta onto parchment paper so it can dry.

How do you make a simple sensory toy? ›

- Use hair gel and mix with 6 parts warm water and fine glitter if you wish then pour into the bottle. Add plastic toys such as lego bricks. Put the lid on and see if the bricks move. If they don't then empty some of the liquid and add more warm water.

What do you fill sensory bags with? ›

17 Quick & Easy Sensory Bag FIllers
  1. Shaving cream.
  2. Dry pasta.
  3. Pom poms.
  4. Popcorn.
  5. Dyed rice.
  6. Salt.
  7. Drinking straws.
  8. Beads.
Dec 16, 2019

How many water beads does it take to fill a sensory bin? ›

I actually prefer 1 tsp of water beads per 1 1/2 cups of water. Otherwise, you end up with too much excess water in the bin! Just fill your bin with the amount of water that you would like to use, sprinkle the water beads throughout, and watch them grow! I think the kids are just as fascinated by this part.

How do you make sensory sea foam? ›

In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup dish soap, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring. Using your mixer on high to blend the ingredients together until a foam is created. Put the foam in the plastic bin and repeat process until you have the desired amount.

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