Sunday, November 30, 2014

Winter's Coming: Sensory Bins Revisited

Here in the upper Midwest, our pleasant autumn with its golden leaves and bright orange pumpkins turned into cold, colorless, and eternal winter over the course of a couple of days (much to my chagrin and to the chagrin of our neighbors who probably really wanted me to mow one last time). In the blink of an eye, the kids went from riding bikes and scooters up and down the street and playing in the backyard, to being inside All. The. Time. 

I'm already tired of it, and it's not even December, yet.

Such dire conditions immediately triggered my survival instincts, so I turned to our stash of sensory bins. (Click here for my original post on sensory bins). Stow has been playing with them on and off for most of the last year, but Pink had all but forgotten about them. So Saturday morning, I pulled out the fairy box and suggested she make a fairy garden. Twenty minutes later, she had this:

Kids playing quietly together for 20 to 30 minutes while also using their brains and being creative is the goal for any toy/craft that finds its way into our house. Pink's garden was enough to inspire me to go ahead and put together another bin I'd been contemplating for awhile, Star Wars.

Whenever I make a new bin, I try to recycle stuff we have around the house as much as possible. For this bin, I used the following:

Empty medicine bottles turned escape pods.
An egg carton space station.
Abandoned marbles make great planets. Some of them even have their own cloud cover (which, according to Sky, makes them much more convincing).
My original plan was to use Sky's old Star Wars figurines in the bin, so all I would have to buy is a bag of black beans. But, when Sky went to get his Star Wars guys, they were GONE!!!!!!!! (EDITOR'S NOTE: The only one surprised by this was Sky. We all know that no one stole his Star Wars guys. He just can't remember where he put them). To avert the meltdown that was bound to happen each and every time I reminded him to look for the Star Wars figurines, I decided it made more sense to just buy the cheapest possible set of plastic Star Wars pieces to complete the bin. 

I couldn't find a cheaper-looking collection of Star Wars things if I tried, and these STILL weren't all that inexpensive. It's amazing what this one mom will do to avoid unnecessary meltdowns (Plus, Stow had a leftover gift card from Target, so that enabled me to pretend these guys were free).

In the end, I bought a two-pound bag of black beans (for $1.97) and a collection of junky plastic Star Wars guys (for more than $1.97). But, I wound up with this:

On the bin's inaugural mission, Stow played with it for 40 minutes while we made dinner and begged for it again after breakfast the next morning. Those little plastic dudes are going to pay for themselves in no time!


Day four, and this is still the first thing he asks for in the morning...

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