Musical Sensory Bins
What is this activity?
What skills are being enhanced? What knowledge is gained?
What do you need to prepare for this activity?
Step by step guide
What questions can you ask to promote ECSEL thinking and discussions?
How can you extend children’s thinking?
Explore different types of musical instruments and sounds in this musical sensory bin activity.
ECSEL Standards & Learning Goals
What skills are being enhanced & what knowledge is being gained through this activity?
Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Responsible Decision-Making
- Sensory bins or tables (enough to fit small groups of children at each bin/table
- Different types of shakers
- Age-appropriate bells (or bags of bells)
- Other materials that may make sounds (e.g., Ziploc bags of dried beans, rubber bands across a recycled container, etc.)
- Device for playing music
- Prepare for this activity by collecting all necessary materials for the sensory bins. Get creative! There are so many classroom materials that can be experimented with to make sound. Ensure that all materials in the sensory bin are age-appropriate and are not a choking hazard for children.
- Set up each sensory bin/table in preparation for the activity by placing a selection of the materials collected inside.
- Introduce this activity at circle time by sharing that the class will be exploring different musical sounds.
- On your classroom music device, play different types of sounds including shakers, bells, other percussive instruments, and handmade instruments.
- Connect each sound to the four basic emotions (e.g., the sound of the bells makes me feel happy).
- Next, divide children into small groups and guide them each to a sensory bin/table.
- Encourage them to explore the bin/table’s contents.
- As children explore, identify any emotions that arise and provide simple examples of causes related to their musical exploration. Praise children’s problem solving skills, sharing, and collaboration as they work.
ECSEL Prompts are helpful questions & guiding statements you can use to provoke children’s thinking about emotions. These prompts are related to this specific activity.
Use these questions & ideas to extend children’s learning!
Extend this activity by meeting back at circle time with one of the sensory bins at the center of the circle. Go through each material inside the bin and connect each sound to our four basic emotions once again. Provide simple causes for each feeling connected to the sounds.
Use the sounds to introduce new feelings such as excitement. Explain this feeling by saying “When I’m feeling really, really happy it’s called feeling excited. When I’m excited I laugh or cheer.”
Toddler – Musical Sensory Bins