Best Sensory Bin Fillers: Cheap, Edible, & Seasonal

Do you ever look at beautiful, elaborate, sensory bins and think, “I would never be able to make that” or “I just don’t have the time or budget!” You are not alone! As a Mom of two and former Childminder, I know how busy you are caring for your little ones! And, that is why I focus on easy, low-prep, and budget-friendly Sensory Play here at Bravery and Belonging, with easy Sensory Bin Fillers.

One of the best ways to start with sensory play is to see what you already have around your house. So, that’s where we’ll begin; with cheap (or free) sensory bin or table fillers. I’ll then share some ideas for food and edible sensory bins and finally some seasonal options.

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Pin text reads, Cheap or free sensory bin fillers DIY for the busy mom and there are 4 images of examples of these, shredded paper, shaving cream, pasta and rice.

Cheap Sensory Bin Fillers

Kid’s are expensive, but sensory play doesn’t have to be! These are my top recommendations for cheap (or free) sensory bin fillers. We use them all the time in our home and the kids love them!

They’ll take you less than 5 minutes to prep too which is a nice bonus! There is also the option of adding food coloring to some of these to create a more vivid and colorful sensory experience or to tie in with a theme you’re doing.

Below I share a list of cheap sensory bin fillers that are a great base when you begin creating your own sensory bins at home or work. If you’re not sure where to start with them or want some more ideas, take a look at some of my Easy Sensory Play Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Cheap Sensory Bin Fillers

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Shredded Paper
  • Uncooked porridge oats
  • Shaving Cream
  • Grass / Leaves
  • Compost / Soil
  • Flour (But don’t allow your little one’s to eat uncooked flour!)
  • Small Pebbles
  • Sand
  • Pom Poms
  • Feathers

Pin text reads, taste safe sensory bin fillers for toddlers and has images of water play, jelly, edible sand and cereal sensory play.

Edible Sensory Bin Fillers

Edible (food-based) sensory bin fillers are great if you’ve got little one’s who like to taste-test everything! Although they’ll still require supervision, using edible items allows you to relax a little if they start licking their fingers or have the occasional nibble when you turn your back for a second!

Food coloring dye can be added to some of these to make them look more exciting, for example the cous cous, potato, or yoghurt. I’ve included a mixture of different textures of food too, as some kids don’t like certain textures, so there should be something to appeal to everyone in this list.

If you’d like ideas about how to use these fillers to create cute sensory bins, take a look at my Edible Sensory Play Ideas post or my Ocean Sensory Bin.

Edible (Food-based) Sensory Bin Fillers

  • Jelly
  • Cheerios cereal
  • Rice Crispies cereal
  • Weetabix cereal
  • Yoghurt
  • Custard
  • Water
  • Cous Cous
  • Peas (not frozen if you’re little one is going to taste them!)
  • Mashed Potato (add food coloring to make it interesting!)
  • Mashed Bananna
  • Mashed sweet potato
  • Angel Delight or ‘Pudding’ if you’re from the US
  • Homemade Edible Playdough
  • Cooked Spaghetti (with food dye)
  • Icing Sugar

Pin text reads, Seasonal sensory bin filler ideas for tots and there are images of fall leaves, pinecones, snow, and daisies.

Seasonal Sensory Bin Fillers

The different seasons provide great fillers for us that are natural and interesting. These can often be found in your backyard or garden and used for free! I’ve listed just a handful below, but you’ll probably come up with more as you start to look out for them each season.

Summer Ideas

  • Daisies
  • Dandelion flowers
  • Grass / Leaves
  • Sea Shells

Autumn Ideas

  • Fallen Leaves of different colors
  • Acorns
  • Pinecones

Winter Ideas

  • Snow
  • Ice

Spring Ideas

  • Daffodils
  • Soil for a planting sensory bin

You may also like:

Summer Sensory Play Ideas

Autumn Sensory Play Activities

Winter Sensory Bins

Spring Sensory Play Ideas

Kid’s Don’t Need Perfect!

As Moms there can be so much pressure to get everything just right and almost perfect for our kids, but our kids don’t need perfect to be happy and to learn. Sometimes a simple sensory play activity, using easy to find, cheap, fillers like these can lead to the best playtimes. If you’d like to see more ideas like these, Take a look at my Sensory Play Posts here.