The Macaroni Bin

macaronibinpinThe following activities require adult supervision at all times. Sensory bins often involve small pieces, so please use caution when selecting activities for children under 3. Let’s keep our littles safe!  🙂 


In a previous post, I rambled on about how my love for sensory bins was born. I am a huge fan of sensory bins because they are inexpensive (or even free, depending on what materials you use), and because there are no rules. With sensory bins, you are free to be creative and incorporate as much or as little as you’d like. No toy I have purchased has captivated my Littles’ attention like a sensory bin. Whether they play with one together or each choose one of their own, sensory bins keep their little hands moving and their minds working!


What makes a sensory bin so entertaining?

  • The feeling of smooshing those little hands into a bin of dry pasta or water beads is a cool experience in itself. Little ones like to touch things, a sensory bin gives them full permission to do just that!
  • The sound of rice or macaroni whooshing around the bin and toppling out of the cup  reminds me of the sound of crashing waves or gentle rainfall. This can be rather calming for some children.
  • Sensory bins promote language. Toddlers will want to talk about what they are doing and how different things feel as they touch them. Get ready to hear them imitate the sounds that they are making as they move the dry ingredients around! 

Check out one of our favorites!

macaroni bin

This was my first real sensory bin. I filled it with macaroni and wooden shapes. Then, I grabbed an empty cup and it was finished! (Yep, it was really that easy!)

We used this bin to do a “Shape Hunt” with small wooden blocks.

  • First, we buried all the shapes in the macaroni.
  • Then, I let Little Boy dig through and show me the shapes he found.
  • Then, I called out shapes and colors and challenged him to find them.


This activity helps toddlers practice shape and color identification while developing their visual scanning and visual motor skills!

Little Girl was still an itty-bitty when I first made this bin, so I let her play with only the wooden shapes. She was entertained and excited to be playing with (almost) the same toy as her big brother!


No wooden shape blocks? No problem!

Throw in some puzzle pieces! Hide the pieces in the macaroni, then challenge your child to dig to find the pieces and then put them in the correct place in the puzzle.


 An old puzzle can quickly be reintroduced as a fun sensory play tool! 🙂


These were just a few ideas, but the opportunities are endless!  If you find a fun or interesting way to use the Macaroni Bin with you littles, share about it in the comments!

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Thanks for reading,



This post was submitted to:

Thinking Outside The Pot

Rookie Parenting

Check them out for more fun & family friendly ideas!

7 thoughts on “The Macaroni Bin

  1. I’m with you! Sensory bins are one of the easiest to make and most entertaining things for toddlers! My oldest is almost 4 now and not really into them very much any more…But we did one with rocks we found, water, and some animal figurines this week and she has played with that thing every single day! She even played with it for over 2 hours the first day. O.o


  2. Sensory playing is so important. This macaroni bin is awesome. Very often, people think that you need expensive toys or messy play to create effective sensory environment for kids to play in. But you don’t! Simple everyday life items are great tools for that.

    Great idea! #RookieParents


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