Sensory Bean Bin

Every day when the children go outside to water the garden they love conversing about how the plants are “growing”. These conversations began to reoccur in the classroom daily. During one discussion the teacher and the children had a lot to say about the plants in the garden.




Where do plants come from?

 “A garden of dirt and they belong in the dirt.”

 “Out in the dirt under the ground.”

How do the plants come out of the dirt?

“By popping.”

 “No, by growing, right?”

What do you mean by “popping?”

“It pops out of the ground.”

What else can you put in the dirt?


What is the water for?

“Because they’re thirsty.”

Do the plants need anything else to grow?


What are seeds?

“There are big ones and there are little ones.”

Since the children have showed so much interest in planting we set up a sensory bin with soil, dry beans, compound leaves, and “gardening tools”.

While working in the gardening bin the children were counting how many seeds they planted, how many plants were growing, how many leaflets were on the compound leaves, portioning the soil and water, and planting the seeds in the correct spot.



Planting and watching seeds grow is an inspirational experience for children because they see how something so small can grow into a living plant over time. This teaches the students patience and acute observational skills.

Digging the seeds out of the soil helped the children to improve their fine motor and social skills as they worked with their peers through out the provocation.  This type of sensory play enhanced the children’s learning experience as they touched, smelled, and saw the dry beans, soil and leaves. Because young children are oriented toward sensory experiences this exploration engaged the students naturally to learn more about plant life.  This provocation allowed the students to explore plant growth by using their senses while practicing their mathematical skills by observing and counting the materials in their nature sensory bin!


“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

-Vincent Van Gogh



Reference and additional reading:

Plant life

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