Easy Oatmeal Sensory Bin

Published: October 5, 2023 · Updated: April 26, 2024 by Sacha — This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure.

Only have a few minutes to prepare your child’s next activity? This super simple oat sensory bin is easy, cheap and fun for kids. You’ll only need a couple minutes and a few simple supplies to set up this oatmeal sensory play activity for your child!

Elaborate sensory bins can be lots of fun when you’re able to prepare them… but as a busy parent, it can be hard to find the time.

The good news is that your kids don’t care how long you spent preparing it, and they can have just as much fun with elaborate setups as they can with a simple bin filled with water. (My kids certainly do!)

I made Rainbow Oats a few days ago and my kids have been asking to play with them every day since. But it can be a little time-consuming to dye each color of oats and wait for them to dry.

For the days when you’re really busy and you only have a few minutes to throw something together, this super simple oatmeal sensory bin would be a great alternative.

This sensory bin features plain, un-dyed oats, and all of the accessories used are things you already have in your kitchen. No elaborate prep work or fancy supplies required—just lots of fun for your kids!

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Are Oats Safe for Sensory Play?

Oats are safe to eat both in their dry form and in cooked form, which makes them a great material to use in taste-safe sensory bins. They are also relatively soft and small in size, which makes them less of a choking hazard than other sensory bin fillers.

If you want to try making your own sensory bins, but you have a baby or toddler at home who still likes to put everything in their mouth, then this edible sensory play idea would be a great starting point for sensory play!

Can Babies Play with Dry Oats?

Oats are safe to eat both in their dry form and in their cooked form, which makes them safe for younger kids.

That being said, if you are making this sensory bin for a very young baby, dry oats could potentially be a choking hazard for young kids who decide to stuff a whole handful into their mouth.

For this reason, when making this sensory bin for very young children, I recommend using quick oats and adding a bit of water to soften them up and give them a more porridge-like consistency.

This will be messier than using dry oats, but at least you’ll know that your baby is safe. (And since plain oats soaked in water don’t taste great, your child shouldn’t actively want to eat them.)

You can also try this taste-safe oatmeal play dough that features cooked oats. Our kids had lots of fun with it, and it’s less messy than oats soaked in water.

How Do You Play with Oats?

To an adult, it may seem strange that children would want to play with dry oats. But trust me when I say that your child will know exactly what to do with them.

My kids love to grab kitchen utensils and pretend that they are preparing food using the materials in their sensory bins. But your child may prefer to add dinosaurs, cars, or something else entirely—which is why I’ve suggested several options in this article.

Required Materials

Here’s what you’ll need in order to make your very own oat sensory bin at home:

Bin filled with rolled oats and kitchen accessories and toys.
  • Bin or container
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats (regular or dyed)
  • Kitchen tools: measuring spoons, measuring cups, small whisk, bowls, plastic plates, large funnel

Those are the supplies you’ll need to make a super basic sensory bin with oats in under 5 minutes. But if you’re looking to extend the play, I’ve also shared some additional ideas at the end of the article.

How to Make a DIY Oatmeal Sensory Bin (Step-by-Step)

1. Pour Oats into Bin

Start by pouring some rolled oats into a sensory tray, or whatever bin you usually use for sensory activities. You can either use regular rolled oats (if you’re in a hurry and just want to quickly throw something together) or dyed oats.

Bin filled with rolled oats.

We got ours from the dollar store, and I love that they have lids and can be stacked when not in use. It makes it so much easier to organize sensory materials like rainbow rice, colored oats and dyed chickpeas!

2. Add Kitchen Tools and/or Toys

Next, add any tools or toys that you think your child would enjoy.

My kids love to pretend that they’re cooking whenever they play with sensory materials like oats and rice, so we grabbed some measuring spoons, measuring cups, plastic bowls and plates, a small whisk and a large funnel.

(If you include a funnel, you’ll want to make sure it is large enough to allow some of the oats to fall through.)

Kitchen utensils and toys on a white background.

Once you’ve added everything you want to add, hand the bin to your kids and let them play. Such a quick and easy sensory bin idea!

If your kids enjoy cooking, feel free to grab any kitchen utensils that you have lying around, just like we did. You can even use it this sensory bin as an opportunity to teach your kids how to measure ingredients while cooking.

Child's hand holding up a measuring spoon full of rolled oats.

But if pretending to cook is not something that your child enjoys, I’ve shared some more ideas below!

More Oatmeal Sensory Bin Ideas

The best oat sensory bin is one that reflects your child’s interests. So here are some more fun ways to use oats in your sensory play activities:

Create an oatmeal I Spy bin: Hide small objects inside the oats and ask your child to find them. You can even add a learning component by asking them to find items that are a particular color, or by asking them to find items that start with a certain letter of the alphabet.

Match it to the season: Add fabric flowers and plastic Easter eggs for spring, or dye the oats red and orange for autumn and add real or artificial leaves. (You probably won’t be able to reuse the oats if you add real leaves, so keep that in mind when setting up your sensory bin.)

Add farm animals: Turn your oat sensory bin into a farm sensory bin by adding a barn, a tractor, some plastic farm animals or anything other farm-related toys your child likes to play with.

Add trucks or other vehicles: This easy rolled oat sensory bin could easily be turned into a construction-themed sensory tray for kids!

Related Taste-Safe Sensory Activities

Looking for more edible sensory bin ideas for toddlers and preschoolers? Check out these articles:

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