The past few months I’ve been on the hunt for fun hands on learning ideas for TBM, especially for Professor Chaos. I few things have fallen into my lap since then, and now that I have them pretty much all squared away I’m going to share them.

First on the list are our Discovery Bins. A friend of mine put together a sensory bin for her son and I thought that was a great idea, so off I went hunting for information on sensory bins. I found various sites that listed ideas from people *mostly preschool teachers*, and I took many of those ideas and set off to make comprise our own bins. Are you wondering why we call them Discovery Bins instead of sensory bins? Well one of the idea comments I found mentioned that in their class they call them Discovery Bins, and I thought that was very clever and honestly I prefer it over the term sensory bins. Since sensory bin doesn’t completely state what we are using it for. Yes, they will use their senses, but they *mainly Professor Chaos* will also have to discovery items in order to match them with an item already outside the bin, or how much rice it takes to fill something, and some other random not really sensory ideas that I may come up with one morning when I’m somewhere between sleep and a half empty cup of orange juice.

Here is a quick run through of what I have gathered so far for our Discovery Bins:
Here we have our large water basin I found at a 100 yen store *think dollar store prices, but with cooler stuff*, and the largest of our two bins. The brown plastic is a plastic table cover I got for our Co-Op's Fall Festival. It helps keep everything contained when the kids are working. I just collect anything that has fallen out of the bin into the middle of the plastic, then gather up and dump back into the bin. When used with the water basin the plastic is placed on the floor first, followed by a layer of towels, and lastly the basin. The plastic acts as a buffer for the floor. So even if the towels get soaked, our floor stays nice and dry. Also here are some of the bags of goodies I have put together. There are various beans and peas, the colored paper you usually find in an Easter basket, various types of pasta, and some fake flowers/petals. These are just what I have for right now, I'm planning to add to this as I come across ideas that seem doable with the resources we have around us.
Here we have our other *smaller* bin, it is currently full of short grain rice. Also on this "table" *it's not really a table...more on it later*, are two wire baskets they were bought to be used when we fill the water basin with soapy water so the TBM can make bubbles with them. They will probably find their way into other bin related fun as well. The water bottles are for when we work with dirt, or the water basin, really anything honestly. It just depends on what we are doing. The blue bucket holds the bulk of our Discovery Bin tools. We have measuring cups of various sizes, some plastic containers with lids of different sizes and color, a couple of squirt bottles, some whisk, sifters, small wooden spoons, tongs, rice scooper, these plastic cutting things used for cutting some sort of Japanese product, and colorful shot glasses. Everything aside from the shot glasses and the bins were bought at a 100 yen store. The shot glasses *that were about 50 or so cent a piece* and the bins came from our base exchange. Taking in account the current yen rate I spent about 60$ for everything we have currently. I highly recommend reusing items you already have if you can, shopping at dollar stores, and your local flea market/thrift store.

A closer look into the blue basket of fun. I really went wild in the kitchen supply section of the 100 yen store. And I just couldn't pass up the colorful shot glasses. The Spouse and I aren't drinkers so they aren't something one would usually find in our home, but TBM have a blast using them for purposes other than what they were made for. And I must admit it is a bit funny watching them play with them and be completley unaware of what most people use them for. I have to go back and get another one though, because I thought I had grabbed six but I only grabbed five. I have a thing about odd's best to just not ask. The last Discovery Bin item I will show you are these little rake/tong combos I found at the 100 yen store. They are hung on our wall using Command(TM) strips *I love those things they make life so easy when you have to uproot frequently*.

Aside from the Discovery Bins I have also been working on Centers for us. My dear friend Karen over at St. Louis Homeschool Resources, Inc. sent me a goodie box full of various items. One of which was a book full of envelope centers. I had not heard of these until we got her box, but I had been wanting to create something similar. While I'm all for DIY projects sometimes being able to buy what you need in one place and put it together just a few things for it on your own is plenty of DIY for me. The Math Centers book she sent us was a hit, so I ordered a few more center books and I am currently in the middle of putting them all together. The above picture is one of the Math Centers, just to give everyone an idea of what they look like. They are so simple to put together, and my laminator ensures that the pieces will withstand any and everything that we *or movers* throw at them.

Here is a list of the Centers we have:

Envelope Centers Math (Pre-K)

Take It To Your Seat Phonics Centers (PreK-K)

Take It To Your Seat Science Centers (PreK-K)

Take It To Your Seat Math Centers (Grades 3-4)

Take It To Your Seat Literacy Centers (Grades 3-4)

Take It To Your Seat Science Centers (Grades 3-4)

Sensory Box/Bin Ideas:

Website One

Website Two

Website Three

Website Four

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes


  1. AUGH I forgot to drop your bag off while I was on your base today. GRRRR. Well, I have to swing by there again to register at the pass office soooo I'll drop it by then. Either Weds or Thurs so you can still use the goodies on Chinese New Year.....I'll put in some of the plates and napkins so you can have lunch or snack on them.

    THAT said... I am loving the Easter grass idea for the bins! hadn't thought of that one. And yessss, discovery bin is much cooler than sensory bin...though ours are pretty much a "seasonal bin" for now. But a discovery bin all its own might need to be created now that you went and inspired me!

    Side note: I bought quinoa today and Bub wanted to know if it was for his lentil bin. LOL Um, NO, it's to EAT! lol Great idea to use the table cover underneath... I might have to get another one and put it under the little table... MoonSand is AWESOME but my carpet doesn't think so.


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