Sink or Float Water Play Sensory Bin

Many toys will be dropped in the bin while the water is also free to help clean your dirty toys off with.
Keep cool with a simple water bin to test buoyancy.

For Zoey’s second birthday we went to the local Dollar Tree as a starting point on determining which sensory bins we were going to include on the deck for her and her friends to play with. While there Zoey loved the fish-shaped water diving toys they had so I decided to help keep them cool and create a “Will it sink or float?” themed water bin for them to play with.

Sink or Float Water Play Sensory Bin


Materials

  • Diving toys – I bought two three-packs so I had three seahorses and three fish shaped toys
  • Floating toys – We had a couple boats already. I then added a couple of marine animal baby floating toys and the two rubber sharks that Ada snuck into the basket.
  • Bin to hold the water
  • A garden hose would help to fill it up but I filled it in the kitchen and then moved it outside so a lid for the bin was helpful to stop the water sloshing out with each step.
  • (Optional) Extra bin to hold the toys that haven’t been tested yet or if your kids want to pull out the toys as well
  • (Optional) Towels in a handy location in case the kids get too wet

I prepared the station two nights before the party by laying out the bucket of sinking and floating toys, the bin lid, and using sidewalk chalk to label the station. Although the kids are too young to read I figure this way it’s more obvious what’s allowed if people are unsure.

The day before the party I got all the sink or float toys together and drew a title for where the sensory bin was going to go later.

The day before the party I got all the sink or float toys together and drew a title for where the sensory bin was going to go later.

I then laid out the main bin by the doorway for easy access the morning of. I also had three empty laundry detergent jugs that the kids’ use that normally gets filled with water that I also laid out in case they want to pour water too. Ignore the water shoes and swim floaties… I wasn’t sure if I’d need them the next day at that point.

I then set the water bin by the door for easy filling the morning of the party. I also had some cleaned and emptied laundry detergent bottles that the kids could use to pour more water out if they wanted.

I then set the water bin by the door for easy filling the morning of the party. I also had some cleaned and emptied laundry detergent bottles that the kids could use to pour more water out if they wanted.

The morning of the birthday party I filled the laundry detergent bottles with plain water and set them on the edge of the plater boxes. If you want to change it up you could always add some dish soap to them to make bubbles.

After filling the water bottles were placed along the edge of the garden boxes for easy access.

After filling the water bottles were placed along the edge of the garden boxes for easy access.

I also filled the bin with water and then added the lid so no leaves would fall in before the kids went outside. This would be easier to fill with a garden hose, but I instead filled it at the kitchen sink and carried it out. If carrying don’t fill it too full as the water sloshes out easily. The next time I used the lid to help keep the water inside.

And the filled bin was placed with the toys. Just a heads up maybe move it with the lid on so it doesn't slosh over your living room on the way out the door. A garden hose would definitely make this easier.

And the filled bin was placed with the toys. Just a heads up maybe move it with the lid on so it doesn’t slosh over your living room on the way out the door. A garden hose would definitely make this easier.


The bin was perfect for keeping the kids at the birthday cool and many of the other toys from other areas were  also tested in the waters to see if they’d float or sink. You could also use buckets or empty bubble soap bottles to transport the water to other areas too. The bin was fun enough that I’ve since brought it back several times instead of returning the bin to it’s original purpose of holding the deck toys.

Since the party we brought this back several times instead of the bin holding all the deck/sand toys.

Since the party we brought this back several times instead of the bin holding all the deck/sand toys.

Many toys will be dropped in the bin while the water is also free to help clean your dirty toys off with.

Many toys will be dropped in the bin while the water is also free to help clean your dirty toys off with.

Though your youngest may fill her rubber boot with water and then complain that it's wet.

Though your youngest may fill her rubber boot with water and then complain that it’s wet.

There's also the case for stolen shoes.

There’s also the case for stolen shoes.


Extending Play


I hope this helps you keep your kids cool on a hot day. I love how it can work with any water-proof toys. Let me know how it goes in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or through Instagram. Have a great and wet day.

Kyra

My name is Kyra and I’m a computer programmer that decided to stay at home with my two beautiful daughters: Ada and Zoey. I created this website to share with you anything I come across in my day to day life that I think you may enjoy.

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2 Responses

  1. June 12, 2019

    […] soapy water, and let the kids go to town with it. This activity was taken and changed slightly for Zoey’s sink or flat sensory bin at her birthday party last year. Since her party we’ve been playing with the plastic outside dinosaur toys we bought for the […]

  2. March 18, 2020

    […] pouring water through the toys while Zoey laid on her stomach splashing at the water in the bin. For bigger kids you could grab a taller bin, fill it with water, and have them test if the water-saf…. This is especially easy if you have swimming pool toys laying […]

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