Recently in preschool our theme was Around the World. While initially it was somewhat difficult for me to organize into a unit of study, it turned out to be one of my favorite themes I have ever taught. Today I’m going to share with you a foreign money sensory bin I created as a way for my preschoolers to “prepare” for take long trip.
This sensory bin is easily one of my favorites, and a favorite of my preschoolers as well. They were so intrigued by the different kinds of money in the bin. Of course my preschoolers loved using their hands in the rainbow rice, but they also loved looking at the money and counting it. I kept this sensory bin out for the duration of the Around the World theme because of its popularity.
Materials for foreign money sensory bin
- any kind of dry sensory filler
- a variety of foreign money
- small coin purses (preferably collected for different countries)
The set-up is simple. Pour your dry filler into the sensory tub and add some foreign money and a few money purses. I used money left over from various trips my husband and I had taken, but you can also purchase collectible notes and coins. I recommend any of the following based on their reviews.
Books we read
Reading picture books is such an integral part to any theme. These are some we read as part of our Around the World theme.
I offered the foreign money sensory bin during free center time. Because of the nature of the contents, I limited the sensory bin to only two children at a time. I wasn’t worried about the money being pocketed, but I was worried about the bills being crumpled or torn. Since the money used was from trips I’d taken, the money didn’t just have monetary value but also sentimental value.
The preschoolers immediately set of work looking for “hidden” coins and picking them out of the filler. They used a magnifying glass to look closely at the details of each coin. It quickly became a challenge to find as many different kinds of coins as possible.
The preschoolers also counted the coins and placed them safely into coin purses. There was a little dramatic play that took place at the sensory bin as the children them pretended to buy purely imaginary items and used the foreign money to exchange with one another for the item purchased.
And this is how the 18 month old enjoys a sensory bin. Luckily by this point the preschoolers had placed all the coins into the two coin purses, so sweeping up the spilled rice was a breeze.
I was so pleased with the outcome of this sensory bin, and it turned out to be the perfect way to kick off our Around the World theme. Be sure to keep following, though, as the next few days will I’ll share with you more Around the World activities!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.