Let freedom ring! Get ready to show your national pride with this 4th of July Sensory Bin. From the colors of red, white and blue to stars and stripes, it’s patriotism at its best- perfect for celebrating Independence Day in style with our little preschoolers.
With just a few simple supplies you can create a memorable summer experience that Uncle Sam won’t soon forget!
Stars and Stripes 4th of July Sensory Bin
“From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennesee, across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea”……Does this song evoke emotion in you like it does me? I always think Lee Greenwood always says it best- God bless the USA!
The 4th of July was a BIG deal where I grew up. BIG. We’re talking iconic small town, Normal Rockwall white picket fences with giant patriotic banners boasting their patriotism kind of BIG. We’re talking bike parade with a sea of red, white and blue…apple pie baking contests, watermelon eating contests, lively barbecues with at least four generations of family celebrating together.
You would hear the local high school marching band by day and the deafening boom of the town fireworks displays by night. It just didn’t get more Uncle Sam than 4th of July when I was a little girl.
I have such fond memories of this annual summer holiday. My mother and a neighbor friend started hosting an epic annual Fourth of July party every year when I was ten…and they still do to this day! It is definitely one of the magical memories of childhood. I do my best to recreate this special magic with my own kids….as well as with my preschoolers.
I go BIG with planning my 4th of July preschool activities! And since I value the importance (and FUN) of sensory play so much, I go BIG with my patriotic sensory activities. That is why this sensory bin is a little EXTRA as compared to the typical sensorial free play I normally encourage. It is a combination of free exploration along with some guided fine motor skill practice.
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4th of July Activity Pack for Preschoolers$5.00
FAQ’s About Teaching 4th of July to Preschoolers
Simply put, the Fourth of July is the United States’s birthday. We celebrate becoming a free nation on July 4th. But a 4th of July celebration may not look like other birthday parties preschooler have attended.
Here are some common 4th of July traditions preschoolers might be familiar with:
~ backyard barbecues
~ wearing red, white and blue
~ pie baking contests
~ waving mini flags
Like all thematic lesson plans for preschoolers, Independence Day lesson plans should include a balance of math and literacy activities, crafts and sensory activities.
Try this 4th of July craft that is a music shaker, and this stars and stripes 4th of July sensory bin. Or, make this famous playdough recipe in red, white and blue and set up a playdough invitation to play.
There are so many fun ways to celebrate the 4th of July with kids, even preschoolers and toddlers. This flag mosaic is beautiful and can be a team art project. Make some pastel star art to hang up for a party, or make some safe fireworks in a jar.
Fourth of July Sensory Bin
It really is a simple bin to put together. It is dyed rice in the colors of the United States flag, jumbo tweezers and star buttons to match. To dye the rice, I typically use food coloring and little bit of vinegar. The star buttons I purchased for a few bucks at Walmart.
Unlike other sensory activities and sensory bins I have introduced my children to before, I gave my kiddies and preschoolers a few tasks to try while they were exploring the textures and sounds of the rice filler and the stars.
The first task was to use the jumbo tweezers to tweeze the stars from the bin and onto various sorting mats. I love jumbo tweezers because they are perfect for little learners. Tweezers are an excellent tool for fine motor development. They help build hand and finger strength, pincer grasp development (so important in emergent writing skills), and require focus and concentration.
Sorting Stars By Color
The second task was to sort the star buttons by color. I gave the students some colored foam in red, white and blue to serve as sorting mats. You could have some of your kiddos count the stars that end up on each color, if they are developmentally ready to do so.
Sorting Stars By Size
The third task was to try sorting the stars by size. Typically it is more difficult for preschoolers to sort by size rather than color, and being that many of the preschoolers in my summer class are three-year-olds, I traced the shape of each size star into a sorting mat. If they weren’t sure where the star should go, they could place the star onto the traced version to see if it fit or not.
Beading Buttons Onto Pipe Cleaner
The fourth and final activity I wanted my preschoolers to try was to bead the buttons onto some coordinating colored pipe cleaner. This was difficult for the three-year-olds, but manageable for the four-year-olds in my class. You can also add another task and challenge students to make patterns by color or size.
Benefits of Sensory Play for Preschoolers
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I love, love, LOVE sensory play! Maybe you do, too! But, perhaps maybe you wonder WHY I embrace this type of learning so much? I am going to share with you several reasons that sensory play is just the bees knees for young learners.
Benefits of Sensory Play include:
- It helps build neural pathways in the brain
- It helps develop language skills
- It helps with fine motor skills as well as gross motor skills (Win, win!)
- It often has a calming effect on kids, which is good for everyone!
- It encourages inquiry-based learning and exploration
- It evokes natural curiosity and creativity
- It fosters social skills
- It helps children analyze and process the world around them
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Summer More & Less Concepts Activity Pack$8.00
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With only a few simple materials, you can create a wonderful sensory bin that has several learning applications, all centered in math and fine motor skills, but also celebrating the Fourth of July. Even this young toddler enjoyed it…don’t worry, I was supervising his play the whole time!
Here are some links to my favorite learning activities on my site that are part of my July preschool theme:
- Who doesn’t love patriotic low-prep centers? click here to discover them! https://stayathomeeducator.com/five-low-prep-4th-july-centers-preschoolers/
- I am sharing these FREE lesson planning ideas for your 4th of July theme! I know your kiddos will love these lessons! https://stayathomeeducator.com/fourth-of-july-lesson-plans-for-preschoolers/
- Of course you want some “Fireworks Fun” process art as part of your 4th of July fun, right? https://stayathomeeducator.com/july-4th-preschool-activities/
- Make these macaroni shakers for a shakin’ good time to go along with those fireworks! https://stayathomeeducator.com/music-shaker-4th-of-july/
- We always need more fun fine-motor activities for our preschoolers, right? These patriotic bracelets are fun to make and your kiddos will love wearing them on Independence Day! https://stayathomeeducator.com/fourth-of-july-bracelets-a-fine-motor-activity/
Rules and Procedures for Sensory Bin Play
I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the school year setting up classroom expectations and then we practice, practice, practice! Sensory bins is definitely one of these areas. Over the years, I have discovered some tried and true tips and procedures that make sensory time very smooth!
I start off the year off with a Sensory Bin Rules and Routines poster with clear pictures of each expectation. I “reveal” one rule a day and we all practice it. Here are the rules I carefully establish for my preschoolers:
- Wash hands before you play
- Keep you hands and body calm as you play
- Keep all materials inside the table
- If you accidentally make messes/spills on the floor, clean them up (I have a kid-friendly broom and dustpan set and we practice how to use it correctly)
- Share and take turns
- Four friends may play at a time (this number is up to you and will most likely depend on the size of your sensory tables and your particular class)
Go “Fourth” and celebrate BIG with your preschoolers, with lots of hands-on learning and FUN!
And I proudly stand up next to you and defend her still today…cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land.
God Bless the USA!
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.
Theresa (Capri + 3) says
What a fun 4th of July sensory bin. I pinned it. Please share this on Artsy Play Wednesday (open through Sunday).
Sarah Punkoney says
Thanks for pinning! This sensory bin was so easy to put together, and my kiddies not only loved playing in it, but they also enjoyed the tasks I’d given them.