Corn kernels make a great sensory bin filler, and they are even better for a farm themed scooping and pouring activity for toddlers.
Scooping and pouring activities have so many benefits to toddlers and preschoolers and they are so much fun! It’s even better when the kids get to scoop and pour “down on the farm”!
So, grab a jug of popcorn kernels and offer this creative farm sensory bin to your toddlers this fall. It’s one of our go-to farm activities for preschoolers that we include in our lesson plans each fall.
This hands-on activity also enhances their fine motor skills, coordination, and understanding of cause and effect as they observe kernels falling and filling different containers.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, I may earn a small sum if you click through and make a purchase.
Scooping and Pouring Activities
A scooping and pouring sensory bin filled with corn kernels provides a rich, tactile experience for toddlers and preschoolers. Plus, the kids love it so much, they will want to be scooping and pouring corn kernels until the cows come home!
Experimenting with different tools like scoops, spoons, cups, and jars allows them to practice fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness.
This sensory bin is designed for scooping, pouring, and transferring practice, and it fits in well to your preschool farm theme. It’s just the right sensory experience to pair with our Farm Preschool Centers.
Farm Preschool Centers$9.00
Scooping Activities for Toddlers
There are many simple, quick, and fun scooping and pouring activities for toddlers! Here are some tried and true classics with materials that you probably already have on hand:
- Sensory table- Use a variety of fillers like beans, rice, coffee, sand, cereal, etc.
- Water play- water is a favorite for scooping and pouring and always makes a splash!
- Scooping station- include a variety of measuring cups, spoons, etc. and various containers with fillers and water
- Mud play- scooping, transferring and pouring mud is well, muddy, but also a delight to many toddlers
- Baking- a delicious real-life application using scooping, pouring, measuring, and transferring
- Sandbox- another tried and true classic that has stood the test of time!
Scooping and Pouring Benefits
We know that scooping and pouring is extremely beneficial when it comes to fine motor skill development, but it also has many additional benefits for toddlers:
- Self-awareness: Scooping with a spoon helps your toddler develop to the little muscles necessary for self-feeding and other skills.
- Cause and effect: When they tip the measuring cup, water falls out. If they pour too quickly, they make a mess.
- Gravity: Toddlers notice how the filler falls when spilled, poured or dropped.
- Sensory Input: Toddlers take notice of the noise fillers make when they are scooped, transferred and poured, as well as how different fillers feel as they work with them.
Scooping and Pouring Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills for toddlers primarily involve the development of small muscle movements, particularly those in the hands and fingers. These skills directly impact if a child can perform real-world life skills (such as self-care) as well as skills in the learning environment. Scooping and pouring is commonly the first phase of fine motor development for toddlers and it also so much FUN!
Scooping and pouring helps fine motor skill development in the following areas:
- hand-eye coordination
- coordination and control of small muscles
- hand and finger strength
- wrist strength
Development of motor skills like grasping small objects and holding a spoon are an essential part of toddlerhood. Scooping and pouring activities are key for helping to develop these particular fine motor skills.
These skills form the foundation for self-care tasks such as eating independently or getting dressed. Improving these skills at an early age can help toddlers gain a sense of independence and confidence in their abilities.
Corn Kernel Sensory Bin
Corn kernels have just the right feel for use in sensory play. You can use corn kernels to go with a variety of themes. Coloring them can help make them theme-specific and even more fun and educational!
You can create corn sensory bins with a variety of small toys to make them theme-specific. Of course, farm-theme is a natural choice, but don’t stop there! I
Include other common play activities like animals, dinosaurs, transportation/vehicles, bugs, and more!
Corn kernels will help develop fine motor skills, no matter which themes you choose! So, have fun and get scooping and pouring with lots of corn.
Use Popcorn to Create Learning Activities
There are many different learning activities that use popcorn as the star of the show. I have collected some favorites for you to share with your toddlers and preschoolers:
- Corn Sensory Bottle with Rainbow Popcorn Kernels – Fun-A-Day!
- Popcorn Counting Play Dough Mats – Simple Fun for Kids
- Corn Collage | Popcorn Stuff
- Preschool Corn Counting Activity With Printable – I Heart Crafty Things
Corn Activity for Preschool
Most preschoolers love painting. Well, they will absolutely delight in painting with a corn cob twist! This corn cob process art activity uses a corn cob as the painting tool. It is a wonderful sensory experience and will help your preschoolers explore texture and color, while creating their own masterpiece!
Farm Sensory Bin
Popcorn kernels make a good sensory bin filler during your farm theme.
Corn kernels also offer excellent fine motor practice. Picking up individual corn kernels forces the use of the pincher grasp, which uses the same three fingers that are used for holding a pencil correctly.
You can add any toddler friendly farm toys to make it into a sensory bin. We love adding tractors since they can also be filled like the bowls can.
Other items to consider are farm animal toys and even farm printables, like the animal cards from my farm theme old maid game.
Scooping Toys for Toddlers
Toddlers love to scoop and pour so these scooping toys for toddlers are a great way to practice this essential fine motor skill! Plus the bright colors and fun sand, ice cream, and various sensory textures are perfect for children learning their colors and exploring through play.
Popcorn Kernel Sensory Bin
Toddlers and preschoolers typically love playing in a popcorn kernel sensory bin!
You can encourage the children to put their hands into a bin of corn kernels and use magnifying glasses to examine their shape and texture.
Of course, they will also enjoy lots of free play with scooping and pouring.
With a few simple materials, and easy set-up, this sensory bin will be a favorite for adults and kids, alike!
How To Make a Corn Kernel Sensory Bin
It’s extremely easy to set up a corn kernel sensory bin. Here are some simple steps for easy set up and exploration:
- Place the popcorn kernels is a sensory bin, or on a tray. The amount used is up to you.
- This activity can be done as a full blown farm sensory bin or just a tray activity.
- Set out some small scoops, spoons, and jars too.
- Then invite your preschooler to join you in some scooping and pouring activities.
Since this activity requires small popcorn kernels, it might not be right for toddlers who are still prone to putting things in their mouths. Never, ever leave your toddler unsupervised while using a sensory bin.
However, with vigilant supervision, popcorn makes a great filler for scooping and pouring practice.
Corn Kernels For Play
There are many ways to enjoy corn kernels for play, crafting, sensory experiences, etc. Adding some color to these corn kernels makes them even more fun and beautiful!
Our friends at Fun-A-Day have come up with a perfect way to dye corn kernels!
I love how there is mention of what NOT to do, and of the method that ended up being tried and true (hint: similar to dying easter eggs). Keep these instructions handy when it is time to dye corn kernels: How to Dye Corn for Richly Colored Popcorn Kernels – Fun-A-Day!
Farm Fine Motor Activities
Farm fun can also come in the form of awesome fine motor skills practice! Come down on the farm and check out these farm-tastic fine motor activities:
- Fall Counting Activity – 3 Part Puzzles
- Farm Activities for Fine Motor & Gross Motor Skills
- Farm Fine Motor Activities for Preschool
- The 5 Best FINE MOTOR Activities for BABY FARM ANIMALS Preschool Theme
- Farm Counting Mats
- popcorn kernels
- sensory bin or tray
- scoops of various sizes
- small jars
- glass milk bottles
- Place the popcorn kernels in a sensory bin, or on a tray. The amount used is up to you.
- This activity can be done as a full-blown farm sensory bin or just a tray activity.
- Set out some small scoops, spoons and jars.
- Then invite your toddlers and preschoolers to join you in some scooping and pouring activities. *I recommend that you participate with the children so that you can naturally demonstrate how to properly scoop and pour.
- Model how to properly scoop the corn kernels and how to turn the wrist to pour them into another container. Also model how to pour close to the container, rather than high above it.
- As students play and explore, watch their handholds and grips on the scoop, and how they pour the scooped kernels. Do they pour away from or towards their body? Pouring both directions helps develop muscles in the hands and wrists but pouring towards the body results in fewer spills.
Since this activity requires small popcorn kernels, it might not be right for toddlers who are still prone to putting things in their mouths.
Never, ever leave your toddler unsupervised while using a sensory bin!
However, with vigilant supervision, corn kernels are an excellent material for scooping and pouring practice!
Farm Preschool Centers$9.00
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.