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DIY Sensory Box with Dollar Store Items

Time for a confession…when I go grocery shopping and they have one of those huge barrels of beans, I stick my hands in it. I love the feeling of the beans against my hands. Don’t worry, you have to clean and soak beans before they are eaten. I’m sure you think it’s totally weird, but it’s actually a sensory thing. I like the texture. Because of my strange addiction, I was instantly drawn to the ideas for sensory boxes I saw popping up on Pinterest. I just knew I had to make one for my toddler.

DIY Sensory Box

Sensory boxes are bins filled with different textures (such as rice, beans, sand etc.), small toys or objects and spoons or scoops for digging and pouring. The options are simply endless.  Sensory boxes can be made with dry or wet textures, use your imagination! When I decided to make my first sensory box, I raided the local dollar store for items I needed to fill my bin.

DIY Sensory Box


  • Large plastic container (I used a bin with a lid for storage)
  • Beans-enough to fill the container enough to hid small items (I used pinto, black and white beans as well as split peas)
  • Small items or toys (age appropriate)
  • Spoons or scoops
  • small plastic bowls

Make sure you supervising during play.  You may choose to play outdoors for easier clean up.  I just sweep up the fallen beans and add more as needed.

DIY Sensory Box

I use my sensory box for special times, like when I have a sick child (remember to wash hands before play). The sensory box is also brought out for time when my youngest doesn’t get to go with the bigger kids and is feeling a bit left out.  She will play for a pretty long time with the sensory box, and my older kids always want to play with it.  I think they inherited their mom’s love sticking their hands in beans!

Sensory boxes can be customized for holidays and make great gifts!

Have your children ever played with a sensory box?

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