10 Edible Sensory Bin Bases List

Today, I have complied a list of the best edible bases I have found for sensory bins. Red, like most one-year-olds, puts everything in her mouth. Sensory bins had been lacking in fun for a little bit because I felt like I couldn’t trust her with anything. We pretty much just played in water, which after time gets old. I had to get creative but we found some things that have worked for us. Here is my list of edible sensory bin bases.

  1. Water– obviously this is a no brainer. We put little boats in the water, dishes, cups, toy fish all kinds of stuff! We also like to add color to our water with bath color drops or food coloring.
  2. Rice– we use this in our sensory bins when we plan to keep them a few days. We use dry rice which is cheap and comes in different colors, which is fun!
  3. Cereal– there are lots of different cereals we have used. Lately apple jacks or cheerios have been our favorites. We like to string them on pipe cleaners. The key with cereal is to avoid coated sugary brands like cinnamon toast crunch. That makes a stick mess!
  4. Seeds– We like this one because when we finish our sensory bin we can feed the birds as well. We love bird-watching in the Fraggle home!
  5. Grains- Sometimes we find discounted bags of grain at a local surplus store. There are various reasons why they are discounted; opened or out of date. We use them in our bins since we really don’t intend to eat them and we can get them for some loose change. This is also one of those bases we can leave sit for a while without it getting moldy.
  6. Coffee Grounds– Red LOVES coffee grounds as a base for her sensory bin when she plays with her cars or construction equipment. It doesn’t taste good so she doesn’t fuss with it much. I also get this base for free from Starbucks. I like the excuse to go to Starbucks! Plus when we are done with this bin we put it to use in our garden.
  7. Cake/Brownie Mix- This is another good one for substituting sand or dirt. We add a little bit of apple sauce to our mix to make it a bit more “sand like”. Obviously this one needs discarded immediately after play.
  8. Yogurt– This one is messy, but it’s fun. We like start with plain old vanilla yogurt or pudding and then add fun colors to our sensory play with food coloring. It is a great lesson in color mixing.
  9. Jello– Sometimes the most fun is adding items to the jello before we play in it. We like to add little toy fishes into blue jello and pretend we are exploring deep in the ocean.
  10. Pasta– The dynamic can change if you use cooked or uncooked pasta. It seems I never need a full box of pasta to make a meal and I never have enough left to make another meal. I end up with all these different shapes and sizes! I decided this would make a perfect sensory bin base and I was right! We sort shapes, fill and dump containers and use our imaginations.


We also usually play in sensory bins with a towel or old blanket underneath the sensory bin in the kitchen for easy clean up if we can’t be outside when we play. We use a variety of containers depending on the amount of the base we are using.

The most important thing: HAVE FUN!

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  1. Just a quick comment about beans as “edible” sensory material. Many beans, especially kidney beans are quite toxic if ingested raw and can cause digestive issues after eating as few as four or five beans. Be very careful which beans you use if you think your munchkin might ingest any.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Brooke. I will have to edit the beans out of this post. Great tip!