Looking for an easy kids activity? Try this flower soup outdoor sensory bin. Using old flowers and water, this simple activity comes together in just seconds, but holds little attention spans much longer.
What is a flower soup sensory bin?
“Soup” might be a deceiving term for this style of sensory bin. No one is eating this. No one serves this as an appetizer. It’s a term for water-based sensory play that far pre-dates my time on the Internet.
I’m not sure I could have come up with a better term than “sensory soup” for this style of activity so I’ll close my typing-mouth and be thankful someone deemed this “soup,” and the rest of us have continued that tradition.
What an intro.
Welcome to my flower soup sensory bin.
Where flowers are played with in water. “Soups” are created. Imaginations are utilized. Memories are made.
RELATED: Need more ideas for outdoor play? Check out my list of outdoor activities for all ages.
- Old flowers
- Kitchen tools like scoops, bowls, and colanders
- Storage container (I’m using a 28 quart bin from Target)
Let’s talk about old flowers:
Do not throw away bouquets as they start to go bad. Use them for this activity (or other flower based sensory ideas).
No flowers at home? The grocery store sells flowers past their dates for cheap. Sometimes they’ll give you ones they can’t sell for free. Talk to the florist or another local flower shop to see if they have old unusable flowers.
How-to create a flower soup sensory bin
This is an easy one to set-up. You will love how fast this comes together (it’s why this is one of my favorite activities for kids).
- Put the flowers in a storage container.
- Get the tools ready that you’ll be letting the kids use.
- Add water.
THAT’S IT. Don’t let anyone tell you that kids activities are complicated, time consuming, or not worth it. In the time it would take you to throw out the flowers, you instead put them in a bin and added water.
Now you get to sit back and enjoy some kid-focused time where they aren’t asking you 47 “…but why…” questions.
Here’s what kids are learning when they make flower soup
Flower soup looks beautiful.
It looks engaging.
It looks like something kids will naturally gravitate to.
All that and it packs quite the learning punch for kids. The flower soup sensory bin is full of learning goodness.
- Fine motor skills: delicate work with fingers
- Sensory engagement: the water and flowers create a tactile time
- Science learning: engaging with flowers allows time to explore and investigate plant parts
- Dramatic play: using their imagination is one of the highest forms of kid thinking and this activity is filled with it
Remember, we don’t need to justify kids playing by quantifying how much they’re learning. Play is learning. In this activity, it’s especially easy to see all the learning kids are doing when playing.
Tips – What else to know about the flower soup sensory bin
There’s a few final tips to give you with the flower soup sensory bin.
Make this into a nature cutting bin as well as a sensory activity.
Don’t rush to put this activity away. Let kids bounce back and forth to it. Add new water if needed.
You can also freeze the flowers in the water so a next level sensory experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
A long time. I recommend only using 1/3 of your flowers to start with and add more later. This lets you stretch your flower allotment.
Remember: stages not ages. This activity is for any stage of kids who are interested in flowers and can safely be with flowers and water. That will vary from kid to kid and based on the child’s interest level. The children in these pictures are 4 and 8, and have been creating flower soup since they were toddlers.
Once my kids are done playing for good, I drain as much water as possible from the bin and toss the flowers into the yard waste bin to be composted.