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This is How We Play with Applewood Toys

We're excited to announce that we've started a new series, called "This is How We Play with Applewood Toys".

- Each week we'll be sharing different ideas, tips and inspiration, on how to use our handmade toys for kids, including our wooden image blocks, vehicles and figurines. This will be spread out over 20 weeks, with a different theme/idea each week!

- This week's theme was: Sensory Bins!

wooden ocean animals and fish figurines in sensory bin
Wooden Ocean Animals Play Set


Sensory Bins Vary

Sensory Bins are by far the most widely used way our customers play with our wood kids toys. The possibilities are truly endless with sensory bins, as they can vary widely. They can be small and simple, or large and intricate - and anything in between!

wooden turtle figurine and lily pad blocks in sensory bin

There are so many ways to set up sensory bins, and if you're not sure how to, or need to some additional ideas, we have you covered! In our first Instagram Reel for this series, we highlighted a variety of sensory bins, from small to large, simple to complex.

Sensory play pairs perfectly with our wood toys for kids. You can find ideas and inspiration on our IG page, by looking for this cover image with the turtle.


4 Steps to Creating a Sensory Bin

Creating a sensory bin is easy, and we'll show you how in just 4 steps!

Step 1) Choose a Container

  • Any container will do, whether it's large, small, wood, plastic, etc. You can even play directly on a flat surface with no container at all!

  • We have a few sensory bin options available in our shop.

  • We show a wide variety of container options in our 2nd Instagram Reel this week.

wooden kids toys in a sensory bin with scoop
Alice in Wonderland + Little Red Riding Hood

Step 2) Add a Sensory Base

  • Add your choice of sensory base, from rice and pasta, to ribbons and resin letters. There are endless possibilities of materials which can be used.

  • We provide a variety of sensory base materials in our shop, with various colors and themes available. Some are completely edible, like our Birdsnest Filler Mix, while others have colored rice and/or pasta. While these are non-toxic, we try to highlight whether fillers are dyed in any way so you can decide what is best for your child,

  • If your little one is still putting things in their mouths, we recommend sticking with the edible fillers.

  • You can make the wooden blocks pop by adding bold sensory filler colors that provide contrast, or you can use a neutral filler. You can keep several colors separate, or mix them up. You can make designs and scenes with the filler, or simply dump it in.

  • There is no wrong way to do it! Do whatever works best for your and your child. Many parents and caregivers find that designing sensory bins becomes their creative outlet.

wooden dinosaur figurines in a kids sensory bin
Dinosaur Figurines

Step 3) Add our Wooden Blocks

  • Simply add our handmade wooden figurines, vehicles and blocks to the bin.

  • You can hide them beneath the filler or place them on top. Lay them flat or stand them up.

  • You can find a wide variety of wooden kids blocks with a watercolor aesthetic in our shop.

Step 4) Add Complementary Items

  • This optional step is where you can add in sensory and learning materials to complement your sensory bin.

  • Bowls, scoops, cups and tools are always a favorite with kids. Adding books and activity sheets can turn it into a learning activity.

  • Adding other textures, such as felt and resin, can provide additional tactile and sensory experiences.

  • We offer faux plants, resin items, children's books, laminated activity sheets, and more, to complement your sensory play setups.

wooden blue truck kids toy in a sensory bin
Blue Truck + Farm Animals

That's it! It can be as simple or as complicated as you'd like. You can follow these steps and find inspiration on our IG page, by looking for this cover image with the blue truck block.


How Can Children Play with Sensory Bins?

We answered this question in our third Instagram Reel this week. We often get asked, "How can children play with sensory bins? What do they do with them?" The answer to that, is that it varies greatly with the child's imagination. But we've highlighted a few of our favorites, that we've seen emerge as themes in sensory play. Take a look and see if there's an idea for a sensory bin you'd like to try!

wooden circus blocks in a kids sensory bin
Circus Play Set

Here are a few ways we've seen children play with sensory bins and our wooden kids toys:

  • Small world play

wooden weather blocks in a kids sensory bin
Weather Play Set
  • Scooping and pouring

  • Investigating with tools

  • Burying and excavating

  • Feeding the wooden animal figurines

  • Acting out a story

  • Matching to printables, flashcards, shadows, or books

You can see examples of each of these ways to play, in our Instagram Reel. Simply look for the reel with this cover image, showing our bestselling weather blocks.


End of Week 1: Sensory Bins

That just about wraps up our week highlighting sensory bins and sensory play with our wood toys for kids. We'll share a few more ideas throughout the weekend.

If you feel inspired or think of some new ideas, we'd love to hear from you! Comment on this blog post, or tag us on social media, along with our new hashtag:

Next week, our theme will be: Stacking! Drop by and see how our handmade wood blocks and figurines can be stacked on top of one another!


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