Ocean Theme Sensory Bin with Curly Moss

A sensory bin with artificial curly moss is a fun activity to add to an ocean theme. Include mini sea creatures and assorted seashells to provide awesome sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers.

Sensory bin with artificial sea moss and shells

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Sensory bins are easy to include in your daily schedule. With so many great options to use as fillers, sensory bins can be set up any time of day for independent play. 

The fillers can be messy or not-too-messy depending on the day, and the learning experience you hope to provide. The goal is to offer child-led play with little instruction and lots of room to explore.

The ocean theme in this sensory bin is created with artificial sea moss and sea shells along with other interesting items. It's a great activity for small world play, and only takes minutes to set up. 


Ocean sensory bin

This unique sensory bin provides amazing hands-on play. The combination of the colorful curly moss and other materials invites kids to dive in and explore!

Sensory bins offer interesting play experiences for kids and this one with an ocean theme is no exception. There's so much to discover about the shapes and textures of the materials and how they can be manipulated in the sensory bin. Suggestions are included for alternate materials, as well as how to play in the sensory bin.




Sensory bin ocean theme for toddler and preschoolers


  • plastic bin or cardboard box
  • seashells
  • curly moss
  • sea animals
  • green leafy sticks

End of season sales are often a great time to buy supplies for your kids crafts and activities. I bought this curly moss in a craft store for less than a dollar. It was a great buy and the inspiration for this craft. It is light and springy with a rough texture, making it perfect for a kids sensory bin.

I also found a artificial green plant sticks that resemble seaweed.

If this type of curly moss is unavailable, you could use raffia to resemble the curly moss, or cut up a stiff paper in thin strips. Crumple several strips together in your hands to form the moss. This is a fun strengthening activity for kids fingers and hands.



           Raffia                                            Shells                            



Related: Sensory bin with shredded paper



 Artificial seaweed in a plastic bin for kids sensory play


Arrange the materials in the bin.

  • The curly moss comes packaged in a tight clump. Kids can pull the material apart in small pieces or long strips. This is a great fine motor exercise as some effort is required to separate the strands. If you're using long thin paper strips, squishing the paper is great fine motor work too.

  • Place shells and other small ocean-related toys in the bin.



Under the sea small world play for toddlers and preschoolers


Kids can play independently in this sensory bin. The materials can be arranged over and over as your preschooler plays. 

  • Bury sea animals under the seaweed or under seashells.
  • Make a large pile of seaweed in one corner of the bin.
  • Place sea creatures on the shells.
  • Scrunch seaweed in your hands.
  • Use a small toy rake to scoop up the sea moss.

It's easy for the mini ocean animals to get tangled up in the curly moss. Mix all the materials together in your hands, then separate the animals from the seaweed.


Under the sea theme kids activity for sensory learning


Interesting facts

Sea moss is a type of seaweed found in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, in places as separate as the Caribbean and Ireland. While there are many different varieties of sea moss, with different properties, they all come from the same family.

During the historical Irish potato famine many people looked to Irish Sea Moss as a food source. The practice of viewing seaweed as a source of nutrition and other health benefits continues in recent times.

Here's an interesting video showing sea moss being harvested.


 Sensory Play on Pinterest


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