Sensory Activity With Pine Cones in the Sandbox

The sandbox is an amazing place for kids to explore and learn. Adding pine cones to the sandbox is a simple way to extend sensory play, indoors or outdoors. 

Sensory activity sandbox play

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Pine cones are perfect for introducing sorting and counting games, as well as engaging in language experiences.

In this activity, we've added pine cones for some additional sensory play.

This activity promotes the use of developmental skills including:

  • fine motor skills as kids dig and pour 
  • language skills as you talk about prickly pine cones and soft sand
  • creative and math skills as kids sort and arrange pine cones


How to prepare the activity

If you don't have a sand table you can simply place a plastic bin on the floor or on a table. Fill with play sand purchased at a hardware store. Spread a drop cloth under the sand box to protect the surrounding area.

Choose large and small pine cones to add to the sandbox, along with some digging tools, buckets and toy cars.


Suggestions for playtime:


pine cones in the sandbox for toddler and preschool sensory activity


1. Sort and count the small cones and large cones.

2. Bury the small cones; then dig them up and load them into a bucket or toy truck.


pine cones and sandbox preschool activity


3. Stand up the large cones like trees to make a forest.

4. Position them in a straight line or form a circle.

5. Slowly pour sand over the top of a pine cone. Watch it trickle down through the spirals (leaves) of the pine cone. 


Find more fun with pine cones on our Pine Cones Pinterest board.


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