Marble Roll STEAM Activity in the Sensory Bin

A STEAM activity is easy to create in the sensory bin with just a marble and some recyclables. Kids will love exploring these simple materials added to the sensory bin for some awesome hands-on discovery.

Sensory bin hands-on science fun with bread ties and a marble for early learners

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Sensory bins are an open invitation for kids to explore and discover hands-on. Kids can mix and pour and dig and scoop with a variety of materials and tools. 

  • In this activity we experiment with three different sized marbles and three different fillers in a sensory bin.


Sensory bins can be different sizes. We've used a large container as a sensory bin for a sandbox activity and a pumpkin harvest activity.

  • In this activity we use a smaller plastic container measuring approximately 12 x 16 inches (30 x 40 cm ). Your child should be able to pick up and handle the bin comfortably with both hands.


Related: Marble run with an inclined plane


This sensory bin activity promotes creativity and experimentation. It's fun for toddlers or preschoolers, and even older kids can give it a try. Here's how we did it!


STEAM activity with a marble in the sensory bin!


STEAM = Science +Technology + Engineering + Art + Math (aff)

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We conducted the experiment with three different sized balls: a small white plastic ball, a large marble, and a small marble. We compared results with the different sizes and weights of the balls.

We used three different materials as fillers: bread ties, aluminum foil balls, and pompoms. Fillers should be small and lightweight so they slide around easily inside the bin, and don't add too much extra weight for your child to hold. 


Here are the marbles and fillers we used:
1. Bread ties

Collect bread ties for a kids sensory bin activity with a marble


2. Pompoms

Roll a marble through pompoms for a fun preschool science activity


3. Aluminum foil balls

small pieces of aluminum foil rolled into balls are added to a small sensory bin for a preschool STEAM activity


The aluminum foil takes some time to roll but kids will love helping out with this part of the activity. The effort will help strengthen fine motor skills as kids pinch and roll the aluminum between their fingers.

Kids will also use hand and arm muscles as they hold and tip the bin from side to side.

Senses are engaged by:

  • observing the colors
  • adding the materials
  • listening to the marble roll around in the bin

If you collect bread bag ties, you'll probably enjoy eating your favorite sandwiches in order to save the bread closures. This will engage both the sense of smell and the sense of taste!


This activity is only limited by your imagination. Variations in set up and results will depend on:

  • the type and quantity of material you use to fill the bin
  • the ball you use
  • the amount of twisting and turning you do as you rotate the bin




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