Butterflies and Math Sensory Bin

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This Butterflies and Math Sensory Bin uses coloured rice puffs instead of the usual sensory bases such as coloured rice or pasta. Good for when you have leftover rice puffs idling around. Count, add, subtract and more with cute butterflies and caterpillars in this sensory bin.

We may have come across a rice puff sensory bin. Typically, they are usually bird-themed cause rice puffs represent the theme so well that they are being used just for that. The bird and rice puff game may get a little boring for some so let’s switch things up. How about a butterfly rice puff sensory bin? We’re not talking ordinary plain rice puffs either. What we have here today, ladies and gentlemen, is coloured rice puffs to give your butterfly sensory bin that extra oomph. Add math to the mix, and you have some serious numeracy fun happening here.


First, prepare the sensory base. If you have some rice puffs lying around, that’s good. Get those out into a bowl and add a couple drops of your desired food colouring. Give it a little stir until it is well-combined. If you’re intending to do more than one colour, place portions of rice puffs into different bowls and add the different food colourings respectively into each bowl. Once you’re happy with the shade of colour, pour them out onto a tray and leave them aside to dry

Once your coloured rice puffs are all dry, pour them into a container or tray for your sensory bin. Spread them out to cover the base of your container. If you’re using a large tray or container, you probably would need more rice puffs to work with. Next, pick out some of your child’s toys and use them to accessorise the bin. For this butterfly theme, we’ve gone for some butterflies, flowers, leaves, toadstools and caterpillars. We also added in some white Styrofoam balls cause maybe while we’re playing, we could talk about the life cycle of the butterfly. Cause why not?

Tadah, your sensory bin is now done! Now it’s time to play!

For starters, have your child count out the number of butterflies or caterpillars in the sensory bin. Then gradually progress into advanced numeracy concepts such as addition and subtraction. When demonstrating addition for example, you could firstly show 2 butterflies in the bin and then add in 2 more butterflies before counting the total number of butterflies together with your child. Similarly with subtraction, take away a certain number of butterflies away from the sensory bin before counting the number of butterflies left.

Now if you’re really up for it and if you have that many caterpillars and butterflies, you could even go into multiplication where you demonstrate grouping of objects. For e.g. demonstrate 2 groups of 3 butterflies each which adds up to 6 butterflies. In terms of multiplication, this means 2 x 3 = 6.

Math is never gonna be the same again when you get this sensory bin out. Enjoy!

Activity Guide