I love using sensory bins with preschoolers because it’s such a motivating way to develop fine motor skills through play!  This construction truck themed sensory bin was a big hit with our preschool co-op this past week.  The kids used little trucks to lift and load up beans, and we used cardboard to create some fun toys for scooping and pouring.

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We used our PVC pipe sand and water table for this sensory bin.  It works so much better, in my opinion, to keep the bin off the floor.  Of course there will be beans to pick up when the kids are done, but I think that having the tub elevated reduces the mess.

I used black beans for the bin filler, but you could also use gravel.

The little yellow trucks came from this set of Caterpillar mini trucks.

The larger dump truck is a Playmobil 123 truck – that is their toddler/preschool line of toys.  Very sturdy!

I used a cardboard box to make a ramp.  The kids could pour beans down the ramp to load them into a dump truck.  So much fun!  They also enjoyed driving the trucks up and down the ramp.

Here’s a photo of the ramp so that you can see the design.  I chose a wide, flat cardboard box and cut off one side with a utility knife.  I used hot glue to attach more cardboard as legs, and the whole thing was surprisingly sturdy!  It withstood a morning of 10 preschoolers playing with it, and now my kids are still using it at home.

My husband built this toy out of a child’s size shoe box and a couple of paper towel rolls.  You can pour beans into the top, and they come out the tube at the bottom.

I wish I had gotten some photos while it was in progress!  The design is simple, so hopefully you can figure it out.  My husband cut round holes on two sides of the box using a utility knife.  The holes should be the same size as your cardboard tube.  Then, he taped two tubes together at an angle inside the box.  Once the tubes were secure in the box (more tape) he covered the outside with duct tape just to make it look better.

I chose black beans for the tub filler to look like rocks or gravel.  You could also just use gravel.

I love it when they are “hard at play!”

Have fun playing!

Need more ideas with construction trucks?


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  1. rob May 16, 2018

    cool article nice one for posting this. Robert

  2. Chelsea May 28, 2020

    I'm looking forward to seeing your ideas Looks like you got some good ideas

  3. MsJorona Nov 14, 2020

    Great idea. Thanks for posting

  4. Susan Apr 24, 2021

    Love it - working on a smaller version now! Thank you so much! Made the dumper that you have with toilet paper with a plastic hard straw and smaller box. Works great! Thanks for all!


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