When can children start using sensory bins?

What age can my child begin using sensory bins? 
Children can begin using most sensory bins once they have stopped putting things in their mouths.  Most sensory bins come with many small pieces which could be choking hazards for young children. With that said, children as young as 6 months can explore sensory play in ways that are developmentally appropriate and safe for them. 

For young toddlers who still like to explore their world by putting things in their mouths we can provide a taste safe sensory bin for them to begin creative play and uses their senses to make connections in their world.  
Sensory Play for infants-2 years
  • add water to baking sheet and let child splash 
  • add water to baking sheet and bath toys for children to grab
  • allow child to finger paint with taste safe paints 
  • use textured balls and describe the textures as the child is playing 
  • sensory bottles
  • sensory mats 
  • colored ice cubes in a bowl
  • edible play-doh
  • rainbow spaghetti
  • cheerio, puff, or cereal sensory bin with larger toys  (once they are eating those items) 

*best to stick with natural food dyes when making any activities that require food dyes

As a precaution: It is a good idea for children under five to be supervised when engaging in sensory play or using sensory bins.  Once you know that your child is able to keep the items in the bin or resist from putting items in their mouths then you can start allowing children independent play for short periods of time.  You can increase the time with the comfort level.