Find the snowmen

This was an extra fun activity to brighten up a dull afternoon. A sensory bin with an investigative twist.

Find the snowmen

I filled our underbed storage tub with porridge oats and added some dried pasta, flour and rice – basically any out of date things I could find in our store cupboard! A liberal sprinkle of blue glitter helped the mixture to look suitably sparkly and inviting.

I printed out four cute little snowmen and hid them in the tub. Then I collected a few tools to aid the investigation that I provided straight away (a magnifying glass, a rake, a scoop) and some that I set aside to bring out during the course of the activity (cardboard tubes, bowls, spoons, an empty water bottle, a toy car). I set all this up in our dining room on a huge white blanket and then invited ToddlerGirl to join me.

She was keen to put her hands in straight away. My snowy mixture had a very interesting texture given the different ingredients and we both swished our hands around in it. I explained that we needed to find the four hidden snowmen and ToddlerGirl had a good look through the magnifying glass to see if she could spot any. It didn’t take long before she noticed the corner of one of the snowmen, which I had left poking out a little bit to help get the hunt started! Once she’d found the first one, she was keen to track down the others and was soon pulling them out excitedly (maybe with a teensy bit of hinting from me as to which areas to dig around in).

Digging in the sensory tub

She loved finding the snowmen so much that, as soon as all four were lined up by the side of the tub, she was asking me to put them back in so she could search for them again! This happened about four or five times, so I’d say the investigative aspect of this sensory bin went down very well. She used all the tools at her disposal, raking through the mixture, examining it carefully with the magnifying glass, scooping it into piles.

Once ToddlerGirl was satisfied she had done enough finding, I added the other tools to the tub. She stirred the oaty concoction thoroughly, scooped up spoonfuls, poured them into the tubes, filled the water bottle and was happily occupied in this vein for another good chunk of time.


When this started to wear thin, we added a few makeshift ‘homes’ for the snowmen using items from our recycling bin. This prompted some lovely pretend play, with the snowmen retiring to their homes, driving in their car and generally having a great time playing in their snowy world.

In the tub!

Of course, this being ToddlerGirl, eventually she had to get into the tub. Off came the socks, trousers and top, and in she went! She loved the feeling of the mixture in between her toes and ‘splashed’ around for a while. This made the clean up a little more intensive than it would have been otherwise but, listening to her squeals of joy, it was worth it. For a less messy alternative, I would use just rice on its own as the porridge oats did leave a lot of powdery residue over everything! It hoovered up easily, though, and was a small price to pay for an entire afternoon’s entertainment. I’ll definitely be bringing this one out again.


2 Comments on “Find the snowmen”

  1. Great idea! I’m going to try this with my toddlers! Thanks for posting!

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