Weare loving this fun toddler sand play idea – a sensory bin filled with seashells and play sandals. This simple craft and activity is not just for summer – it can provide fine motor and math play any time of year.
Seashells and Sandals Sensory Bin
The sandbox is a fun place for toddler activities. There are so many ways to play – digging, spreading, lifting and sifting with a variety of fine motor tools.
It’s especially convenient to extend summer play with sandbox activities when you can’t get to the beach.
Set up this simple sandbox activity with sandal cut-outs and seashells as an invitation for some fun sensory and math play. While the sandbox adds to a summer theme, you can use a plastic bin filled with rice or other fillers that you have on hand to provide this activity.
We like to match a book to our activities and the book ‘Beach Baby’ available here on Amazon is a great one.
Supplies to make the sandals
- corrugated cardboard (available HERE on Amazon) or craft foam sheets
- glue gun or paper fasteners
Colorful sheets of craft foam and corrugated cardboard are inexpensive to purchase at a craft store. They are smooth on one side and rippled on the other. The rippled side gives the sandals an authentic feel, and are great for the sensory experience.
Make a template on cardstock or cardboard by drawing a sole of a shoe or tracing around a shoe. This sandal measures approximately 2 inches x 4 inches (5 cm x 10 cm). Adjust the size larger or smaller to suit your preference and available materials.
Instructions for making the sandals
Cut out and transfer the sandal template to the corrugated cardboard or craft foam. Place the template on the side opposite the corrugated surface and trace with a marker.
Notice how the green cardboard on the right rolls up on the top and bottom. The template was traced on cardboard with the corrugated ridges running left to right. The pink cardboard on the left has the ridges running up and down, allowing the sandal cut-out to lay flat.
Alternatively, you can cut out sandal shapes from regular cardboard. Kids can paint the sandals or color with crayons or markers.
Cut out straps for the sandals from the corrugated cardboard with the ridges running vertically. The straps measure approximately 2.5 inches by 1 inch (6.5 cm x 2.5 cm).
Make the straps long enough to curve upwards in the middle. This will give the sandals their shape and design as well as allow a small hand or fingers to fit inside to move the sandals around the sandbox.
Secure the straps to the sandal with paper fasteners or a glue gun.
Set up the sensory bin
Add the sandals to the sandbox along with some shells and digging tools.
There are lots of fun ways to play with sandals in the sensory bin.
- Bury the sandals in the sand. Dig up the sandals with a small shovel or rake.
- Find two matching sandals to make a pair.
- Fill a sandal with sand and shake it out.
Stomp the sandals around in the sand.
Can you see the footprints you make in the sand? Some of the impressions go up and down and some go side to side, depending on how the sandal was cut from the corrugated cardboard.
Provide sensory and math play for kids with this summer-themed activity in the sandbox. The colors and textures will prompt kids to begin digging, burying, stomping, and sorting right away.
Some more toddler activity ideas you might enjoy are:
About the Author
Heather is a former preschool teacher and founder of preschooltoolkit.com, a website providing early learning resources for teachers and parents. She focuses on creating fun crafts and activities that engage developmental skills while promoting hands-on learning through play. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram