Car Themed Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Sensory bins are one of my favorite toddler and preschooler activities! They really are so fun to put together and always seem to provide hours of play for children. Our latest sensory bin is car themed for all the car-loving children out there!

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Car Themed Sensory Box~ Buggy and Buddy

My two year old is madly in love with car play!  My purse and jacket pockets always contain a few Hot Wheels for wherever we may be, and Theo has even been known to go to sleep at night cuddling his toy monster truck!

I decided to focus on Theo’s love of cars for our latest car themed sensory bin. And although I focused on Theo’s love of cars when putting it together, my five year old joined right in the sensory play too! (This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.)

Car Themed Sensory Bin

 Materials for the Sensory Bin

Disclaimer: Beans pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. Use a larger loose part that is not a choking hazard in place of the beans if you’re child is still mouthing items. (Here is a link to a choking hazard tester you can purchase.) Never leave your child unattended.

Setting up the Sensory Bin

While the kids were resting, I assembled this simple car themed sensory bin.

Car Themed Sensory Bin

I pulled out our trusty 28 quart plastic box that we usually use for sensory bin play and poured in some dry black beans. (When you are done with the beans, be sure to keep them for future bins and crafts! I have a big plastic bin where I keep all my sensory bin materials like pastas, beans, and lentils to be used again.)

Then I cut up some yellow straws and placed them on top of the beans representing lines on a road. I also added some red, yellow, and green pom poms to resemble traffic lights. The final touch was a few empty toilet paper rolls which I stuck right into the beans.

And of course the cars!

Cars in the sensory bin

Playing with the Car Themed Sensor Bin

Both Lucy and Theo were so excited to dive right in and start playing!

Car sensory bin for a variety of ages


Theo immediately ran his hands through the beans over and over.

Car Themed Sensory Bin for Toddlers


He loved filling the cardboard tubes with beans and then watching them spill out.

Filling the cardboard tubes with beans from the sensory bin


The cardboard tubes also made great tunnels for the cars!

Cars traveling through cardboard tubes in the car themed sensory bin


Theo also enjoyed making the cars go through the tunnels way up high and then watching them fall into the sensory bin.

Playing with the car themed sensory bin

And sometimes the cars had to travel though bean filled tunnels.

Car Themed Sensory Bin


Lucy took a different approach with the sensory bin. She used the straws to make candles for a cake! (She added her little toy mouse to the sensory bin to play… and eat lots of cakes!)

Making a 'cake' in the sensory bin

Our car themed sensory bin got a lot of action the first day!

Car Themed Sensory Bin


The kids have been playing with it over five consecutive days now. It’s so interesting to watch how their play changes and becomes more complex as the days go by!

Be sure not to miss these other toy car posts on Buggy and Buddy:



  1. What a fun idea for a sensory box!! My 2.5 year old son will love this.

  2. This is a wonderful sensory bin for transportation themes and exploration. TY so much for sharing via FB today! Awesome!

  3. My son would love this!

  4. Fantastic! Great materials too. I adore the tubes for filling and pouring. Thank you for sharing. Pinned.

  5. Perhaps it’s just me, but I would use pebbles or some kind of non-food in my sensory table. It is insensitive to use food as a toy when so many people in your own community even may be hungry…? You could use small pebbles or sand or the list goes on.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your opinion on food use in the home or classroom, JAF. It’s always a controversial topic where each person needs to make their own decisions based on their beliefs and life experiences. For me, I am okay with using sensory bins in my home, especially since we save the sensory bin materials to reuse. I would invite any readers on the fence with this topic to read Teach Preschool’s post on using food in the classroom. She shares some valuable points on both sides.

  6. Hi Chelsey,
    It’s funny last week in my preschool room I set up something similar to this but with small black pebbles, natural materials and matchbox construction machines. The children loved it and played continuously for 4 days sorting, counting, estimating and pouring rocks.That was until one of my mums arrived at school with the horror story that her son had put a bean sized pebble in his ear!!! Luckily they were able to get it out with the help of gravity and some olive oil but the story horrified me. We used this incident as a learning opportunity but will be cautious next time!!!

  7. My son would love this sensory bin!
    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  8. This looks so much fun. I love the black beans for the road.

    I have featured this on The Sunday Showcase:

  9. Christina says:

    I made this sensory bin for my son this morning. I think he will love it!


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