Brown Bear, Brown Bear Sensory Bin: Book Activities for Kids

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?
I see a Brown Bear sensory bin waiting for me!!

One of the best books for young children is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (words by Bill Martin Jr and illustrations by Eric Carle). The predictability, pattern and repetitive text paired with simple colors and animals invites young children to ‘read’ this book long before they learn to read the actual words.

Brown Bear sensory play book activity

Bringing a child’s favorite books to life is lots of fun (you can also see the book themed sensory bin we created for We’re Going On a Bear Hunt here), and it doesn’t have to be difficult to do. As sensory play is so beneficial to learning we decided to experiment with making a Brown Bear sensory bin, and it was a  real hit!

You might be familiar with dying rice or pasta for sensory play, but something a little different is dying dried beans. It’s super easy to do and I love that the beans can be stored and re-used again and again.

How to Dye Dried Beans

How to dye white beans for your sensory bin

To dye beans, you will need;

  • white beans
  • liquid food coloring, and
  • hand sanitizer (I’ve found that by adding this to the mixture, it sets the color so that it doesn’t rub off on little hands.

How to dye beans for sensory play;

1. Pop the beans into a zip lock bag with a splash of food coloring and a dash of hand sanitizer (the more food coloring, the brighter the color will be).
2. Shake the bag all around – get your little one to help with this part!
3. Spread the beans out on paper towel to dry for an hour or two.
4. Now you’re ready to play!

Please note: Playing with dried beans as a sensory play activity is only suitable for children well past the ‘putting-everything-in-their-mouth’ phase and should always be closely supervised by an adult.

How to Make Your Brown Bear Sensory Bin

Brown Bear Brown Bear Story Inspired Sensory Bin

To start setting up this sensory tub, I engaged the help of my children to make each of the animals from the story with this printable. We colored them in and I laminated them and cut them out (they’re available in color too if your child isn’t as interested in coloring). These are also a fabulous resource for story sequencing.

We placed our beans in a rainbow formation into the sensory bin, in the order the animals appear in the book. Then the animals took their place and it was ready to be revealed.

Brown Bear sensory bin book activity

Together we re-told the story using a little brown teddy bear as ‘Brown Bear’.

Brown Bear Brown Bear Activity Ideas: Sensory Bin for Kids

Of course the colors didn’t stay separate for long, but that’s part of the fun. Even when all mixed together, they look amazing, feel so good and are so engaging!

Brown Bear Brown Bear Sensory Bin Story Fun


For more like this, check out these related articles;

10 Sensory Pre-Writing Activities for Preschool
We're Going On a Bear Hunt story sensory bin
Hands On Alphabet Activities for Preschoolers