How to make an Arctic Small World Sensory Bin

A fun way to add a little winter play into your day is to set up a chilly arctic small world sensory bin! Using Epsom salt as the filler you can get some beautiful sparkly snow, then add in some polar animals and some ice crystals for good measure, and your all set!

a pin with text that reads polar bear sensory bin with an image of a tray filled with Epsom salt, a scoop and tongs, a tall glass vase, a wooden ice cave and two polar bears

An Arctic Small World Sensory Bin for Polar Play indoors!

January seemed like the perfect time to do a little polar themed play. But im gonna be honest with you am a total wuss. I hate being cold. Thankfully our arctic small world sensory bin just looks chilly! 

a pin with text that reads arctic small world a polar themed sensory bin invitation to play. There are two pictures one is an overhead shot of the polar bears standing in the "snow" and the blue crystals. the other image is of the sensory bin with all the tools and manipulatives displayed.

This post contains some affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive a small commission from if you follow and decide to purchase. There would be no additional cost to you!

Arctic Small World Sensory Bin Supplies

an arctic small world sensory bin filled with Epsom salt, a wooden ice cave stacker standing in the back of the tray with a mama polar bear and per cub stand in the shelter. Some metal tools including a funnel, tongs and a candy jar scoop. Blue crystals, white "snowballs" and some snowflake sprinkles in little pans and a tall skinny glass vase filled with "snow"

Epsom Salt makes the PERFECT fake snow filler for your Arctic Small world sensory bin!

There are a lot of people that probably know that Epsom salt exists and there are probably even a few that have a bag sitting lost in the back of the bathroom cupboards. But do you know that Epsom salt can make a GREAT sensory filler? 

I think it makes the best snow. The crystals are rather large and it sparkles just like freshly fallen snow!

 A tall skinny glass vase filled with Epsom salt "snow" with a wooden ice cave stacker out of focus in the background with a mama polar bear and her cub stand in the shelter.
a toddler sprinkling Epsom salt "snow" into a glass vase

Another fun bonus is that Epsom salt is often infused with other ingredients that can add a great aroma to your arctic small world play! Ours is coconut but I’ve used lavender before and I want to try out orange next time!

an arctic small world sensory bin filled with Epsom salt, a wooden ice cave stacker standing in the back of the tray with a mama polar bear and per cub stand in the shelter. Some metal tools including a funnel, tongs and a candy jar scoop. Blue crystals, white "snowballs" and some snowflake sprinkles in little pans and a tall skinny glass vase filled with "snow"

How to Set up an Arctic Small World Sensory Bin

Every now and then it’s fun to set up a sensory bin that encourages a little imaginative play as well as sensory play. This is where small world sensory bins come into play

When you build any kind of sensory bin the very first thing you’ll need is filler. In an arctic small world sensory bin, you’ll need snow of some kind. 

After the filler, you’ll need are some animals. I chose to go with a mama and baby polar bear, as family units are Bittys favorite way to play right now.

an arctic small world sensory bin filled with Epsom salt, a wooden ice cave stacker standing in the back of the tray with a mama polar bear and per cub stand in the shelter. Blue crystals and "snowballs" are scattered around
a toddler playing with a mama polar bear and her cub in an arctic small world sensory bin

I personally feel that the animals need some kind of feature to interact with. A forest of pine trees, a frozen pond, a pile of rocks, or my favorite, a cave!

an arctic small world sensory bin filled with Epsom salt, a wooden ice cave stacker standing in the back of the tray with a mama polar bear and per cub stand in the shelter.

The last step is to add some additional manipulatives. I like to use random loose parts to help pull the theme together. I chose to add some “ice crystals” and snowballs. These loose parts can really help to spark creativity as well as some great fine motor practice!

white glittering "snowballs", blue plastic crystals, and blue and white snowflake sprinkles laying in the "snow of our arctic small world sensory bin
a toddler dropping a crystal into a glass jar

For tools, I almost always include some tongs and a scoop. I find she likes to fill up a vase or bowl with the filler, so there is often one of those as well. Seeing as the Epsom salt flows quite nicely I thought a funnel might be fun as well.

a tall skinny glass vase filled with fake snowballs in our arctic small world sensory bin

Completly Lost when it comes to Sensory Bins?! I’ve Got you covered!

If you want more details on how to build a sensory bin from the ground up you can check out these posts here!

a pin showing mason jars filled with sensory bin fillers
a pin showing differing kinds of tools for sensory bins
a pin showing some examples of toys and loose parts for sensory bins

Arctic Small World Sensory Bins are super easy to customize!

One of the things I love about any sensory bin is how personalized it is to you and your kids!

a toddler having fun and smiling while she plays with an arctic small world sensory bin

You want to do this but you don’t have Epsom salts? No Problem, there are lots of other white sensory bases like sugar, fake snow from the Christmas section, Floof, or some real snow from outside and if you live where it doesn’t snow, they even make instant snow

Maybe your kid is more interested in penguins, try using a whole flock. Or maybe they like more variety in their animal choices so they can build a whole ecosystem.

The loose parts you choose to add will be totally unique to whatever you happen to have on hand or can fin in store!

It’s honestly so cool to see the diversity that can come from the simple idea of an arctic small world sensory bin.

an overhead shot of a toddler having fun while she plays with an arctic small world sensory bin

Share your arctic small world Sensory Bins with Me!

Your Arctic Small World sensory bin will be uniquely yours and I would LOVE to see what you come up with! Tag me on Instagram and share your Arctic small world sensory bins. 

a pin that says Epsom salt snow sensory bin and has 4 pictures. one is an overhead shot of a toddler having fun while she plays with an arctic small world sensory bin, one is just overhead of the sensory bin without any of the tools, one is a close up of the polar bears in the wooden ice cave stacker and the last is a detail shot of a glass vase filled with fake snowballs

An Arctic small world sensory bin was a super fun way to add a little polar themed play into our day without heaving to get all layered up with our snow gear, and you know what a three ring circus that can be…

Other Posts you may like
a pin that says 4 step formula for sensory bins it shows some mason jars filled with sensory filler
a pin that says gingerbread sensory bin play. it shoes a closeup of a gingerbread man cnady
a pin that says shared playroom toy rotation. it shows four pictures of toys

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.