Sensory Bin Alternatives to Snow for Pretend Play

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Sensory bin ideas are some of my favorite sensory pretend play activities with the kids! I typically store them in tupperware containers with lids – a different bin for each theme! Below are some sensory bin alternatives to snow for winter play time!

Edible Sensory Snow Alternatives for Pretend Play

Brrrrrr! We LOVE indoor snow sensory play but a lot of times it’s just way too cold for my little tike. Not only that but most¬†people don’t even have access to snow year round (or feel like crushing ice to create their own snow recipes)!

So I’ve come up with a few awesome (some edible!) non-toxic and SIMPLE alternatives with a different variety of textures to mimic snow play.

Right now we are using our Penguins TOOB for exploration with our pretend snow sensory “recipes”! (The Arctic TOOB is also a great alternative to penguins for educational exploration.)

Below are some white colored “snow” alternatives for sensory play.

Sensory Bin Alternatives to Snow:

Ground Rice (or just white rice!)

This has got to be the most ingenious snow alternative idea ever. When we were trying my son on a gluten free diet for several months we couldn’t afford to buy rice flour at the time so I would grind my own rice in a coffee grinder. It’s got a nice texture of finely ground, powdery and slightly course rice, white like snow!

This is a great idea for gluten free families needing an alternative to many of the sensory place recipes out there. Sure, it takes a few minutes to pull out the coffee grinder and add the rice, but right now this is our favorite snow alternative recipe because of the light gritty texture.

instant potato flakes for sensory snow recipe

Mashed Potato Flakes

Our preschool / daycare uses mashed potato flakes as a snow alternative for sensory play – just pour them straight out of the box! You simply can NOT get easier than opening up a box of instant flakes and dumping them out!

It’s an easy idea for parents to donate to a classroom and easy to dump into a plastic bag later. No worries if your kids taste a little sample!


This seems pretty obvious but sometimes the obvious is forgotten! This is also a great gluten free option depending of course what type of flour you use! Experiment with different types of flours for different textures and even colors.

Edible Sensory Snow Alternatives for Pretend Play

White Craft Sand

If you don’t need an edible sensory play option, white craft sand is SO versatile for sensory bins! We use them for beach and ocean themed, desert, snow, and even construction themed sensory bins!

Cotton Balls & Cotton Batting

Perhaps one of my favorite things to use in a winter sensory bin is cotton batting and cotton balls! Not only is the texture soft, but you can use scoops and tongs for fine motor skills activities with the cotton balls! Check out our soft snowy snowman sensory bin here!

White Felt, Yarn, or Fabric Shredded / Cut

If all else fails, I will dig into the bottom of my craft stash for scraps of fabric, felt or yarn. It does make a little bit more of a mess to clean up, but it provides a different texture and feel for sensory bins than the options above.

Check out our edible non-toxic kinetic sand recipe!

DIY Make Your Own Sensory Kinetic Sand Recipe

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Also coconut flakes!

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