Ocean Sensory Bin & Matching Game for Kids

Learn how to make a realistic Ocean sensory bin for kids that’s like playing at the ocean, complete with sand, shells, and seaweed.Thank you for…


Learn how to make a realistic Ocean sensory bin for kids that’s like playing at the ocean, complete with sand, shells, and seaweed.

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This week’s Creative Preschool topic is Ocean and Fish so today I have a fun Sensory Play activity and Sea Shell matching game to share with you! Both were really fun, and can be done with wet or dry sand. We started off with dry sand and then added water to make a tide pool in a box. With our store-bought seaweed, I don’t think we could have gotten any closer to experiencing the ocean without traveling hundreds of miles to the ocean.

Assemble all the supplies and let your child play with this fun Ocean Themes Sensory Bin. For some added ambiance, play some ocean waves music, then make an Ocean Sensory Bottle and print a Seashell Identification Worksheet perfect to go along with the Shell Matching Game that kids can play as they explore the sensory bin.  When you are all done, use those seashells to make Seashell Art for Kids.

Ocean Sensory Bin for Kids


  • Sand
  • Shells
  • Water (Optional)
  • Dried Seaweed (Affiliate Link-Optional-I bought the thickest kind I could find from an Asian market, I have to say it turned out really cool and looked just like the kind of seaweed you find lying on the beach. It was dried when I bought it, but once it soaked up some water it felt nice and slippery.)
  • Large bin
  • Sand Toys (Optional)


Assemble the supplies in the bin.

If you add water, the seaweed will start to absorb water and feel like the seaweed at the beach.

As we played we talked about oceans and I pulled out our globe and we located all the oceans. We have been talking about how the North Pole and South Pole are cold, so I used those as a starting off point to talk about differences in oceans (the ones towards the north and south are colder than the ones next to the equator). We also talked about waves, and animals that live in the ocean, and watched Planet Earth Oceans and a YouTube video about tide pools. We couldn’t help but sing Slippery Fish by Charlotte Diamond all day long either. My kids love that song and it’s fun to get them moving around and dancing.

Seashell Matching Game


  • Sand
  • Different types of shells (a set of each type of shell)
  • Sand toys (Optional)
  • Most of the shells we used I found at the ocean, but if you need you can also buy shells (I have seen bags at the dollar store). If there is not a variety of shell types you can paint some with nail polish to make them different colors for the matching game.


Hide the shells in the sand and have the child find them all. Once they are all found have the child match them together by type. Shells come in so many different shapes, sizes, and colors you could repeat the game and sort them using different attributes. Matching similar items into groups takes new skills compared to matching completely identical items.


More Ocean Themed Activities by the Creative Preschool Team

Originally Posted 3/6/2015, Updated 6/11/2024


  1. And a great activity to do to kick the winter blues away! Sand and seashells, yay! We've never heard the song, Slippery Fish either so off to check that out. Thanks much for sharing at our FB Share Day!

  2. How fun!!! I love that you bought seaweed and included it. I have some fond memories of going to the beach as a kid and finding seaweed in the ocean. 🙂

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