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  • Emily

Autumn Sensory Bin with Dyed Chickpeas

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Our sensory bin needed a refresh and with fall in the air we decided to go with an autumn theme and try our hands at dying garbanzo beans aka chickpeas.


What You Need:

  • Nature objects

  • Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas)

  • Food coloring

  • Vinegar

  • Plastic food container with lid

  • Baking sheet


A note before we start: While technically taste safe (assuming you eliminate or at least curate your fall additions) if you want to do this with your littlest one(s) who still put things in their mouths or there are baby siblings around, you might want to use rice instead as I can't help assuming these hard beans might be just about baby trachea sized. Please just be mindful.

Before we dyed our beans, we went on a "hike" around our local park to look for fun fall additions for our bin. We found colorful leaves, pinecones, seed pods, sticks, bark, etc.

Then we sat down and talked about our treasures! Little man was so excited I couldn't even sneak a picture without him trying to get his hands on our findings.

Next we dyed our beans. I used a 5lb bag I got on amazon which was the perfect amount. I separated the chickpeas into 5 equalish sized bowls, one for each color I intended to make.

I know some chickpea dying suggestions do not use vinegar. I tried that first, but found it didn't coat the chickpeas very well. I added in about a capful of vinegar and voila.

Through trial and error on my end, here is what I suggest: Combine your food coloring and vinegar in the bottom of your plastic food container and swishing it around a bit, THEN add your chickpeas, seal the lid, and give them a shake. This is esp helpful if you are using food color gel and/or when you are combining colors to make a new color (like orange and brown in this case).

With some music in the background, shaking these up becomes a lot of fun with your kiddo.

Once thoroughly coated, spread them on a baking sheet to dry. Dry time for these is pretty quick, I'd say about 15 minutes.

I enjoy putting each color in its own bowl before putting into the sensory bin so that my son and I can discus the colors.

I was feeling artsy so I put these in the bin in the shape of a tree and let my kiddo "sprinkle" on the leaves.

Then we added our fall finds from our hike and some leftover halloween gourds and pumpkins.

And we dug in!

Eventually our dried leaves crumbled and some of our fall items lost their appeal so it went the way of most of our sensory bins and the garbanzo beans became boulders for our construction toys and we practiced color sorting and scooping and pouring with funnels and all manner of things.

Hope this bin lasts you through the season and I'm sure we will have a winter bin version to freshen it up, so check back after the holidays!

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