Animal Habitat Mini Sensory Tubs

Create some mini sensory tubs with animal habitat themes to pull out for playtime at a moments notice. So easy to store away for future and a great way to learn about animals while enjoying small world play, on a tiny scale!Mini sensory tubs- small world animal habitats

We are big fans of small world play and sensory tubs, but generally both of these take up a table top or use a large tub and so are difficult to leave out for any length of time on our home. I recently found some lovely, small plastic tubs with click-on lids and knew they’d be a perfect solution for making some miniature sensory small world play scenes that we could store in the cupboard and bring back out easily, whenever they wanted to play with them.

The first set we have put together are all themed around animal habitats as we already had some mini animal figures which fit the scale perfectly. [You can find similar small toy Animals here.]African animals habitat- mini sensory tub

African savannah: miniature lion, cheetah and giraffe with yellow dyed rice, brown buttons and pieces of green felt cut into grass shapes. Forest habitat- mini sensory tub

Forest: Green shredded tissue papers in various shades, green felt grass, mini toadstools, mini forest animals (Playmobil), Playmobil 123 tree

Ocean habitat- mini sensory tub

Ocean: Blue dyed rice, blue glass nuggets, different shaped shells, mini crab and mini coloured fish.Polar bear habitat- mini sensory tub

Arctic: Salt and silver glitter, clear glass nuggets, white pebbles, mini polar bear figure. (We will add some seals to this when we find them!)

Mini animal habitat sensory tubs

The girls love getting these out to play with and, so far, have kept all of the sensory materials inside the boxes, just removing the animal figures to play with.

We have started to go through our story books and pull out relevant ones that could match each box and be read alongside them for retelling or inventing stories with, which adds another learning dimension to the play possibilities!Story sensory tubs

Once they are finished with, the lids snap back on and they are stored safely in a kitchen cupboard for next time. I love the space saving and fact that they are reusable!

These are just the first set that we have made but we are already working on some more themes, which we will post about soon!

Mini sensory tubs

What they are learning as they play:

knowledge and understanding: understanding that animals live in different habitats around the world that are ideally suited to their bodies, recognising and naming animals, talking about what animals like to eat and do

Physical: manipulate small materials with care, enjoy the sensation of sensory materials through fingers

Literacy: retell favourite stories and invent their own using story books and storytelling props to guide them

Cakie: 5. 8

Pop: 4.1

Bean: 2.2

Search our Sensory Play archives here

Here are all of our Sensory Tubs we have made!

And our Small World Play Scenes!

[This post contains an Amazon link for your convenience.]


  1. Nirosha says

    Lots of possibilities with this idea. Thank you. Where did you find the tubs? I’ve seen ones like this but I prefer the depth of your ones.