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Goldilocks Porridge - Oatmeal Sensory Bin

Everyone knows the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and how upset the bear family became after Goldilocks came through their home eating their porridge, sitting in their chairs, and sleeping in their beds. This is a great way to explain empathy, sharing, and communication between peers while playing in the sensory bin.

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Get caught up in the story of Goldilocks!

With the changing seasons ahead, this fairytale-inspired sensory bin not only smells great, it comes with great learning opportunities to help children share materials and work together. It will allow children to explore empathy, much like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears does - a great learning opportunity to explore emotions while digging around in a sensory bin! 

📚Read Up! Goldilocks and the Three Bears was written originally by Robert Southey. You can find the physical book or look it up online to show children a video!

💦 Ready to Get Messy? Add some water for a mess factor!

🌽 Be Corn-y: If a child is allergic to oats, use cornmeal! It creates a similar texture and color.


For this activity you will need:

Oats (rolled or quick oats)

Sensory bin

Cinnamon (ground and sticks)





Bears (stuffed or hard plastic)


Water (optional)

Learning Outcomes






Sharing emotions, communicating and expressing feelings with adults and peers.


Step 1:

Start by reading “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to familiarize the children with this story. Open up the conversation on how the bears felt and how Goldilocks felt to hone in on empathy with children.

Step 2:

Next, set up a spot for your sensory bin and dump in oats (1 whole bag or at least 6 cups of dry oats) and add in the cinnamon sticks and cinnamon.

Step 3:

Set up the bears, spoons, shovels, sieves, blocks, etc. for children to use.

Step 4: 

Encourage children to communicate with each other when they want to use a tool that another child is using or to work together on a project. This will help children better understand turn taking, empathy, and sharing while playing together.

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Set up the sensory bin with only one set of every material to encourage children to share the tools and work together.

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Younger children may exhibit parallel play (working side by side but not together). Encourage them to work on building a house together and share ideas.

Playful Questions

How do you think the bears felt when they saw Goldilocks in their home?

How would you feel if this happened to you?

How can we ensure everyone has a fair amount of time with the shovel?

Can you work together to build the tallest house?

How would you feel if a friend knocked down your house that you worked hard on?

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