Looking for an amazing Thanksgiving Sensory Bin? Try this pretend pie baking activity for kids!

This pie sensory play idea is great for Thanksgiving, but it also works well during apple picking season as well! Little ones will enjoy digging in the sensory materials, scooping, stirring, rolling out the felt dough, and designing the pies.

You’ll love that this simple Thanksgiving sensory bin is pretty low maintenance and easy to clean up.

This may be our best sensory play activity yet! My kids were engaged for long periods of time for multiple days with this pie sensory bin.

Thanksgiving Pie Sensory Bin - a sensory play experience with lima beans with colorful pompoms, felt pie crusts, mini pie tins, and a mini rolling pin

But before we dive in to the tutorial, you might be wondering….

What is a Sensory Bin?

A Sensory Bin is a container of items that prompt creativity and awaken the senses.

Items you might commonly see in a sensory bin include water, rice, uncooked pasta, pom-poms, sand, shredded paper, dry beans, and dry corn. The possibilities are endless.  Find more ideas on creating sensory bins here.

Many sensory bins have a theme that invoke imaginative play.

What are the benefits of sensory play?

According to Good Start Early Learning, sensory play encourages kids to investigate and explore.

Sensory activities:

– Build nerve connections in the brain

– Help support language development

– Are great for fine motor skill development

– Encourage problem solving and scientific thinking

Plus, sensory play is just plain fun! It’s a wonderful screen free activity that engages children for long stretches of time!

Alright, let’s dive into creating our Pie Thanksgiving Sensory Bin!

Thanksgiving pie sensory bin - child stirring beans and pom poms in a pie sensory activity bin

Supplies Needed for Pie Thanksgiving Sensory Bin

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– Sensory Bin Container ( use a large under the bed storage container)

– Mini Pie Dishes (You can use disposable ones or grab these adorable and more durable mini pie pans.)

– Dried Beans (I used these cool Lima Beans)


Wooden spoon

Measuring cups

Mini Rolling Pin

Pom Poms (I used red and blue)

– 2 pieces of Tan Brown Felt

Pinking Shears and Cloth scissors

– Pencil

– Scissors


How to make felt pie crusts - picture shows scissors, tan felt material with a circle pattern, and pinking shears with rectangle strips

How to make the Felt Pie Crusts

First, take your mini pie pan and place it on a piece of cardstock. Using a pencil, trace the bottom of the pan onto the cardstock. Cut it out.

Now, using this pattern you’ve created, you can make the bottom pie crusts for each of your mini pie pans.

To do this, I first cut a small felt square from the larger felt portion and then placed the pattern circle on top and cut around the circle. I had 4 pie pans, so I made 4 brown circles to place in the bottom of each pan.

Now that you have the bottom crusts of each pie, it’s time to make the top crusts. I used my pinking shears from my sewing basket to make the adorable zigzag crust strips. I made 4 strips for each pie.

The size of the crust strips will really depend on the size of your pan. I made all of my crusts the same length and I thought they turned out adorable!

I also made a “full crust cover” for the last pie. To do this I flipped one of my mini pie pans over and traced the circle onto cardstock. I cut out the pattern and used it to cut a circle out of the felt.

Next, I looked on google at various images of real pies to see what crust patterns I liked best. I decided to fold the circle inward and snip a few openings to make it look like an apple pie crust.

Thanksgiving Pie Sensory Bin - Child rolling felt pie crusts, and the inside of the pie sensory bin filled with beans, felt crust, rolling pin, pom poms and more.

How to Make a Pie Thanksgiving Sensory Bin

Now that you have your pretend pie crusts ready, the rest is super fast and simple!

Pour the lima beans (or your choice of sensory bin filler) into the sensory bin container. I used a large under the bed storage container for this sensory bin, so I used 3 small bags of lima beans to fill it.

Next, add your pom poms. I chose blue to represent blueberries and red to look like cherries. But the possibilities are endless here!

Now, you’re ready to add the pie crusts and pie pans. I also added a mini rolling pin, a bowl for mixing, a small wooden spoon, and measuring cups.

Kids love to have items to scoop, stir, and pour into. The mixing bowl was a huge hit (so definitely don’t skip that!) They also enjoy pretending to roll out the dough, so don’t forget that little miniature rolling pin!

My kids loved this sensory bin. It kept my 4 year old busy for most of the morning when we first made it. All of my school aged kids dove into it when they got home as well. It’s so much fun, everyone had to have a turn!

Just a reminder: If you have small children who still put things in their mouths, you will want to stay away from lima beans and probably the pom poms as well. Both could be choking hazards for little ones. You could improvise with real cereal as a sensory bin filler.

Be sure to check out other Sensory Play Ideas here.

Love this Thanksgiving sensory tub? Pin the image below to your Thanksgiving activity board on Pinterest.

Adorable Pie Sensory Play - pie sensory bin of beans, pom poms, felt crusts and pie pans shown.

More Thanksgiving Preschool Activities

Looking for more fun activities for kids?

There’s a super awesome printable Pilgrim Hat Headband here. Kids will enjoy wearing their little pilgrim hats to thanksgiving dinner!

You’ll find a Thanksgiving Corn Craft that is great for preschoolers here.

There’s a fall sensory bin activity here that is also full of fantastic fun. Kids will enjoy playing in the fall leaves in this harvest sensory bin.

You can find some harvest themed preschool worksheets in this post: Fall Activities for the Family (& Free Printables!)

Be sure to check out the Gratitude Scavenger Hunt here. Perfect for some Thanksgiving day family fun.

Also, don’t miss the preschool Thanksgiving activities set, in my Etsy shop! There’s cut and paste activities, pattern work, tracing, and more!

Happy Thanksgiving!