116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
ALBURNETT — Hanna Hinrichsen is a busy mother, wife and, well, human. And she knows the power of keeping the kids busy with fun, interactive playtime.
As a former teacher and huge advocate of sensory play, Hinrichsen decided to launch her own business to help other caregivers.
It’s “sensory play made simple,” she said.
“I offer sensory bin rentals, sensory bin rental subscriptions, sensory play events, messy play events, parent-and-baby events, as well as various offerings for schools and day cares,” she said.
Hinrichsen also offers training sessions for early childhood caregivers and educators, using her degree in early childhood education.
The bins, created and curated by Hinrichsen, feature various toys and playthings in a bin full of an interesting material, such as sand, rice, gravel or mini rainbow pompons.
They can be rented for two to four weeks at a time by individuals or day care centers within 25 miles of Alburnett.
“Before starting this business, I hadn’t seen anything like it, so I really feel like I’m filling in a gap that solves a lot of problems for those who care for young children,” she said.
“It takes money, time and effort to put together these experiences and it’s a lot of materials that would need to be stored or discarded by caregivers if they made bins on their own.
“Instead, I’m able to create the bins for them and then the materials can be reused throughout our community, rather than sitting in someone’s closet or filling the landfill.”
The business was launched in July 2021.
While Hinrichsen runs the business herself in Eastern Iowa, she has gotten help from a good friend and cousin to start expanding the business into Central Iowa.
“When we start doing bin rentals subscriptions there, starting in January 2023, those two will be the ones to do the deliveries and bin resets in that area,” she said.
As much variety as Hinrichsen has in her sensory play bins, she sees just as much variety in the work that she does every week.
As business owner she is putting bins together, cleaning materials that have recently been used to get them ready for their next stop, delivering bins and switching out the old with the new at families’ front doors or at day cares.
“Health and safety are of huge importance to me, which is why I personally clean the materials in each bin before passing them along to the next family,” she added.
“When necessary, I will replace fillers and materials that are beyond their play lifetime.”
Owner: Hanna Hinrichsen
Website: binspirellc.com and @bin.spire on Instagram
Hinrichsen also handles creating and posting social media content, updating the website, figuring out the logistics of which bins are going where and when, preparing for upcoming events and markets, and chatting with day care providers and other caregivers to continue to build her business, as well.
“My favorite part is observing the kids explore, play and learn during the events I run,” Hinrichsen said. “Kids are so incredibly creative and I’m still amazed by the things they come up with, especially just when I think I’ve seen it all.”
She always looks forward to hosting events for children and their caregivers, too.
“For outdoor events, watching the weather and making the call as to whether to go ahead with the events or not is always a little tricky, but so far the weather has stayed on my side,” she said.
Hinrichsen noted there are several fun programs for babies and their caregivers coming up each Saturday in October, along with lots of Halloween themed events, particularly in Alburnett, for toddlers. Information can be found at her website, binspirellc.com.
Part of her mission, Hinrichsen said, is helping parents, caregivers and the general public understand the importance of sensory play.
“I want to dispel the myth that sensory play and sensory experiences are primarily for children with developmental or learning differences,” she said.
“Sensory experiences and learning through play are both critical for the healthy development of all children, especially those seven years old and under.”
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