Tag: sensory bin fillers

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

Are you looking for a fun Valentine’s Day activity for your kids that doesn’t require glue or glitter? I learned a long time ago that I am not a crafty mom, but I am more than willing to set up open-ended play ideas for my kids! Sensory play has been a wonderful way for our girls to explore new tactile materials over the years. This simple Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin combines smooth textures and lots of opportunities for fine motor play and math discovery.

Valentine's Day Sensory Bin | activity ideas for kids, fine motor, colored rice, simple Valentine's activities, smart play ideas for preschoolers, fun sensory play, tactile activities, sensory bin fillers, learning through play

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you.You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

As I mentioned in this post about sensory bin storage, we keep a big basket down in our basement with all of our sensory bin materials: dried corn, peas, and beans, uncooked popcorn, and various shades of rice and noodles. (You can click here for instant access to our favorite tutorials about dyeing rice and noodles.) 

I’m usually not a big fan of using rice because cleanup can be a giant pain. However, the varied colors in this Valentine’s Day sensory bin make it worth it! For this sensory filler, I left 1/3 of the rice white, and split the rest into two colors: pink and red. The best part of using colored rice is adding fun accessories like funnels and jars. The sound of rice filling up a glass jar is a wonderful sensory experience for all ages!

Valentine's Day Sensory Bin | activity ideas for kids, fine motor, colored rice, simple Valentine's activities, smart play ideas for preschoolers, fun sensory play, tactile activities, sensory bin fillers, learning through play

You can extend the play of this Valentine’s Day sensory bin by changing out the accessories every week or so. We love using heart gems from dollar stores and ice cube trays to practice one-to-one correspondence (counting). We also have gathered these items:

  • red cups (these are our favorite)
  • heart-shaped cookie cutters (we have had these for years)
  • and a stainless steel bowl, funnel, and jar (glass or plastic, whatever your kids can handle)

You can also add magnetic letters or small heart-shaped foam stickers with letters written on them (see video below) for a literacy activity.

If you try this Valentine’s Day sensory bin, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Get four more Valentine’s Day activity ideas to help your child build attention span and independent play skills.

Just add your information below to get instant access to our FREE Valentine’s Day Invitations to Play download!

Jingle Bell Sensory Bin + Activity Ideas

Jingle Bell Sensory Bin + Activity Ideas

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…”
“Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock…”
“I love those J-I-N-G-L-E bells, oh!”

Christmas is on its way, and our toddlers and preschoolers could not be more excited! But trying to keep their little hands away from the Christmas tree might be a full-time job, and that’s why I love bringing out engaging activities like playdough and sensory bins. This jingle bell sensory bin has been a big hit at our house, and it might be simpler than you might think.

Jingle Bell Sensory Bin + Activity Ideas | Christmas Sensory Play Ideas, Tactile Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers, Learning Through Play

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you.You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

As I mentioned in this post about sensory bin storage, we keep a big basket down in our basement with all of our sensory bin materials: dried corn, peas, and beans, uncooked popcorn, and various shades of rice and noodles. (You can click here for instant access to our favorite tutorials about dyeing rice and noodles.) 

I had dyed a bunch of noodles green for St. Patrick’s Day. The variety of textures between the wagon wheels, rotini noodles, and shells is a lot of fun for tactile play. I thought it would make the perfect base for this new jingle bell sensory bin. (And noodles are a LOT easier to clean up than rice, which was the base of our last sensory bin!)

Jingle Bell Sensory Bin + Activity Ideas | Christmas Sensory Play Ideas, Tactile Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers, Learning Through Play

We have a set of multicolored bells (similar) that are a great size for my 6-year-old’s hands. I also added a few extra accessories to the bin:

  • green and red cups (these are our favorite)
  • ice cube trays
  • a plastic tablespoon
  • and a jar (glass or plastic, whatever your kids can handle)

You can also work on patterning and fine motor skills with this sensory bin! Place the bells in the ice cube tray (use tweezers, if you like), and then lace the bells on a shoelace or pipe cleaner.

 

If you try this jingle bell sensory bin, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


30 Winter Activities | Free School Holiday Survival Guide {flourishwithyourfamily.com}

While your kids are home from school this winter, try out this list of 30 “boredom-busting” activities for the whole family!

Here’s what’s included:

  • a weekly calendar template with tips for creating a flexible family schedule
  • a “menu” of more than 20 low-prep activities to keep your children happily engaged
  • lists of recommended seasonal books to grab at the library
  • a family reading log
  • our favorite resources for learning at home
  • AND 30 winter boredom busters!
Must-Have Sensory Bin Accessories

Must-Have Sensory Bin Accessories

“Mom, look! I covered all these rocks in mud!”

My five-year-old daughter stood in front of me, clutching her sand bucket filled to the top with heavy landscaping rocks, all wrapped (as promised) in a layer of mud. She beamed at me–her clothes, shoes, gloves, and skin all encrusted from head to toe.

“I love snow days!” she hollered as she ran back to her mud pit.

Kate has been my sensory-seeking, tactile-loving child since the day I handed her a metal bowl, some uncooked pinto beans, and a measuring cup. I have hundreds of photos of her hands in mud, playdough, and the myriad of sensory bins I have prepared for her over the years.

The snow day/mud pit example is just one of many–digging in wet sand at the beach, methodically removing each dried kernel of corn from a cob, saving a handful of acorns in a tiny glass jar–that make up a huge part of who my daughter is. Does it sound familiar to you? Read on!

"Must-Have" Sensory Bin Accessories

If you have young children, you may have seen their natural love for sensory play!

At your house, sensory play might look like:

  • getting messy with food
  • splashing water in the bathtub
  • digging in the dirt outside

In this sensory play series, we cover:

  1. the benefits of sensory play
  2. must-have sensory materials
  3. sensory bin storage

The good news for parents is this: sensory play doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! In fact, you can set up a simple sensory experience in three easy steps.

  1. Get a large container, a small bin, a wading pool, or a water table. Decide if you want to play inside or outside. (If you’re inside, put down a large sheet first to make clean-up a breeze!)
  2. Choose a filler. We reuse our food materials for many years, but there are a lot of non-food options as well.
  3. Add some accessories and let your children get to work!

We have slowly added to our sensory bin materials over the years. Here are a few of our recommended items! (Just a reminder, we use affiliate links at no additional cost to you.)

  • IKEA has many wonderful materials: colorful bowls, metal cookware and utensils
  • You can recycle many tools from your kitchen: empty jars, funnels, measuring cups, ice cube trays, creamers, muffin tins
  • Dollar stores often have small containers with screw-top and flip-top lids
  • You can add in tools and toys, like these:

Be sure to follow our Sensory Play board on Pinterest!

Do you have a child who likes to get messy? Bring the fun inside with a simple sensory bin!