You won’t need too many materials to put together this simple valentine sensory bin. It’s just what you need for your valentine activities for preschoolers.
Repeat after me, “Sensory play does not need to be complicated.”
Now, I love a good fancy-schmancy sensory play set up sometimes. But there is nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with a super simple sensory play invitation.
If you delve into the sensory ideas here on Fun-A-Day, you’ll see they have quite a range. Sometimes they involve homemade, dyed sensory materials arranged in a specific manner. Other times they involve a simple sensory base and some sensory tools.
No matter the setup, I can assure you that the children had a blast as they played and learned.
Valentine Sensory Bin
This Valentine’s Day sensory bin definitely falls into the simple category. It uses just a few materials
But that doesn’t make it any less fun or engaging. And it’s chock-full of learning opportunities.
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t really need much to get the valentine sensory activity set up for your students!
Here’s what went into this valentine sensory bin:
You’ll also want:
You can add additional sensory tools if you want to. But you definitely shouldn’t feel like you need to! Here are some other items you could include:
Please note that this sensory bin isn’t suitable for children who still put things in their mouths, ears, etc.
For younger children, I suggest putting the water beads in a well-sealed plastic bag instead. Sensory bags offer a lot of sensory input for toddlers and babies!
Directions for the Red Water Beads Bin
The set-up for the valentine sensory bin activity is pretty simple. But you will need to a tiny bit of prep-work the day before.
Start off by expanding your water beads. This is the part you’ll want to do the day before the activity. You can also have the kids help you do this! They’ll be interested in how the beads grow from tiny little specks to marble-sized water beads.
To expand the water beads, pour a teaspoon of clear beads and a teaspoon of red beads into a bowl. Add a cup or two of water. Let the beads sit in the water until they’re about the size of marbles. We tend to leave them in the water for about a day, adding more water if needed.
And of course, if you’re putting together a larger bin, you’ll want to use more water beads.
Once the water beads are ready, it’s time to assemble your valentine sensory bin! Again, the kids can help you with some of this. If you’d rather have the bin be a surprise, you can quickly put it together yourself.
Use the colander to drain any excess water from the water beads. Then pour the beads into a large bin or sensory table.
After that, add any extras you’d like to use. We dropped in some red acrylic hearts along with a heart-shaped container.
Once you have everything in the bin, it’s time to let the children play!
Learn and Play with a Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin
Depending on your students, you’ll see a variety of play with the valentine sensory bin.
Related: Valentine’s Day Science Activities
Some children will just want to run their hands through the water beads. They have such an interesting texture. The texture of the beads can be very soothing for some kids (and adults!).
Other children might be interested in sorting the items in the sensory bin. This might mean placing red water beads in one container, with the clear water beads going into a different container. Or the children might just search out all of the acrylic hearts in the bin.
You’ll likely see a lot of scooping and pouring as well. The kids might do this with their hands or the heart-shaped container. Water beads do bounce, so you’ll want to set clear expectations ahead of time. For example, “The water beads need to stay in the bin.” This will help keep the bouncing (and chasing beads around the room) to a minimum as the children scoop and pour.
More Ideas for Your Valentine Sensory Bin
Here are additional ways you can use the valentine water beads bin with the kids.
Add laminated letter cards. The children can use the cards to make their names or put the letters into alphabetical order.
Laminate valentine printable number cards and put them into the bin. The kids can count acrylic hearts or water beads out for each number.
Add containers of different sizes, along with scoops or spoons. Encourage the children to count how many scoops it takes to fill each of the different containers.
After letting the kids play with the valentine sensory bin, don’t throw out the beads out just yet. Try doing some water bead experiments with the kids! Or lay them out so the children can observe what happens as they dry out.
You can even let the kids hammer the water beads!
How do you think your students will engage with the valentine sensory bin? Make sure to let me know in the comments below!
Preschool Valentine Lesson Plans
Pair your Valentine’s Day sensory bin with a set of fully developed preschool lesson plans from Preschool Teacher 101. Click on the image below to learn more about the product.
Join the waiting list to become a member of The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101 today. The membership will grant you access to some amazing lesson plans, song packs, activity packs, teaching resources, and more! Check out some of our other resources great for Valentine’s Day!