Instead of making sweets the center of attraction for the holidays, why not turn that old rice or pasta into an activity your toddler will love with this Valentines Day Sensory Bin?! Your child will love the feel of the grains in their hands and have a blast shoveling the contents into cups or through funnels.
WHAT IS A SENSORY BIN?
A sensory bin is typically a storage container filled with a variety of tactile materials (think uncooked rice, beans, pasta, sand, water, etc) made to stimulate the senses in your child. They are great hands-on tools that help your child explore, play and even discover new stimuli. You can purchase them or make them at home and tailor them to your child’s likes/needs.
THE BENEFITS OF A SENSORY BIN
- Experiential play
- Everyday Motor Skills
- Expanding Language Development
My 2 year old LOVES sensory bins. I’ve made it a thing now in this house. We started with just regular rice and pasta and have now transitioned to bins with more themes and flair like this Valentines Day Sensory Bin, full of conversation heart candies and felt heart-shaped stickers. We also made Rainbow Rice (coming soon!) for fun play for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m thinking I will cover every holiday with a themed sensory bin. I mean, would you expect anything less from me?!
Coloring your grains is super easy and the only thing you might need to keep in mind is what type of food coloring you use. I’ve used a few different ones now and my favorite is just good old fashioned liquid food coloring. They require less water (as opposed to the gel colors) and tend to immediately dry out. Have fun with your Valentines Day Sensory Bin too! Use whatever grains you want for a textured feel. I went with rice, pasta, and beans. Always remember that this is just a foundation for wherever you want to go with this.*
*I fully support you and your Valentines Day Sensory Bin dreams…
- 2 c. rice, uncooked
- 1 c. pasta, uncooked
- 1 c. white beans, uncooked
- food coloring of choice
- 2 tsp. water (separated into 1/2 tsp. per colored grain)
- addition add-ins like conversation hearts, felt stickers, etc.
- 4 plastic baggies or containers you don’t mind getting stained
- Place 1 c. of rice/pasta/beans into each baggie.
- Mix 1/2 tsp. of water + 15-20 drops of food coloring per color.
- Place into the baggie, zip up completely and then shake the heck out of it until the color has spread evenly. You might need to add another 1/4 tsp of water along with a couple more drops of coloring if it doesn’t coat it perfectly.
- Place the rice out on a piece of parchment paper, aluminum foil, baking sheet, or paper towel and allow to dry (see notes).
- Once completely dry, pour all colors into a small storage bin.
Depending on the type of food coloring you use, you might have to leave out to dry longer. I found using the regular liquid food coloring dried up rather quickly (in an hour, especially for the rice), however you might need to leave out overnight.
Be on the lookout for more crafts and activities over here on Fork and Beans. I’m finding my stride in this motherhood thing and am starting to have some serious fun with it. Check out this link for some of my craft ideas thus far…