I wasn’t going to post this for another week but my little man loves this Valentine’s sensory tub so much that I couldn’t help but be excited to share. Sensory tubs are a fun way to include holiday themes in your house without putting up a million decorations. I like using natural things in sensory tubs if possible and the combination of the two beans is perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Edited to add: I just discovered that there have been issues with dried kidney beans being toxic. As few as 4-5 beans ingested could cause stomach upset and more. Therefore, it is important to replace the red kidney beans in this sensory tub with red lentils.
As always, watch your children carefully. Even older kids you think may be past the “mouthing” stage may still put things in their mouths.
Valentine’s Sensory Tub
- Gather your materials. You will need a large pan, plastic tub, or Tupperware (FYI I bought a cute red one from Walmart for $1.43 but liked how the beans looked in this better so I returned it but had to share how low cost it can be!). You will also need some dried red lentils, dried navy beans, some heart glitter, and foam hearts.
- Add the beans and lentils to the pan. Next, let your little one play for a bit. Then ask if they want to make it even cooler?!
- Next, add the sparkly hearts and foam to make it a true Valentine’s sensory tub.
- Finally, dig in and play!
Remember that sensory tables and tubs are messy when you use them. Of course, using the dustbuster or broom a lot is typical. Our rule is that ooops spills are accidents (and we have a lot of those!) and you don’t get in trouble for accidents. If you spill on purpose, you get one warning then the Valentine’s sensory tub is put away until tomorrow when we will try again. It’s worked for us and kept both of us from getting too hung up on messes and focusing instead on the activity at hand.
Check out these reader favorites, sent in last year. Do you have a favorite Valentine book? Be sure to leave the title in the comments when you’re finished!
Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat. This book was one of my favorite stories to read for Valentine’s Day when I was an elementary librarian. In deGroat’s story, a class of assorted animals write Valentine poems for all of their classmates. One student, previously picked on by some of his classmates, uses the Valentine card-exchange to send rude messages to the bullies. Ultimately, the classmates apologize and then rewrite their poems, reminding readers of the value of kind expression.
Sent in by Amber @ Librarianism Chronicles
Dinosaur Valentine by Liza Donnelly is a hit every year. It is a very delightful story about a little dinosaur enthusiast who makes dinosaur valentines with his dog. They deliver their valentines and as they are walking through the woods, they receive a mysterious valentine with an invitation to a party. Things take a turn from realist fiction as they spot an Othnielia in the dog catchers truck! The race is on to save her. They save her after a few close calls and find out she is the one who invited them to a party – a dinosaur party!
Sent in by Amanda@ Going Green In Gainsville
Gossie by Olivier Dunrea. This a wonderful story about a sweet little gosling and her favorite red boots. Simple, You and your little one will enjoy following Gossie on her adventures. She shares with you all the ways she loves to wear her red boots until one day she can’t find them. Gossie’s experiences along the way with her boots will help teach your toddler about the notions of backward, forward, uphill, downhill, etc. As if that isn’t enough, this little gem ends with a terrific example of sharing and friendship when she finds them on her friend Gertie. My almost two-year-old daughter loves it and I love it as well. Sent in by Chris @ Momtonic
I Love You This Much by Lynn Hodges. This story between parent and child is about how the parent loves the child throughout the day. The same way God loves his children throughout the day. The lullaby tells just how much the parent loves the child. It makes me cry every time I read the book to my girls.
Sent in by Andi @ Memories Are The Scraps Of Life
A Circle Is Not a Valentine by H. Werner Zimmerman. It is a humorous little story about Alphonse, who wants to paint a valentine for his mouse friend. It is a great story that promotes participation from the kids, and then helps them to identify different shapes. My girls love to read it over and over again!
Sent in by Karen @ Growing With The Girls
Thanks! I was struggling with what to put in my sensory bin next. We just finished playing with two boxes of noodles that I made rainbow-colored using food coloring and vinegar, but we’ve had those since the beginning of December in our bin and need something different. Off to the dollar store to see what hearts I can find there!
.-= Sela´s last blog ..Mommy Monday – Teething =-.
Just curious – will you be able to get all the glitter out of the beans to cook them later?
Yeah I think so- the glitter is big, not even really glitter so much as confetti. I should edit it and say that! We plan on using some of the beans for another craft!
I love the sensory box:D
.-= kristi´s last blog ..Can Barbie still wear white? =-.
My Boaz's Ruth says
How big is the bin you use for this? is it left out all the time, or only when in use?
I’ve been thinking about putting something together like this, but not as an “all the time” but as a “Put everything in to use tonight and maybe tomorrow, then clean it up” again. And obviously, for this, it’s kind of kept me from using it!
.-= My Boaz’s Ruth´s last blog ..Toys I really played with: Dollhouse =-.
I have it on the kitchen counter and when he wants it he asks for it. I will put all the insides into a zip lock bag in a few days and then probably bring it back out for a few days in a few weeks. So sorta both 🙂
I love the idea of using a sensory bin. I made the winter one and it was a big hit. My younger kids loved it! We will definitely be doing this one…Thanks for sharing 🙂
.-= Belinda´s last blog ..U2- Pride(In the Name of Love)… A Tribute to MLK =-.
Trixie B says
What did you do with the contents of the last sensory bin? Do you trash it or save it for another rainy day? I love the idea, as does my 2 year old. I am leaning toward saving the contents in a ziploc for another day, but just wonder what you do.
Ziplock and it gets put away – I will switch it out for variety / save it for next year. I still have our Halloween one in a tub ( covered and put in a cupboard) and he pulls it out all the time .
What an awesome idea! I have never done one of these but will this time. I’m thinking I might also hide red or pink letters in it to that we are studying about. Thanks for the great idea!!!
love love this. I think we will be making one just like this. thanks
.-= Beverly´s last blog ..Hair Cut =-.
Deborah Stewart says
I just love all of your ideas. You can really adapt this idea to many ages!
The Activity Mom says
This turned out great. I tend to get hung up on messes but this looks too fun not to try! =)
Adore this!!!!!! Our sensory table needs a little HEART and LOVE!
.-= katherinemarie´s last blog ..Kiddie Laundry Mat =-.
thank you for sharing this idea. I can’t wait to explore this sensory.
maryanne @ mama smiles says
Great idea! I haven’t dared try a sensory tub with my kids, but it would probably work with your rules…
.-= maryanne @ mama smiles´s last blog ..Charts for preschoolers =-.
We have never done a sensory box here but this one is awfully tempting. How old is too old for such play?
.-= Fairion´s last blog ..Laptop Lunchbox =-.
My 5 year olds in PreK loved sensory tables. I don’t think I’d put an age limit on it , I would just add more challenging things to it. Tweezers to pick things up, scales to weigh cups of contents etc… but still allow it to be free play.
I did this with my 2 1/2 year old son. I am always looking for new ideas, have oatmeal and colored rice that we use quite a bit. This is a great addition to the collection. I also had us sorting the white ones from the red ones. This bin keeps his attention for a very long time. We even added his dump truck and backhoe to the mix.
Cute,cute,cute. As usual! I totally didnt know that about the Kidney Beans!
.-= Bre´s last blog ..Save The Construction Paper! =-.
Vi Scheeler says
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