Valentine’s Day sensory bin

Last year we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day but used the opportunity to do a lot of fun crafts and activities with the symbols of Valentine’s day, like hearts, candies, chocolates etc.

¬†This year I’ve come up with a sensory bin idea for this occasion.

What I used:

  • one big container (IKEA)
  • coloured rice – red, purple, and white (see how to make it below)
  • hearts, candies, feather, beads (whatever you have) to search for in the bin hidden in the rice
  • cups and bowls
  • tools like ladle, tongs, tweezers (I couldn’t find the tweezers ūüė¶ )
How I coloured the rice:
You need:
  • a zip lock bag (IKEA)
  • 2 cups of rice (any kind of white rice will do)
  • food colouring (liquid type is better than the gel)
  • a bit of alcohol (optional)
How to do it:
Put 2 cups of rice in the zip lock bag, add 1 teaspoonful of red (or any other colour) food colouring and half a teaspoonful of alcohol. The latter is optional. It helps to get brighter colours plus your rice will last long if not forever…
Now give it a shake until the colour is everywhere on the rice. (I didn’t but you can do it with your child. It must be fun for them to see how the rice changes colour)
I did the same with the purple rice. As I didn’t have purple food colouring I mixed it out of red and blue beforehand.
I dried the rice on baking paper to make sure it won’t stain my hand and to get rid of the smell of alcohol.
I put the rice in the container (half red, half purple Рmy daughter did the mixing) and I also provided some white rice for extra fun.

What I put in the bin:

  1.  wooden muffin
  2. purple butterfly beads
  3. sparkly candies (cut out of a foam sheet but you can add real candy, too)
  4. red jingle bells
  5. wooden hearts
  6. pegs with hearts on
  7. purple pompoms
  8. pink flower-shaped beads
  9.  red feathers
  10. felt hearts
I hid them in the rice as much as I could.
Extras: I cut out 6 hearts and wrote the letters of my daughter’s name on them. I also put them in the bin so she can make her name when she finds them. (The easiest way to make the foam hearts is to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter. I pressed it on the foam sheet and cut along the print it made.)
E. was pretty excited about the bin as soon as she saw it.

She poured in the extra white rice.


She happily used the ladle and the tongs.

She used the bowls to put in whatever she found. (It was interesting to see that she separated them like hearts, round things like pompoms, bells, and beads all by herself)

She also enjoyed mixing the coloured rice with her hands.

After she’d found and taken out everything she asked Daddy to find what she’d hidden. Then they took turns and did the same again and again.

The next day I gave her 2 sheets with the objects she can find in the bin on the top and she selected them in each column. We did a little counting as well.

On the second day I also added the letter of “I LOVE YOU”
With a little help she could put it together.

She’s been playing with it ever since.
-Mommy, we can play with it on the floor, too – she said and continued down there.

TWO other activities to do with the rice:

  1. write with fingers
  2. I spy bottle

    What are these? Come back later to check them out and I’ll show you in another post.

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Advent Calendar Activities Day 21-24

I know it’s February, but only by now have I managed to finish the last post about our advent activities of 2015. It’s hard to find time to work on the blog next to two kids.

So here comes some Christmassy and snowy projects:

  1. Count snowflakes

    I found this easy snowflake counting activity on a website I’ve been returning to a lot lately: Playdough to Plato

    I printed and laminated the snow scene cards. I gave E. a lot of snowflakes (I had different kinds at home, like felt, Styrofoam or shiny plastic)

    I thought putting the right number of snowflakes on the mat as it is shown would be way too easy for E. so I sneaked in some skip counting in the activity. I gave her the card with only the even numbers on – one at a time (2, 4, 6, 8, 10)

    At the beginning she didn’t understand why, but after having finished with card 6 she asked for card 8. So I knew immediately she understood what we were doing.

    After the activity she played a little more with the snowflakes. She grouped them according to their sizes, then made some patterns with the help of them.

  2.  Body swap

    I prepared this activity last year but she didn’t enjoy it so much. This year it wasn’t a hit either.

    I took the idea from itsybitsyfun.com. If you click on the link you’ll find the printable for free. You just need to print and cut out the body parts and give them to your child to make the snowman, the elf, the reindeer, and Santa. If your child enjoys this kind of activity (mine does not) you can build funny bodies, like one with a Santa head but a reindeer body and elf legs.

  3. Make a nativity scene

    When E. was 1,5 years old I made an advent calendar for her in which she found little farm animals every day and, as we were getting closer to the 24th, also some angels and the Holy Family. On the 24th we made the whole scene.

    November 2013 

    The base I made out of a chocolate box. I glued a brown sheet of felt on it added some shiny felt stars. This is what we called the stable and this is where we placed all the animals one by one every day.

    This year she got all the animals and angels, a Christmas tree too (not so authentic, eh?) to make the scene herself. (Although it was Christmas time, she  insisted on wearing her Halloween Jack-o-lantern costume)

  4. Christmas workout

    As I knew the 24th would be very busy time for us, parents, I prepared something dynamic for E. to run around and drain her Christmas excitement with one of her grandmas.

    I printed the Christmas workout cards and the fun could began. I couldn’t take photos as I was busy with the food and decoration for the evening. But as I heard it E. had a good time.

    http://www.toddlerapproved.com

    Join us next year too. I’m sure there will be some repetition of these activities but I’ll find out some new ones too.

    Have a look at the other advent activities:

    Advent Calendar Activities Day 1-6

    Advent Calendar Activities Day 7-13

    Advent Calendar Activities Day 14-20