What do you do when 5/6 of the people in your house absolutely adore pink? You make a pink sensory bin! I was dyeing blue rice for another bin we’ll be doing soon, when Jaida, my first grader started begging me for pink rice. I figured ‘why not?’ and we went ahead and did that too. This pretty pink sensory bin for Valentine’s Day was the result!

– Life Over C's valentine's day themed sensory bin for preschoolers

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin with Rice

  • Pink Dyed Rice
  • Pink Pipe Cleaners
  • Cupcake Liners
  • Heart Buttons
  • Pink Pom Poms
  • Plastic Fork

To dye the rice:

I used 2 gallon size zip top bags and put 6 cups of rice into each.

Then I take a dab of gel food coloring (on the tip of a knife) and put it in the rice.

Pump 10 squirts of hand sanitizer into the bag.

Seal. Put another bag around it and seal.

Squish until all the rice is uniformly dyed.

Open the zip top bag and let the rice sit until dry.

If you are impatient, you can pour the rice into a cake pan and set it next to a heater or fan. But I find that the rice dries quickly enough that I don’t have to do that unless I’m in a really big hurry.

After the rice was dry, I poured it all into our sensory bin, which is a big plastic tub.

– Life Over C's pink rice sensory bin

I sprinkled all the other items over the rice and let the kids play!

The tongs were new (a gift from Grandma!), so the kids were super excited to try to pick up the grains of rice as if they were using chop sticks. Absolutely perfect for small motor skills.

– Life Over C's sensory & fine motor play

They made cupcakes complete with “frosting” and decorations on top.

– Life Over C's sensory pretend play

In general, the first time I give my kids a sensory bin, I let them explore it with no directions from me. We often use our sensory bins in learning activities, but never on the first experience. This way, when I do put a learning activity in the bin, they are not as distracted by the details of the bin.

– Life Over C's sensory cup cake

Plus, they can easily create learning activities of their own that I couldn’t have planned for them. Making patterns, finding matching items, creating designs with the pipe cleaners, counting buttons, comparing the sizes of the felt hearts, etc.

Many times I will use a sensory bin as a motivator for the kids to finish their ‘boring’ school work too. All four of my girls love playing in them. Yes, even my 11 1/2 year old! In fact, the older kids fight to have their turn in them!

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– Life Over C's valentine's day themed sensory bin for preschoolers
author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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