Valentine Sensory Bin

Do your little/big ones like sensory bins? Mine LOVE them! We have done a variety including our Spring Sensory Bin, Farm Corn and Straw Bin, and our Birdseed Sensory Bin… and even my big 6 1/2 year loves them.

Each time I introduce a new style of bin they immediately flock to it and spend hours (#momwin!) playing and using their imagination. Not only is it a sensory exploration but my girls take it to another level by adding toys and extending their play time with it.

This Valentine Rice Bin, however peaked their interest even more than any of our other ones. It must be the fun colored rice that did it for them because I have left this out for several days and they keep coming back to it and fighting over who is playing with it.

This was my first time dying rice and not only was it super easy but it only requires a few materials that you probably already have in your kitchen. See our materials and steps below:

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  • White rice
  • Food coloring (I love this kind!
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Plastic bags
  • Trays (We use these for almost everything!)
  • Parchment paper
  • Fun loose parts to mix in such as buttons, Pom poms, cut up straws, etc…
  • Additional fun tools for the finished bin such as cups, fine motor tools, tongs,  silicone baking cups, measuring cups, etc…

Step 1-

Divide your rice into separate bags for your different colors. I opted for four colors: dark pink, light pink, purple, light blue/turquoise…because blue is now a valentine color, right?!

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Step 2-

Add approximately a teaspoon or two of rubbing alcohol…depending on how much rice is in your bag. A large bag with two or more cups of rice may require a tablespoon or more of alcohol.

Shake the bag around and massage the alcohol into the rice to evenly coat it.

Step 3-

Add a few drops (or more if want a more intense color) of the food coloring to your bag and shake it and massage again to dye the rice.

Spread the rice onto a tray lined with parchment paper to dry. I let mine dry overnight before using.

Repeat the above steps for your other colors.


NOW, onto the fun stuff! Sensory Play!

The next day, when the rice was dry, I mixed a few scoops of each color into my bin I wanted to use. I used a take-out tray I saved but this would also be great in a plastic tote or a bin with a lid.

I threw in some fun loose parts for my girls to scoop up or cover and hide. I provided plenty of tools for them to choose from such as cups, scoops, and our fine motor tools that we use ALL the time. The scoops that come in protein or shake mixes are great to save for this!

If you are apprehensive about the potential mess, use a tray or towel underneath for easy clean up after.

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Their toys always make their way into these bins! They spent a good 20 minutes taking turns burying their little genies to see who could find the “special” one.

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What are your kid’s favorite sensory play ideas? Does the mess bother you or do you embrace it?!

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Looking for more Valentine ideas? Check out our Monochromatic Collage: Red StudyHeart Art ~ Four Ways, and our fun Spin Art Heart Garland!