February is the month of love and Valentines Day! This loved-up day offers a great opportunity for awesome sensory activities that all children can get involved with. Sensory play is meant to stimulate a child's senses, and this kind of play helps their development across the board. Here are 10 of my favourite Valentines Day Sensory Activities you can use with your children today!
NB: These activities are great for young children, but please make sure to supervise them and hold off on them if your child is still putting things in their mouth.
Valentines Cards With Shaving Foam
Similarly to how we made marble paintings in this article, you are going to need to squirt some shaving foam into a tray and drip over some food colouring. Using a popsicle stick or straw, swirl the dye around the foam, making pretty patterns. Then lay over a sheet of white card and press gently. Lift the card and scrape off the remaining foam to reveal a lovely tie dye pattern. You can then add decorations on to your coloured card once dry and create a Valentines Day Card!
Valentines Water Bead Sensory Bin
This Valentine’s Day sensory bin is a fun way to combine sensory play with beginning math skills. Children can explore the interesting texture of the water beads with their hands (be sure they do not put them in their mouth!), or use the tweezers/tongs to pick out beads from the tray and place into a bowl. To turn this activity into a simple math game, just add a set of dice and ask children to count out the number shown on the dice.
Valentines Sensory Bottles
Children love sensory bottles. And the imaginative ways they can use them are endless. Sensory Bottles allow children to enjoy sensory play without any mess. To make one, just pour out a little bit of water from the bottle and pour in your glue. Add in any glitter, beads or decorative objects you want and then seal the bottle tightly. Give it a shake and you have your sensory bottle!
Candy Hearts Oobleck
You will need; 1 cup cornstarch, 1-1.5 Cups water, bowl, spoon, food colouring, shallow pan
This is one of my faves; candy heart oobleck! Once you learn how to make oobleck, you won’t be able to stop! Not only is homemade oobleck an awesome science project to explore non-Newtonian fluids (read more about that below), it’s an incredible sensory play recipe for kids who really love to dig in and explore with their sense of touch. To make oobleck, add the cornstarch into a bowl and slowly add 1 cup of water - this will get messy! Continue adding water and bits of cornstarch until you reach the desired consistency - you don’t want it to be very crumbly, but you also don’t want it to be very soupy either. Then add in some pink food colouring and any decorations you may want!
Rose Scented Playdough
This recipe combines rose water and dried rose petals with my favourite no-cook playdough recipe. You can even involve the children with making the playdough to extend the learning. You will need;
2 cups cornflour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Pink food colouring
Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil together in a large bowl. Add pink food colouring and a few drops of rose water to boiling water. Mix the water into the dry playdough mixture and once combined turn out the whole batch onto your kitchen bench. Knead the mixture until smooth. And voila - rose scented playdough!
My Fizzy Valentine
You will need;
1 cup Baking Soda,
1 tablespoon Washable red paint
2-3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup vinegar
2 squirt bottles
1/2 cup of water with food colouring in it (any colour)
2 small bowls
Think LUSH bath bombs but homemade! This is a bit of a lengthy activity but a firm favourite! First, mix the baking soda with the paint and 2 tablespoons of water and then press firmly into the heart moulds. You will need to leave these overnight to set. When it comes to the actual fizzy activity, set up your area with two small bowls, food colouring, vinegar, your 1/2 cup of water and your hearts.
Place 2 hearts in each bowl and also place 1 squirty bottle beside each bowl.
Grab 1/2 cup of vinegar and place it in one of the squirty bottles. In the second bottle, add 2 drops of food colouring as well as the 1/2 cup of water. The purpose of adding food colouring to the water is to make it distinguishable from the vinegar. Ask your child to add the water (with the food colouring) to the hearts and ask them what is happening.
Next, add the vinegar to the other bowl and watch as it fizzes away, revealing all the beautiful colours.
Valentines Sensory Tubs
Pom-poms, pipe cleaners, sparkly hearts, and plastic tub = fun sensory tubs for little ones!! I picked up some simple bits at the local Poundland or craft store and decided to throw them in a tub and let the kiddos have at it. And they had a blast! I love the Poundland for things like this. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to let my kids have fun. And there are no rules as to what you put in these sensory tubs. Add in options like using scoops or tongs to help develop fine motor skills.
Edible Chocolate Slime
You will need; 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/3 cup coconut milk
Slime is a firm favourite for any child, and what makes it better? Chocolate flavoured! Although this may not taste amazing, it is safe to eat, so needs little supervision once it has been made. To make this edible slime, whisk together cornstarch and cocoa powder in mixing bowl. Heat 1/3 cup coconut milk in microwave until warm (not steaming or boiling). This should only take about 20 seconds - adults should handle this step. Be sure to use a microwave-safe bowl and handle with care. Pour warm coconut milk into mixing bowl with cornstarch and cocoa powder. Milk together with a spoon until a smooth slime begins to form. You can even add in chocolate chips for extra fun and to make it look like a Valentines Day cookie!
Valentine’s Day Frozen Sensory Dough
You will need; 1 box cornstarch, 1 bottle shaving foam
Optional ingredients; food colouring, essential oils
This could not be easier to make but provides hours of fun! Add 1 bottle of shaving cream to your cornstarch in a bowl. Lightly fold together. Viola! To make it completely frozen, it will take about 2-3 hours. TO make it Valentines themed, add in some pink food colouring and some crafty bits which the children can discover as the frozen dough melts.
Valentines Day Cookies
Who doesn't love a sweet treat on Valentines Day? And cooking is such a great sensory activity that all children can get involved with. From feeling the ingredients to tasting the dough (and the end product of course!), making Valentines Day cookies is a fantastic sensory activity that also allows the practice of lots of motor skills, following instructions and expression of creativity. I use this recipe as it is vegan-friendly and therefore the children can eat the raw dough to their hearts content!