Ask any teacher about their favorite ways to teach kids and sensory activities will pop up in the discussion. What exactly are sensory activities? These are learning opportunities for kids of all ages that promote fine motor skills, increase socialization, support language and cognitive development, and can be calming for children in distress or with high anxiety.
These creative Valentine's Day sensory ideas will offer the kids in your life a break from the same old routines and give them something holiday-inspired to enjoy.
1. Valentine Sensory Bin
Use cotton balls and Dollar Tree finds to fill a red container and let the kids go to work. Fantastic Fun and Learning added some sorting bins to the side, as well as some heart-shaped gift containers to really let the kids use their imagination.
Learn More: Fantastic Fun and Learning
2. Marbled Valentine's Day Playdough
Mix your favorite reds, pinks, whites, and purples to give playdough or clay Valentine's Day twist. Include a few heart-shaped cookie cutters and a rolling pin and you've got the perfect sensory activity for kids. Besides, what kid do you know that doesn't enjoy playdough?
Learn More: The Educator's Spin on It
3. Red Hot Goop
Conversation Heart candies become a perfect addition to this easy-to-make Oobleck. Kids love this confusing mixture as it's both hard and gooey at the same time. Adding the Conversation Hearts will slowly turn the mixture into a variety of colors and will prove a favorite way to keep kids busy for quite some time.
Learn More: STEAMSational
4. Valentine's Day Sensory Sink
A sink full of colorful soap foam, some silicone baking tools, and a few cookie cutters make for some good clean fun for kids! Literally! Make ahead of time to keep younger kids from bursting at the seams while they wait for you to make it and then let them loose!
Learn More: Still Playing in School
5. Valentine's Day Slime
While we're on the subject of gooey things, slime is almost ALWAYS at the top of any kid's wish list. Add some art hearts, glitter, or other small objects to spice up the Valentine's Day vibes. Challenge them to a game of find and seek by hiding small objects in the slime.
Learn More: The Farm Girl Gabs
6. Valentine Water Sensory Play
A shallow Tupperware makes for an excellent Valentine bin to fill with red-colored water, cups, spoons, and anything else that can hold and pour water. Sprinkle in a few glittery hearts to amp up the sweetheart vibes.
Learn More: Things to Share and Remember
7. Valentine's Sensory Card
This fun idea is a great craft for toddlers and young kids alike. Making Valentine's Day cards are a tradition, so why not include some sensory play as well? A colored little rice, some glue, and some glitter and you have a great start to a beautiful craft!
Learn More: Parenting Chaos
8. Valentine Soap Letter Search
When it comes to ideas for toddlers, let them hunt for their alphabet in the midst of some foamy pink soap! Use plastic letters or letter sponges to keep the learning going.
Learn More: Inspiration Laboratories
9. Frozen Hearts Toddler Sensory Bin
10. Frozen Valentine's Oobleck
Do your kids love Oobleck? Well, the texture and sensory experience change when you freeze this crazy concoction and continue changing the longer you leave it out for kids to mess with. Include alphabet letters, heart-shaped sensory hearts, and more to maximize the cognitive processes.
Learn More: Inspiration Laboratories
11. Valentine Touch-Feely Hearts
Another craftivity that is perfect for kids to practice fine motor skills and increase the senses. Use buttons, paper, sequins, and other small craft finds to make perfect Valentine hearts for kids and their friends. The ability to pick up these small items will help increase their motor skills. Make it more challenging with plastic tweezers.
Learn More: Nurture Store
12. Color Mixing Sensory Bottles
Let your littles discover the power of color. They will learn what happens when one mixes with another and have a great time shaking the heck out of it to get the oil and water to mix. Keep it Valentine's themed by making the colors in shades of red, pink, and purple, and then watch it separate back out into individual colors.
Learn More: Preschool Inspirations
13. Heart Sensory Matching
Fill adorable heart-shaped balloons with items like rice, jello, water beads, corn, and more. Make two of each, and then challenge the kiddos to pair the correct ones together. Bonus if they can describe what they feel!
Learn More: Woodcrest Preschool
14. Valentine's Day Sensory Bin (Another Version)
This version of a sensory bin is full of interesting finds! Colored rice, feathers, scoops, cups, pom-poms, and anything you are able to rummage up will allow kids to play for hours and expand their imaginations.
Learn More: Messy Little Monster
15. February Sensory Bin: Alphabet & Sight Word Activities
16. Feed the Love Monster
This little monster is hungry for hearts! Because you can choose which option you want your child to find (color, number, etc) this will be a game they can play multiple times. Don't worry, you can let the kids go to town feeding this little monster!
Learn More: File Folder Heaven, Teachers Pay Teachers
17. Classroom Party Activity
This game and sensory activity combined is perfect for a preschool or primary classroom. A chalkboard with a bullseye drawn on it, some foam hearts, water, and some tongs entice kids to "glue" the hearts to the targets and earn points. Be sure to include prizes to make the effort extra rewarding!
Learn More: Kids Creative Chaos
18. Ready-Made Sensory Gifts
Looking for an awesome Valentine's Sensory bin for someone special? This ready-made kit helps kids learn how to spell their names, scoop, count, and more.
Learn More: Modern Silo on Etsy
19. Roses are Red Sensory Bottle
Sensory bottles are amazing at giving kids a way to focus when they need a calm moment. Include glitter and some rose petals to make this Valentine's Day version. The best part is you can recycle any water bottle, no need to be fancy.
Learn More: Hands-On Learning with Life Over C's
20. Squishy Heart Sensory Valentine
Clear hair gel, watercolors, glitter, and googly eyes give kids the perfect modality to practice tracing with their fingers and manipulating the objects. Warm the bag for a few seconds for an added layer of sensory stimulation.
Learn More: B-inspired Mama
21. Label the Monster Sensory Bin
Allow primary kids a fun learning opportunity as they learn how to label with a sensory bin twist! They must dig through the rice to search for the labels, locate them on the worksheet, and then copy the spelling. This one has a lot of bang for your buck!
Learn More: Creative Kindergarten Blog
22. Find the Hidden Hearts
Let kids excavate Valentine's Day hearts (or whatever treasure you decide to hide for this sweet holiday) out of cloud dough or sand. You could add digging tools, mini excavators, or simply allow them to use their hands for a no-fuss option.
Learn More: Days With Grey
23. Valentine's Day Sensory Kit
Keep the mess confined to this adorable tackle box, complete with all the supplies needed for a sensory overload. Easy for on the go or at home. Oh, and after the fun is over, you can help with a craft when you put all the pieces together!
Learn More: Gigil | Stem Activities for Kids
24. Bonding Time: Storytime Sensory
Remember the feeling of a ball pit at the arcade? Allow kids that same fun sensation as they sit in a kiddie pool or ball pit full of plastic balls while you read Valentine's Day-themed stories! They will love the sensation of the balls floating around them and the soothing nature of being told a story perfect for the holiday!
Learn More: Fun & Function
25. Edible Sensory Bin
Why not make something kids can use ALL their senses for? Smelling, feeling, tasting... wait, TASTING!? Yes, tasting! Cereal and candy make great sensory bins when accompanied by different containers to pour or pick up. Just make sure the kids know the difference between edible and non-edible bins!
Learn More: Normal Life Mom