Valentine’s Day is upon us. Liam LOVED these Valentine’s sensory bins I put together for him. I had planned water bins but while playing in the previous sensory bins, I discovered some concepts issues that needed to be addressed. If you take a look back at our Super Bowl LI Sensory Bins, you’ll notice a lot of beans! Liam kept describing the beans as soft. He should have said smooth. That’s when I decided we needed to talk about soft and smooth, hard and breakable, and synonyms for all those including negatives (using not).
Homeschool Room Valentine’s Sensory Bin
First, I’ll begin by saying the picture directly up and below this are the same. The picture below shows what it looked like when Liam turned on the pink lights. Onward. The base of this sensory bin is craft rose petals and small feathers. I will say that the feathers were far more annoying than I thought they would be, but they did serve their function. I tossed in candy heart lacing beads with pipe cleaners, pillow stickers, blocks, and felt hearts. Although there are elements requiring fine motor skills, I didn’t supply any tools because I needed his bare hands to touch everything.
Living Room Valentine’s Sensory Bin
In this Valentine’s sensory bin, I gave him tools to play and manipulate. Also, you may have noticed the red letters hiding in this bin. I added scoops, clips, and literacy concepts to this hard and soft sensory bin because he is more familiar with the textures of beans, rice and pom poms. We still were able to discuss all the same concepts as the bin in our homeschool room, just different materials with more benefits. This bin added fine motor skills, visual discrimination, visual sensory, auditory sensory, as well as tactile.
How We Played & Learned
The living room bin gave him far more tasks and engaged more senses, which he prefers. Although the random light up key and string of heart lights were a favorite, he mostly enjoyed finding the letters and placing them into their puzzle. This is not shown in the picture, but I had it sitting in the bay window, which is next to his table. Liam used the lip clips to pick up the pom poms and drop them in the cup. We opened the heart containers and filled them with different pieces from the bin. Then, we picked one at a time to shake and tried to guess what was inside. We discussed how they sounded and why they might sound different. We picked pieces, felt them, described them and discussed what it all meant for both bins.
Hard and Soft Concepts
In the living room sensory bin, you can see wooden hearts and gemstone hearts. The wood hearts were hard or solid but not breakable when dropped or not fragile and rough not smooth. The plastic heart gems were hard or solid, not breakable when dropped or not fragile and smooth not rough. The foam glitter hearts were rough or grainy, and feel solid at first but with enough pressure, they break. Yes, we actually tore one apart. We discussed fragility. How things may feel like a hard solid but can break from not being used or played with appropriately. In the homeschool bin, we squeezed the felt hearts and described them. They were soft, squishy, and do not break. Although, they could be torn apart if you’re a monster (Liam). He described the beans and rice correctly. HE’S GOT IT!
Also, in this bin were two large hearts (one has a smiley face and the other doesn’t). Before he touched these, I asked him to guess how he thought they’d feel. He guessed they’d both be hard and smooth. This guess was more exciting than him describing the beans and rice correctly. This meant he’s using his experience of concepts to think critically! HOORAY! Here comes the ticker tape parade. When he reached in to analyze the hearts, he realized he was wrong. After a few moments of convincing him that it’s good to be wrong as long as your interested in what’s correct, we discussed how one is soft or squishy, not hard and smooth and the other is smooth and hard. I’m proud to say this concept and the synonyms we used are stuck in stone.