Valentine's Day Sensory Bin
Rice sensory is great. It’s easy, quick to put together, and it’s almost always certain you’ll have all the supplies ready, right in your kitchen! Dying the rice adds that extra fun, and allows you to change it up for the season, or occasion. Then of course, by adding a few drops of essential oil is a great add-in. to spruce up your sensory bin with that familiar smell of that season! This is also a great way to add in calming oils into your children(s) play area.
For Valentine’s, I knew I wanted to use our ‘Bloom’ oil! Bloom has been precisely blended to deliver the amazing scent of a bouquet of flowers with a hint of citrus. Bloom essential oil will refresh your spirit, help keep you relaxed, aware, and grounded. Every time I smell it, I get memories of being a little girl and going into all the flower shops with my grandmother. It’s so neat how scents can trigger your memory like that!
To get started, you’ll need:
- Rice-1 cup per color
- Vinegar -1/2 tsp per cup of rice
- Gel food coloring
- Essential oil-scents of your choice
- Sealable plastic bag
- Tray to dry
You can do a mixture of colors, but for this bin, I just wanted to go with straight up pink. Red and pink would be pretty, too. If you want multiple colors, just do each step per color, and spread them out separately to dry. I typically do about 3-4 cups of rice for the size bin that we use. But you can do however many cups of rice you think is suitable. I have used both regular rice, and minute made rice, and both work perfectly! I put my rice in the sealable bag and use a toothpick to swirl the desired amount of gel food coloring into the bag. Then I add about 1/2 tsp of vinegar per cup of rice and shake it all up, until it’s equally distributed. Open the bag, and spread it out onto a tray lined with parchment paper. I like to use my silicone liner, since it always rinses right off, after.
To dry, spread out evenly onto the pan. This typically takes about 2-3 hours, depending on the temperature of your house. You can also set it in the oven at 250 degrees, for 20-30 minutes, stirring a couple of times through. This is what I typically do, as I like to make sure its super dry, and no wet pieces of dye that will get on the kiddos hands when they go to play!
After the rice is fully dried, you can add a few drops of your essential oil in. This step can also be done while adding in the food coloring, but I personally prefer to add it to the dried rice, since it dries instantly. I feel like its the final step to make it all complete! It’s like putting the cherry on top. I did about 5 drops for this amount of rice, and it had plenty of scent, without being over powering.
Once that’s done, you’re all ready to assemble your bin! The $1 section at Target and Michael’s is my go-to favorites to stock up on little seasonal add-ins for our sensory bin. I think I loved these felt hearts more than the girls did! I’m a sucker for Valentine’s décor! I always add cups of some sort, so they can scoop up the rice, and have fun stacking up their items. We had a lot of fun with this one, and Evelyn didn’t even have her hands in the bin before she was saying how good it smelled!