5 Super Simple Last Minute Valentine’s Day Activities

5 Super Simple Last Minute Valentine's Day Activities for Kids from Vicki-Arnold.com

Did you realize that Valentine’s Day is this coming Friday? If my kids weren’t constantly reminding me to sign up for our homeschool group’s party, I might have forgotten. I’m not much on holidays, aside from Thanksgiving and December.

I’ve been working on some things around here and in the process I rounded up a few super simple activities to try with my kids this week. I thought I’d share them with you, too. And tomorrow, you are getting my first C post (I’m really rocking this routine, aren’t I? <insert eyeroll here>).

Most of these came from my fellow Kid Blogger Network bloggers. You should see those Pinterest boards! No, really, go look. And then look at this board, too. You’re welcome.

Simple Valentine's Day Art Project from This Sweet Life of Mine

Simple Valentine’s Day Art Project from This Sweet Life of Mine

Easy Valentine's Day Craft for Kids from One Perfect Day

Easy Last Minute Valentine’s Day Craft from One Perfect Day

Simple Valentine's Day Heart Craft for Kids from Inspiration Laboratories

Simple Valentine’s Day Heart Craft for Kids from Inspiration Laboratories

Fine Motor Valentine's Day Painting from Learn Play Imagine

Fine Motor Valentine’s Day Painting from Learn Play Imagine

The blog Hogar-Mujer has these really cute heart bookmarks that are easy to make, but the blog is in a foreign language so I don’t know if I have permission to share one of their photos or not. So, you will just have to head over and see the photo tutorial for yourself.

This final one may not qualify as “super simple” so I am just including it here as a bonus. I am hoping to have some puffy paint left to make these DIY window clings from The Connections We Share.

Sensory Bins – Resources for Beginners

Sensory bin resources for beginners. An ebook, a few Pinterest boards, and some advice to get you started...not overwhelmed.

Sensory Bin Curiosity & Worries

I have been curious about sensory bins/learning for a while. There seems to be a lot of buzz around sensory bins, apparently they are pretty awesome. To me, all I saw was the mess potential and none of my kids were the right ages for it. Or so I thought, but we’ll get to that.

Our current youngest is just about the busiest little guy I have ever met. I’ve had toddlers before (three, to be exact), but this kid takes the cake. Literally, if you don’t watch him.

Please do not pin photos with my children's faces in them. A graphic that you are welcomed to pin is at the top of this post. Thank you!

He’s a sweet little booger, but he gets into everything. All the time. My older three toddlers would actually sit and do things. Not this guy. He prefers climbing, exploring everyone’s stuff, and being outside (preferably with Daddy). And he is the cutest little copycat there ever was…

Please do not pin photos with my children's faces in them. A graphic that you are welcomed to pin is at the top of this post. Thank you!

One day it dawned on me. THIS! This is why people are so crazy about giving toddlers things to explore intentionally. This is why sensory bins, water tables, and tot school came about!

Because if I don’t give him something he CAN do, I’m just following him around all day saying, “No, no.”

Before we start with the resources, I must tell you that a few of these are affiliate links, see my policies for more info.

Introduction to Sensory Bins

One of my blogging friends, Sharla, wrote an ebook called Sensory Bins. When I saw it, my interest was piqued, but still…the mess potential. And then, along came a suggestion from my friend Becky and BAM! Sensory bins were doable!

So I bought the ebook. And read it. And loved it.

There was something mystical and complicated about sensory bins to me before I read the ebook. Sharla did a fine job of explaining what a sensory bin is, why you should bother with them, and how to put them together. For my fellow list lovers out there, she even includes some lists for you. Be still my heart.

Add a bag of lentils from my freezer, a recently vacated plastic tote, some various kitchen gadgets, Becky’s tip, and Sharla’s encouragement, and you get…

Please do not pin photos with my children's faces in them. A graphic that you are welcomed to pin is at the top of this post. Thank you!

Our first sensory bin experience! He actually sat still for over 30 minutes!! Major exclamation points!! I was also wrong about not having kids that would enjoy sensory bins, my older three also enjoy playing with this.

Sensory Bin Ideas

We tried rice, but that didn’t excite him nearly as much because, apparently, our little guy doesn’t appreciate things sticking to his hands. The rice did this more than the lentils. In hindsight, I should have let the rice reach room temp in the open air. I keep it in the freezer, too. I think the condensation as it warmed made it stickier faster than the lentils.

I am really looking forward to trying out more sensory bin ideas as our little guy grows. I’ve started a Pinterest board where I am collecting ideas, but I thought I would share a few links to some that are on our more immediate “must do” list:

Sensory Bin Resources

If you are interested in learning more about sensory bins for yourself, here are some resources I recommend:

Sensory Bins Ebook

Sharla’s ebook will help take the mystery out of sensory bins and encourage you to do what you can. She also has a large selection of sensory bins on her blog. Start with her round up post of their 25 favorite sensory bins.

Sensory Material Storage

If you intend to do this regularly, you will want to keep your materials organized so that you don’t have a cluttered mess floating all over your house and you will be able to easily find what you are looking for. Be sure to check out sensory material storage from Play Create Explore

Sensory Play Pinterest Boards

And don’t forget my new board, Homeschool :: Sensory Bins.

Ideas for Sensory Bin Materials

Look around the house for things you may already have to make your first bin. Here are a few ideas of things to look for:

  • rice
  • pebbles
  • beans
  • cotton balls
  • little animal figurines (Toobs are great for this)
  • trucks and cars
  • scoops, spoons, and measuring cups
  • tweezers
  • funnels

Our first bin was lentils with some measuring cups/spoons, funnel, and a couple random animal toys. I was more interested in seeing if this could actually work than creating a specific theme.

You also want to keep an eye out in clearance aisles. I found a pack of colorful plastic insects for 20 cents at Kroger on clearance.

If you order items from Amazon, be sure to sign up for their Prime program. You get a free 30 day trial that gives you free 2 day shipping (great for holiday shopping, just sayin’).

My Conclusion & Invitation

Overall, sensory bins are NOT that complicated. I intend to use them more in our homeschool, particularly to occupy the little guy while we do group work.

Do you use sensory bins in your home? Do you have a favorite? Please tell me how you use them in your home(school) and leave a link to your favorite bin in the comments so we can see it!

I’m sharing this post a few places and you may be interested in checking them out, too: