Happy 2014, friends! This year is going to be so much fun! I’ve got lots of exciting things up my sleeve that we’ll be diving into next week, but today I want to share a fun little Valentine idea for kids to ease us all back in. As you know, sensory play is still “all the rage” in the kid blog world, and with good reason. Research has shown the many benefits of sensory play, and I’ve written about how sensory play and language development go hand-in-hand. So, instead of sweet treats, why not whip up a batch of easy sensory bottle valentines this year? I’ve even included my first ever free printable to make life even easier- I hope you like it!
The inspiration for this post actually came from valentines I made for our playgroup friends two years ago, when the twins had just turned one and this blog as we know it today was just a twinkle in my eye 😉 You can see the original post here– it’s crazy how much my kiddos have grown since then!
To make your own sensory bottle valentines, you’ll need just a few materials (this section contains Amazon affiliate links):
- Water bottles (we used AquaBalls from the grocery store for these, but any small water bottle will do)
- Filler (we used beads and pipe cleaners provided by Craft Project Ideas.com as well as a generous dose of glitter)
- Gorilla Glue or similar product
- Optional: Printable Labels (download below)
- Yarn or ribbon
After you’ve gathered your materials, simply pop them into your clean bottle, fill with water (leave a little room at the top), add some Gorilla Glue (a little goes a looong way) to the inside of your lid for security, and twist it on. Oh, and aren’t those twisty pipe cleaners fun? I made them by twirling sections of the pipe cleaners around a pencil.
After your glue has dried, print out a set of labels (I used card stock), cut them out, and tie them on with a little yarn or ribbon. Then hand them off to one of your little stinkers for investigation.
I love repeating activities as the twins get older to see how their play evolves. As 13-month-olds, they were fascinated by the colors and sparkles and loved the act of shaking and rolling the bottles. Now that they are three, they are still fascinated by what’s inside the bottle, but they are much more vocal about it. Two years ago, I was doing most of the talking, and now my role has changed to one of listening and answering questions. “What is that, Mommy?” “How’d it get in there, Mommy?” “You made this just for me, Mommy? T’anks!” We were also able to use them to play “Eye Spy,” which is something you could do to extend this activity for preschoolers. Including a mini “Eye Spy” card with the label containing clues about the different filler items (ex: “Can you find something red?”) would be easy to do and would make this valentine appropriate for a variety of ages. Oh, and the twins also discovered that these particular water bottles are perfect for bowling 😉 Go figure!
Here is a link to download the labels- please email me at stephanie(at)two-daloo.com with any issues!
Looking for more candy-free valentines for kids? Fun At Home With Kids just published a roundup of 15 creative candy-free valentines to inspire you!