Easy Dyed Chickpea Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

Feb 9, 2015

How is it already almost Valentine's Day?! Thankfully, this Valentine's sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers is so easy to whip up, you can easily put it together for some last minute Valentine's fun. Plus, it's gorgeous! And it's the perfect way to introduce you to our favorite sensory bin filler: dyed chickpeas!

For this Valentine's sensory bin, I used:

  • 3 cups of dried chickpeas (1 cup per color)
  • liquid watercolors in red and metallic pearl white
  • resealable plastic bag (to color the chickpeas)
  • heart cookie cutters
  • red measuring spoons
  • large dish or sensory bin container

Although this sensory bin may look like it required a lot of effort, it certainly did not. If you have never tried using dried chickpeas as a sensory bin filler, then you are missing out! Dyed chickpeas are my favorite sensory bin filler for the simple fact that they do not need a long period of time to dry like rice does when you color it. Instead, the chickpeas dry almost instantly when they are dyed. And dyed chickpeas are certainly much easier to clean up than little grains of rice!

Just like colored rice, dyed chickpeas last for a long time. We're still playing with the same bag of colored chickpeas from the summer (so already 7 or 8 months).

To color the chickpeas, put one cup of dried chickpeas in a resealable plastic bag. Add a generous squirt of liquid watercolors to the bag. Seal it and shake! Shake until the color is well distributed. You may need to add another squirt of liquid watercolors to evenly coat the chickpeas. Then lay the chickpeas on a piece of paper towel or parchment paper to make sure the chickpeas are dry. Like I mentioned though, the chickpeas dry pretty quickly (usually a minute or two). For this bin, I used red, metallic pearl white, and pink (just a squirt of the red and a squirt of the metallic white together) dyed chickpeas.
Then add some heart shaped cookie cutters and some scooping utensils and it's ready to go!

My boys love to scoop and pour the chickpeas all over. Like, I mean, all over the place. So to help contain the mess, I usually lay a shower curtain or sheet underneath the sensory bin. Then when they're done playing I can just pick up the shower curtain and dump the chickpeas back into the bin. That's my sensory play tip!

Article Author Dyan Robson
Dyan Robson

Read more from Dyan here.

Married to her high school sweetheart, Dyan is mom to two boys, J and K, who also teaches piano out of her home. On her blog And Next Comes L, Dyan shares her story of raising a child with hyperlexia, hypernumeracy and autism, amongst a variety of sensory activities for kids. You can find out more about their story on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.