Not only is it the coldest I think I’ve ever known it today (-2 but feels like -5) but it’s raining as well. Whilst the Little Tots love getting out in all weathers the rain in this temperature is probably a little bit too cold for us so this morning. So faced with a morning indoors I wanted to put together a quick activity of them.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I decided to grab a shallow tray and fill it with as many different red textured objects as I could find in the playroom to create this Valentine’s Discover Basket.


Of course you could use this for any time of year as it’s a great way to work on colour recognition….and it’s mess free!

In our Valentine’s Discovery Basket there is:

  • Pom poms
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Wooden blocks
  • Soft play food
  • Scraps of material
  • Silicone molds
  • Heart gems
  • Feathers
  • Megablocks
  • Foam heart stickers
  • Plastic lids

Older children could help put this together and make a colour treasure hunt game out of it which is what my preschoolers love to do when the weather is bad.


The Little Tots dived straight into to explore when I set this in front of them. Some of the items they could name such as “block”, “apple” and “pom pom” and others they were intrigued as to what they were.


The heart gems were used to transfer between the silicone molds (as we have already done with this simple Valentine Maths) and a red pot. It was lovely to see them work together with this and help each other find the hidden gems under everything else.


Discovery baskets are also ideal for babies, as long as you remove any items that might pose a choking hazard. The different textures provide a lovely sensory element to this and a great way to start talking about how the objects all felt.


We’ve had this out for the whole week now and it’s been played with everyday. It’s also been moved into the play kitchen so they can cook up some red delights for me and into the tent where they’ve enjoyed tipping out the entire contents.

I’ve also made green and blue sensory bins as well as this lovely summer one in the past using rice but I didn’t have time to make any red rice this morning.

If you’re new to sensory bins have a read of my How to Create a Sensory Bin post which has lots of ideas for fillers, themes and the benefits of them.

Valentine's Discovery Basket

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