These long winter days spent inside could really use some fresh new ideas for indoor play. I’m thrilled to share some inspiration for sensory play with Learning Resources Primary Science Sensory Tubes! These tubes offer many different opportunities for fun and exploration all throughout the year. They can be filled with items from nature or swapped for some seasonal and thematic fun! What’s great is they provide a chance for calming sensory play, without leaving a huge mess behind!

The Learning Resources Primary Science Sensory Tubes kit comes with 4 clear tubes and assorted primary-colored tops. The tops are interchangeable and have a closed or vented option (tops with holes). This allows for maximizing the sensory experience. They can more easily listen, look and learn when playing. All you really need to do is fill them in order to begin playing!

I decided to raid my craft closet for anything with different colors, textures, consistencies, noises, etc., to fill the tubes with. This is where the excitement begins! Something to keep in mind is there really is no “wrong” or “right way” to fill these for sensory play. Don’t feel like you need to go out and purchase anything special- I bet you can get creative with things in your home. Fill them with surprises, or have your kids come up with ideas of their own!

 I love that they can easily be stored for play throughout the season and eventually swapped out to leave kids engaged all over again! 

I decided to make one sensory tube with pink and red-colored rice and create a “hide and seek” aspect by adding some conversation hearts. You can alter the way to “play” with the sensory tube to best fit your audience. Some of your primary learners can identify colors, search and find letters or shapes, play “I say something…” while some more intermediate learners can search, find and read the love messages. 

If you’re looking for some other great ways to fill your tubes, the inspiration board above provides many great opportunities! There are great colors, textures, shapes, and sizes for sensory play and exploration. 

If you’re looking to make one with water and glitter, follow the steps below!


  • Warm Water
  • Clear Glue
  • Glitter


  • Fill the tube with warm water
  • Add a squirt of clear glue or glitter glue
  • Add assorted color glitter and/or shaped confetti 
  • Screw on the top, shake to stir

It’s also a good idea to think about which supplies might be best for a closed top or vented top option. I love to add materials that might create interesting sounds to activate all senses, such as tissue paper, craft paper, beads, shells, etc. 

To extend their use and incorporate some math skills, these sensory tubes would also make a great estimation station. They can be filled with various objects, and kids can take turns estimating the number of objects inside. The possibilities for engaging play are endless- you should definitely check them out and add them to your educational playspace!