Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than by creating these fun (and simple) love bug sensory tubes with your child!  What child doesn’t love sensory play or bugs?

Before you learn how to make this sensory tube, let’s talk about why sensory tubes are beneficial! Sensory tubes are a great tool for children of all ages.  They provide the calming element of sensory play, as they help with grounding.  Sensory tubes also present various learning opportunities including language learning, math skills, science knowledge, and more! 

What You Need to Create a Love Bugs Sensory Tube:

How to Create a Love Bug Sensory Tube:

You’ll be happy to learn that there are not too many supplies you will need to create these love bug sensory tubes.  In fact, you may already have many of them right in your house!

First, you need a sturdy clear bottle or tube to create your sensory tube.  The Primary Science Sensory Tubes from Learning Resources is our favorite because they are large, sturdy, and seal easily. They also come with eight sets of solid lids, perfect for creating fun liquid sensory tubes, and four vented lids.  Another great thing about these tubes? You can change them up frequently, or keep them filled up for days on end.

To make your love bug sensory tube, you’re also going to need something with viscosity. What’s viscosity? A thick, sticky, semi-fluid consistency.  Think liquid hand soap, clear liquid glue, baby oil, or corn syrup. I told you, you might already have this at home! All you need to do is fill 1/4th of the tube with whatever viscous liquid you choose.

Next, add some fun manipulatives like these Backyard Bug Counters make your sensory tube extra fun! For these specific tubes, we added about 5-7 bugs per tube.  Not only will your child love adding in something unique, but manipulatives like these also provide language learning opportunities.  For example, you can work on developing your child’s vocabulary of bugs or colors by labeling what you see or work on prepositions while putting the bugs in the tubes! Looking for other manipulative ideas? Pom poms are one of our favorite additions!

After adding your manipulatives, you’re going to want to fill up the rest of your love bug sensory tube with warm water.

Food coloring and glitter are the next steps. These are of course optional, but they do add some excitement to your sensory tube. Two-three drops of your favorite food coloring will fill the entire tube with color, and just a sprinkle of glitter will create a fun contrast. For these specific love bug sensory tubes, we chose to use red, white, and heart glitter to follow our Valentine’s Day theme.

Whew, you made it to the last step! Seal up that tube and watch in wonder!  Let’s be honest, this one isn’t just for the kids, even adults are mesmerized to watch the bugs and glitter float up and down the colorful tubes!

Ways to Work on Language Development While Creating Sensory Tubes:

Not only are these sensory tubes fun to look at, but there are several ways to build in language learning opportunities while creating these love bug sensory tubes.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Following directions: Have your child help you create the sensory tube, and direct them on how they can help you. Examples: “put the red bug in the tube” or “pick up the caterpillar and put it in the tube.”
  • Building Vocabulary: Label all of the items you are using as you are using them…the tube, the water, the glue, all of it! Making a love bugs sensory tube with the Backyard Bug Counters is also a great way to work on colors and introduce specific insect names.
  • Learning Prepositions: Sensory tubes are a fun way to practice prepositions. Talk about putting the bugs in the tube, putting the top on the tube, or watching the bugs float up and down the tube!
  • Social Skills: If you have more than one child, this is the perfect opportunity to work on turn-taking! Chances are, they are likely going to want the same sensory tube at the same time. Have them take turns putting the bugs in, and after your sensory tube is created have them take turns holding the tube!

Now you know how to make a fun love bug sensory tube, and how to build your child’s language skills while doing it! Going to try this at home?  Please share it with us! We’d love to see your creations!