Shredded Paper Sensory Bin

We made a quick Valentine’s Day sensory bin using shredded paper one year and it was a big hit. This shredded paper sensory bin used paper from our paper shredded and some other materials found around the home as we worked on fine motor skills and tactile exploration. Here is another Valentine’s Day sensory bin to try as well. Both of these are great additions to your occupational therapy Valentine activities.

Valentines day shredded paper sensory bin

Shredded paper sensory bin

This sensory bin was a Valentine’s day activity for us, but the shredded paper sensory bin can be used with any theme. You could use any sensory bin base material but for this one, we’re using shredded paper.

You’ll need just shredded paper, some cardboard tubes, and pipe cleaners. Then add other scoops, stirrers, and other materials if you like: recycled bottle caps, cookie cutters, craft pom poms, etc.

To make this sensory bin, you’ll start by making colored paper.

You can also add Valentine’s Day sensory bin materials like the ones found in our new Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit. The Kit contains 25 pages of hands-on materials designed to develop and refine fine motor skills in kids, but some of those items are perfect for adding to sensory bins like this one. Simply cut (or have the child cut out) the images of hearts and other Valentine items. Then, you can scatter the sensory bin items into the sensory material. Hide them and have the child find them.

Valentines Day memory cards, color and cut activity and fine motor sheet

How to dye paper

To dye the paper, all you need are these items:

  • shredded paper from the paper shredder
  • a plastic bag
  • food coloring
  • water

First, place the shredded paper into the plastic bag. We used just regular junk mail, printer paper, and recycled newspapers and placed it into a plastic store bag.

Add a few drops of food coloring

I added about 10 drops of food coloring, and some water and tied the top up.  Just a few drops of water is needed. If you add too much, it will be a goopy mess, so start by adding a few drops at a time.

You could also use a gallon sized plastic zip top baggie and seal the top up tightly.

Next, ask the kids to shake the bag. This is a good way to incorporate movement and vestibular sensory input.

We shook the bag until all of the paper in the bag was coated in red color, and then poured the damp paper into a cardboard box to let it dry for a few days.  

Make a shredded paper sensory bin with hearts made from toilet paper tubes.

Shredded paper sensory bin

Once the shredded paper is dry, it is time to play.

The folded toilet paper tube hearts are a fun addition for wrapping with pipe cleaners for a fine motor workout.

Use a toilet paper tube or cardboard tube from a paper towel roll and fold it in half to create a heart shape. Kids can pinch along the length of the paper tube to crease the cardboard roll into a heart. Then, use scissors to cut the toilet paper tube into small heart strips.

What a fine motor workout!

Dyeing Paper with Food Coloring!

Use colored shredded paper in a Valentines sensory bin.

Little Guy and Baby Girl had a little spatula battle.  Oh, this girl LOOOOVES to play with her big brother and sister.  She loves the action and chaos the big kids bring to Every. Thing!



If you need more hand eye coordination activities for Valentine’s Day fine motor fun, try the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit.

The Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit is here! This printable kit is 25 pages of hands-on activity sheets designed to build skills in pinch and grasp strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, precision, dexterity, pencil control, handwriting, scissor skills, coloring, and more.

When you grab the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit now, you’ll get a free BONUS activity: 1-10 clip cards so you can challenge hand strength and endurance with a counting eye-hand coordination activity.

Click here to access the Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit and add these resources to your therapy toolbox.

Valentines Day fine motor kit


If eye-hand coordination, visual motor skills, and handwriting are tasks that you are working on with children, you’ll love both of these free therapy slide decks. Use them to outline occupational therapy interventions or to use in teletherapy sessions this time of year.

Free Spot It Handwriting Slide Deck

Free Gross Motor Valentine’s Day Activity Slide Deck

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to



5 thoughts on “Shredded Paper Sensory Bin”

  1. dyed shredded paper could also be used in gift bags, etc—it can be dyed any color depending on the holiday/occasion……..LOVE THIS IDEA FOR RECYCLING

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Valentines day shredded paper sensory bin

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