Include some sensory activities for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration! These sensory tubes are easy to make and provide both visual and auditory benefits. There are many different types of materials you can use to create some amazing effects, plus you can experiment with each activity.
For this activity, we used a set of sensory tubes. The set comes with 4 clear tubes with both vented lids which are great for auditory use, and solid lids which are great for liquids. The twist-tight lids are very secure, but if you are happy with how your project comes out and are using liquids, you may want to glue them closed to be safe. These sensory tubes are a great alternative to the commonly used mason jars, because they are plastic which is safer for kids.
Below is how we made each of the 4 tubes:
Green Glitter Sensory Tube
This particular activity is commonly known as a “calming jar” because of the calming effect of the swirling glitter.
- Fill the tube half way with warm water.
- Add green glitter glue and stir – it will take a little while for it to dissolve. The warmer the water, the better it dissolves. Also, the more glitter glue you add, the longer the glitter will swirl.
- Add green glitter and stir again.
- Fill the rest of the tube with water and stir.
- Add a drop of green food coloring.
- Be sure to tightly secure the cap, then shake the tube and watch the glitter swirl!
Acrylic Paint Sensory Tube
I remembered using metallic acryllic paint for a craft project and when I left the paintbrush into a cup of water, the paint created a swirling effect. I knew this would make a great sensory project. The photo doesn’t capture it the best, so check out the video below. Better yet, try it for yourself!
- Filll the tube with water, leaving about a few inches of space at the top so you can stir.
- Add 3 drops of green metallic acrylic paint. Stir the paint so it dissolves into the water. You’ll start to see the cool swirling effect!
- Add a few pieces of fake gold nuggets or gold beads for a “luck of the Irish” theme for St. Patrick’s Day. This helps to show that although the water looks solid green, it is really translucent and you can see objects through it! Secure the lid and keep shaking for a cool sensory effect.
Gold Glitter Sensory Tube
For this sensory tube, I wanted to experiment with oil and glitter and see how it was different from the yellow tube which has water and glitter. You can also add water intot he tube and teach students how oil and water don’t mix and why.
- Fill the tube half way with vegetable oil.
- Add some gold glitter and stir. Notice the glitter doesn’t move in the oil like it does in the water, it is suspended!
- Secure the lid, then turn the tube over, and the result is pretty cool! The glitter cascades down the sides of the tube with the oil for a really cool sensory effect. The longer you let it sit, the more glitter and the faster it will run down the side when you turn the tube over. Also, notice a layer of glitter stays at the top of the oil!
Auditory Sensory Tube
This is the tube I created for auditory stimulation. There are so many options for this type of project, because each item makes a different sound. Turn the tube upside down or shake it to hear the noise it makes. We used all green and gold items to follow the St. Patrick’s Day theme.
Fun experiments: Have kids experiment by taking out certain items and seeing if they notice a difference in sound. What happens when you only have beads in there? Or just paper clips? How about only pom poms? Have them write down an answer and then test it out. You can also experiment with other items, like dried rice with food coloring to match your theme. Be sure to have your sound up for the video below!
This sensory project can be repeated for other holidays, not just St. Patrick’s Day! Have a Spring theme with pastel colors and glitter. Use red, white and blue items for patriotic holidays. Or create a non-holiday theme, like Under the Sea using blue acrylic paint and some rubber animals to put inside. Both the visual and auditory sensory tube ideas were really fun, so be sure to try it out!