christmas sensory

Looking for some fun easy Christmas activities that will keep your kiddos busy during the holiday season? We like to cozy up at home and stay indoors during the winter. Sure, indoor playgrounds are awesome, but so are hands on crafty type projects. Here are my top 5 DIY sensory activities that can be reused throughout the season.

Light Table

I was pleasantly surprised on how easy this was to make.

What you need:
  • shallow storage box with a transparent lid
  • foil
  • tape
  • clear Christmas lights
  • white tissue paper (the kind for packing gift bags)
What you do:

Start by lining the storage box with foil, taping it at various points to hold it in place. Line the underside of the lid with white tissue paper. Tape this on the very edges, otherwise you will see the tape when the box is lit up. Lay the clear lights evenly around the bottom of the box leaving the cord and plug hanging over the edge. Attach the lid and plug in light. Tada! Now you are ready to use the light box.

We like to use transparent bingo chips to sort and make designs. You also can pour salt on the top of the box and your kids can draw pictures in the salt.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 10.35.08 AMSensory Bins

This can be added to or changed regularly to make each play time new and exciting.

What you need:
  • any small/medium tub or storage bin (preferably with a lid for easy storage)
  • dry white beans
  • red and green pompoms
  • jingle bells
  • pine cones
  • cups, spoon and bowl for sorting, scooping and pouring
What you do:

Place all the objects into the bin and mix it up. Let your kiddo explore. That’s it! So simple and it is great for fine motor skills and visual discrimination.

sensory
Candy Cane Play Dough

I love making my own play dough! It lasts much longer than store bought. (We are still using a batch I made last year.) And it can be frozen! So if you make a big batch, you can freeze half of it in a sandwich bag and pull out for future use when needed.

What you need:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • red food coloring
What you do:

In a large saucepan mix the flour, salt and cream of tartar on medium heat. Keep mixing until the dough begins to pull away from the bottom of the pan. Add your food coloring and continue mixing. If you can’t get all the food coloring mixed in at this point (or you forget like me) no worries, you will be able to knead it in at the end. Once you can no longer mix it with your spoon, dump the dough out onto wax paper to cool. When it is no longer too hot to touch start kneading it by hand. This is also the time to add in the food coloring if you forgot or if you want a brighter color. Once it’s kneaded and all lumps are out it’s ready to be played with! Be sure to give your kiddos a little rolling pin and Christmas cookie cutters to play with. Feel free to add glitter to the tops of your play dough cookies!

sensory

Pipe Cleaner Ornaments

My mom kept my brother and me busy for hours during our Christmas break by enlisting us in making ornaments for the tree using pipe cleaners. I still showcase my creations on our family Christmas tree. This weekend, we’re headed to grab our very own live Christmas Tree at the Christmas Tree Farm.

What you need:
  • pipe cleaners
  • beads (especially red, green and white)
What you do:

To start I like to place all the pipe cleaners and beads in a school box for easy accessibility and clean up. Then just let your kiddo place beads on the pipe cleaners. The easiest shape to do is the wreath. After your child has placed their desired beads on a pipe cleaner just twist the ends together to make a circle and place on a Christmas tree branch. You can also make different shapes that even older kids would enjoy making. I personally enjoy the Christmas trees!

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Christmas Slime

I love making slime. I make it for every season and really for any reason. So why not make it for Christmas?

What you need:
  • 2 bottles of white or clear glue (I like to use at least 8 oz total)
  • liquid Starch
  • water
  • green food coloring
  • bowl
  • spoon
  • glitter
  • Seasonal flare: Christmas confetti, glitter, mini bells, mini ornaments, etc
What you do:

Empty one bottle of glue into the bowl. Fill that empty glue bottle with water and pour it into the bowl. Add your green food coloring and mix. Now fill that same bottle with the liquid starch and slowly add to the water/glue mixture. Add a little at a time and stir. Add more and stir. Eventually it will pull away from the bottom of the bowl and you’ll have to mix with your hands. Keep mixing and kneading until you have a consistency that doesn’t stick to your hands or bowl and can be stretched and kneaded easily. If it’s too sticky add more starch. If it’s too slimy and not sticking together to stretch add more glue. This is where the 2nd bottle of glue comes in handy. Ideally, it’s equal parts glue, water and starch but it almost never works out that way. Once you find the right consistency it’s ready to be played with. Let your kiddos add and mix in the glitter and other items. When you are done pull out the bells and bigger objects and place in a sandwich bag for later use. Store your slime in an airtight container. Slime gets better over time.

There you have it! My favorite go to Christmas sensory activities to keep little ones and big kids busy over the season. Happy playing!

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