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Christmas Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are a great way to explore all that Christmas has to offer. The sights, smells, and the textures of different materials used around Christmas time will leave children curious about the holiday. The best part of this sensory bin is that you can recreate it over and over every day leading up to the big holiday and no two bins will be the same!

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Enjoy the wonderful colors of Christmas with this fun and engaging sensory bin!

Sensory bins are a great way for young toddlers to explore parallel play, where two children play beside each other without exchanging ideas or items. This type of play is foundational for children’s development. As children progress they’ll begin to exchange ideas and share materials with other children in group play. This sensory bin is a great way to begin that transition.

Weigh it out: Adding a scale is a great way to introduce the “less than/more than” concept to children and eventually weight and measurement. Add it into a sensory bin and encourage children to balance the scale. 

🌊 Wonderful World of Water: Water beads are a great way to explore texture and water in sensory bins. They’re non-toxic and can easily be washed and reused.  

❗ Safety Alert? Be mindful of the size of the items you use in your sensory bin. Small toddlers may still explore materials with their mouths. Be aware of the sizes of the beads and buttons your use as they may pose a choking hazard.

Materials

For this activity you will need:

Large bin to hold all of the materials

A red and green medium - rice, pasta, water beads, etc.

Pinecones, pine needles, twigs, holly berries, etc.

Red and green buttons, beads, stickers, pom poms, etc.

Scoops, funnels, spoons, sieves, cups, etc.

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Social

Skills

Parallel Play

Indicators:

Playing in the proximity of peers with similar play things without an exchange of ideas or things.

Instructions

Step 1:

Start by filling up your sensory bin with your medium of choice. Involve the children in this process to help fill up the bin. This is a great way to open the conversation around textures and measurements.

Step 2:

Next, add in your red and green elements. Be sure to spread them out and encourage the children to spot all of the red elements and green elements as you add them in.

Step 3:

Finally, add in your cups, scoops, and spoons and start exploring!

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Have older preschoolers work together to separate all of the red and green items in the bin and have them determine if there were more red or green items together - teamwork!

⬇️ For younger toddlers: If you choose to add in only one set of cups, scoops and spoons, this will encourage young toddlers to use their communication skills to ask for toys from other participants in the sensory bin.

Playful Questions

How do the materials feel? Are they soft or hard?

Have you seen any of these materials in your home before?

Can we put all the green items in one cup?

How can we ask our friends playing beside us if we need to use a toy they have?

Can we work together to pile all of the rice really high?