Some More Sensory Play Perfect for Christmas!
I love Christmas and all that it brings. It brings a reminder that things are good in this crazy, frustrating world. And it brings traditions and favorite things that have been hidden away for 11 months. My second oldest daughter, Rissa, has an intense love for nutcrackers. As soon as they hit the stores each year, she stands in front of the displays exclaiming her joy at all the cool new ideas that have been developed for that year. This year, she was in love with a ballerina nutcracker that she saw. But most of all she loves the traditional nutcrackers. They made the perfect addition to our sensory bin for some Nutcracker Christmas Sensory Play!
Our Nutcracker Christmas Sensory Play
This was our first sensory bin for winter and also our first in our new home on wheels as we get ready to travel the U.S. once again. Since we were starting from scratch, this was a bit more simple than some of our other sensory bins have been, but simple can be very good! It allows for kids to insert their own ideas into the activity and extend it into ways that are unique for each child.
After a few minutes of playing with this one, my kids added some of their Littlest Pet Shop toys and pretended they were getting gifts ready for Christmas. While this bin was super easy to put together it gave the kids a great opportunity to practice giving gifts and was a wonderful start to the Christmas season by helping them to think of others rather than focusing on getting gifts for themselves.
My littlest girl, thought that unwrapping the ‘gifts’ (miniature Christmas tree decorations) would be a great idea and the other girls spent a good amount of time trying to hide the little presents from her, so that she wouldn’t unwrap all of them! While it was great for building her fine-motor skills, it definitely was not how I thought she would use the bin.
What We Included in our Nutcracker Christmas Sensory Bin:
- 1 Bag of Fake Snow
- 2 packages of miniature Christmas light embellishments
- 1 package of miniature Christmas present embellishments
- 1 package of miniature (shatterproof) Christmas ball ornaments
- 3 miniature nutcrackers
- foam Christmas tree shapes
I put most of our sensory bins together in a shallow Rubbermaid tote that has a lid, so that we can store the bin and bring it back out to play until the kids are completely done with it. That means that one activity can extend into several days worth of fun.
Learning Ideas for This Sensory Play:
- Write numbers in permanent marker on the trees, then have the kids decorate the trees with that amount of ornaments or lights.
- Write a letter on a tree and some Christmas lights and have the kids find the matches.
- Write sight words or spelling words on the trees and then practice writing the words in the snow using the nutcrackers.
- Create color patterns with the lights or ornaments.
After they are all finished with the Nutcracker Christmas Sensory Bin, I will separate out as many pieces as I can and store them to be used in other activities throughout the season and then keep them for the next year. That way we’re not spending lots of money on every sensory play activity that we do. I have plans to use all of these elements throughout the month of December and I’m sure that we’ll come up with other things as the month goes on.
More Holiday Sensory Play Ideas:
Have you done any Christmas-themed sensory play yet this season? What is in your kids’ favorite sensory bin?