Break out these Christmas messy play ideas to keep the kids entertained and engaged during the holidays. Be sure to check out my epic list of messy play ideas for the rest of the year, too.
I am a HUGE fan of messy play with kids of all ages! There are just so many benefits, from sensory input to exploring the senses to creative expression.
Plus, messy art and sensory play is just plain fun. And that’s just as important, right?!
Christmas Messy Play Ideas
The holiday season can be rather busy and overwhelming. And that’s just for adults! Sometimes it’s even more so for the kids.
These messy play activities can make all the difference, let me tell you!
They’re hands-on, fun, and just a little bit different. Which means the kids will be super engaged. And that makes for happy kids AND happy adults!
Yes, each of the following ideas is . . . well, messy. I know that can put some teachers and parents off. But take my word for it. With a little prep ahead of time, clean-up doesn’t have to be so scary. Plus, it gives the kids the chance to practice their cleaning skills.
Now let’s jump into the Christmas messy play FUN! I’ve broken the activities down into three categories, all full of messy goodness – sensory play, messy art, and messy snacks.
Related: Christmas Preschool Songs
Christmas Sensory Play
Let’s start out with some messy sensory play! Because we all know sensory play can get a little messy. But that’s what brooms and dust plans are for, right?
Put together a “decorate your own” contact paper Christmas tree sensory bin for your students.
The kids will love exploring a sweet-smelling candy cane sensory bin around Christmas.
Pick a Christmas slime (or 2 or 3!) to mix up and make. The kids will love stretching and decorating the slimes.
Use a few household ingredients to make Christmas cloud dough with the children.
Read a sweet Christmas book and then set up a Christmas cookie play dough invitation.
You don’t need much to set up this peppermint water play bin. I think this is a must for our list of Christmas messy play ideas.
Gingerbread oobleck is so easy to make, and it’s so enticing for the children.
Let the kids help dye the salts and add the pieces to an Epsom salt Christmas sensory bin.
Incorporate pine needles into a Christmas imaginative play set up that smells just like Christmas trees.
Engage the kids’ sense of sound and touch with Christmas “sound soup” activity.
Work with the kids to make Christmas glitter jars for your sensory center.
Use peppermint play dough to make some three-dimensional Christmas trees.
This reindeer farm sensory bin is so simple to set up, and I love how it combines small world and sensory play.
Related: Winter Messy Play Ideas
Messy Art for Christmas
Next up is messy Christmas art for the kids. Let the kids get messy as they unleash some of their creativity for the holidays.
Break out the dyed pumpkin seeds for a fun take on Christmas tree art.
The kids can combine art with literacy to make a Christmas five senses book.
If you work in a religious school, consider some Nativity Christmas art with lots of paint and homemade stencils.
Make a snowman fingerprint ornament with your kids so they can decorate their trees at home.
This Christmas contact paper art is a hands-on transient art experience for little hands.
Help the children make their own marbled homemade Christmas card using shaving cream and paint.
Keep the shaving cream out so you and the children can make shaving cream peppermints.
The kids will love this chilly Christmas tree painting on ice.
Break out the potato mashers for an arty Christmas ornament craft.
A sweet Christmas tree craft definitely belongs on this list of messy Christmas play ideas!
Poured painting Christmas rocks would be sweet presents the kids can make for their families.
These sponge painted poinsettias make for festive decorations in the classroom.
Salt painted Christmas trees are a sweet mix of art and sensory play for the holidays.
Use just a few simple materials to make paper plate Christmas ornaments with the children.
What kid wouldn’t love making a bubble wrap painting Christmas tree?!
Melted crayon tree art would be a fun (and messy!) collaborative art project to make with your students.
Little hands will get a workout as they create some fine motor Christmas trees with paint, sequins, and glitter!
Christmas Snacks for Kids to Make
And I just had to share a few treat ideas, too. These are snacks the kids can definitely help you make.
Cooking and making snacks with kids isn’t necessarily a “clean” activity, so these activities surely belong in this list of Christmas messy play ideas!
Start off with some graham cracker reindeer Christmas snacks. We made it into a literacy activity too, and the kids loved the treats they made.
You can also make some Rudolph celery snacks for a more nutritious crunch.
These Christmas tree cones are adorable, and the children can definitely make them (with some supervision, of course).
Turn some bagels into ornament snacks with a few simple and tasty ingredients.
Help the children decorate their own Christmas tree brownies for a special holiday treat.
No-bake sugar cookie balls are perfect if you don’t have access to an oven in your classroom.
If your kids love candy canes, these Christmas peppermint patties are sure to be delicious.
Rolos lovers will enjoy making some chocolate caramel pretzel buttons.
Christmas Rice Krispies treats are simple to make, and the kids can decorate them too.
Christmas Messy Play Materials
I like using what I have on-hand as much as possible, what about you? Of course, it’s also fun to pick up a few new materials here and there (especially if there’s a sale).
Here are a few materials you might want to grab before getting into your Christmas messy play ideas (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
Related: Christmas Playdough Activities
What are some of YOUR favorite messy play ideas for Christmas? Feel free to leave them in the comments below. New ideas are always fun for me.
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
Let Preschool Teacher 101 make your life a whole lot easier with ready-to-go plans and resources!
Click on the images below for more information. Be sure to check out our membership while you’re there, too.