Be sure to add this Christmas sensory play idea to your collection of Christmas activities for preschoolers and kindergarten kids.
The colors and sparkly materials, along with the various textures, within the Christmas bin make it so inviting for children.
On top of that, it’s easy to change things up based on your students’ needs and interests, as well as the materials you have available. You can even incorporate math, literacy, and so many other early learning skills within the Christmas sensory invitation.
Related: Holiday Activities for Preschoolers
Oh, and the Christmas sensory experience is DRY. That means you don’t have to worry about water spills when the kids are immersed in their play.
If you’re looking for more non-wet activities, be sure to check out my collection of dry messy play ideas.
Christmas Sensory Play
Let’s jump into how you make your own Christmas sensory invitation. Please keep in mind that you don’t have to do it exactly the way I did. Change things up as you see fit.
How to Prep the Christmas Sensory Bin
Start out with grabbing the materials for the holiday sensory play. Here are the items I used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Sensory bin (large or small)
- Pom poms (red, green, white)
- Sparkly pom poms
- Plastic snowflakes
- Christmas-themed foam items (trees, snowflakes, stars, boots)
- Mini ornaments
- Red and green popsicle sticks
- Plastic tree ornament (here is a clear version of the tree)
- Plastic star ornament
- Pipe cleaners
- Jingle bells
Again, don’t stress if you don’t have everything. Take a look in your craft stash and start from there!
Related: Reindeer Sensory Bin
Once you’ve gathered the items you’d like to use, it’s time to assemble the Christmas sensory play. There’s not much to it, really:
- Add the sparkly and non-sparkly pom poms.
- Then place the remaining materials around the bin.
If you can, have your students help put the Christmas sensory tray together. Sometimes that’s just as much fun as playing in it!
How Kids Engage with the Christmas Sensory Play
One of the great things about sensory play is that it’s open-ended. This means that the kids get to decide how to interact with the materials.
So you’ll see children playing in so many different ways! Here are just a few things you might see kids doing:
- Running their hands through the Christmas sensory play materials.
- Sorting the pom poms by color and sparkly-ness.
- Filling up the tree and star ornaments.
- Making chains with the pipe cleaners.
- Using the pipe cleaner chains to make temporary ornaments.
- Lining up pom poms along the popsicle sticks.
Of course, as you already know, the kids will likely come up with even more ways to use the Christmas sensory play!
Extension Ideas for the Christmas Tray
As I mentioned earlier, it’s very easy to add additional learning opportunities to the sensory play. Of course, the kids are still learning as they play with the original bin. So don’t feel like you have to add anything.
That being said, here are some ideas if you want to change things up:
- Place a clipboard, paper, and pencils near the bin. Children keep track of how many green, white, and red pom poms they count.
- Add the Christmas stockings beginning sounds matching game to the Christmas sensory play. Kids hunt for the picture cards and match them based on initial sound.
- Set dot markers and strips of paper nearby. Students make patterns with the pom poms and then record those patterns on the paper.
- Put Christmas calendar numbers in with the Christmas sensory fun. Then have the children use the sensory materials to practice one-to-one correspondence.
- Grab some letter tiles and Christmas word cards to add to the Christmas bin. Your students search through the materials to find the letters needed for the word cards.
How will your students use the Christmas sensory play? Be sure to save this post for future reference. If you have a Christmas Pinterest board like I do, that would be a great place to keep it.
More Christmas Sensory Activities
If your students love all things sensory, here are even more ideas to try:
- Reindeer Sensory Bin
- Christmas Tree Sensory Bag
- Christmas Sensory Bin
- Red and Green Christmas Sensory Bin
- Christmas Playdough Mats
- Peppermint Water Play
- Contact Paper Christmas Tree
- Find the Magnetic Letter Christmas Sensory Bin
- Candy Cane Sensory Bin
I think they’ll be a great addition to the Christmas sensory play invitation.
Christmas 5 Senses Resource Pack
Let Preschool Teacher 101 save you a ton of planning time with our fully-developed early childhood resources. We have everything from lesson plans to STEM challenges to classroom management guides (and so much in between). If you want to save yourself even more time, join The Pack, our membership for preschool and kindergarten teachers. Our members get access to so much at a steep discount.
Click on the image below for our 130-page Christmas 5 senses book pack. This has a variety of ways you can make individual and class books about the 5 senses, with a focus on Christmastime. Lots of literacy and art/craft opportunities.
Having made some version of the Christmas 5 senses book over the years, I can tell you that the kids LOVE it! Perfect as a companion to the pom pom Christmas sensory play.
Here are a few more ideas to try with the kids:
You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers.