Hands on play is always a hit with kids of all ages. Parents like that it is technology free and kids just like having fun (and maybe getting a bit messy haha)! These sensory activities will be a hit with all of your kids! Click on the title of any activity below to be linked to more detailed directions.
Take a bin and add water, cranberries, pine needles from your tree or yard, and shatterproof ornaments. Also add some scooping utensils and bowls for added playtime. Kids love the open ended element of this activity. Protip: lay a towel under the bin and bring it indoors or use warm water if it is cold outside where you live.
Fill a plastic tub with water and add a drop or 2 of food coloring (optional). Mix well. Add "boats" to the water. These are silicone and/or foil baking cups. Put out little lightweight holiday themed trinkets such as bells, mini ornaments, pom poms, etc. Give your child things to scoop with and challenge them to fill the boats without touching the boats with their hands! Let them see how many items they can fit in each "boat" without sinking it. This activity makes for a great conversation on sink vs float.
This creative and fun sensory activity was shared by @happytoddlerplaytime on Instagram. Take some craft pom poms, get them wet and freeze them, then put them in a plastic bin. Give your child water to squirt and spray on them to help separate and play with the pom poms.
Freeze a block of ice (water in a baking dish overnight) and you have a great base for sensory play! Plop the ice block into a plastic bin, add some marshmallows (a few with snowman faces drawn on by sharpie), pom poms, toothpicks, a snowman cookie cutter, bells, confetti, cut pipe cleaners, basically anything you have around the house that would fit the theme and could be used to create a snowman. Have your child try and create snowmen and then they can also free play with all the materials after as well.
We found this cute sensory tray idea on @craftmonsterz Instagram page. For this activity she used dried red and green foods such as dried kidney beans and green pasta. Add those to a try with some other holiday trinkets and you've got yourself a sensory tray! Bottle lids can be glued on the ends of large Popsicle sticks for a fun scooper option.
Print out or draw a simple sweater outline. Glue it onto a piece of cardboard and then fully cover it with packing tape. This is will make it reusable. Give your child playdough and holiday trinkets such as bells, pipe cleaners, etc and have them create and decorate a Christmas sweater. Save the sweater board to pull out and play with again another day.
This sensory idea from @another_day_in_prek incorporates some letter practice into the sensory fun. Pour salt into a tray (with sides) and grab something festive to write with... maybe a small branch or the straight end of a candy cane. Have your child practice writing letters or sight words (whatever they are working on) in the "snow". This is a fun way to practice spelling words too!
Happy Holidays from Stay at Home Activity Mom!