Christmas time is such an exciting time for our little ones. At times, the excitement can all become a little much for them. I have found that providing quiet, sensory activities, like these Toddler and Preschool Christmas Sensory Bins, really helps them to relax and unwind after an exciting day of Christmas activities.
However, these fun sensory play activities are not only good for helping our little ones calm down, but they also help their development.
Toddlers’ and Preschoolers’ fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, language skills, and social skills are all improved through these simple sensory play activities.
If that’s not enough reason to get stuck in, these are frugal activities that you can set up in under 5 minutes!
If you like a bit more room for your sensory activities than a sensory bin allows, most of these activities can also be done on a tuff tray. You’ll find more Christmas sensory ideas on Christmas Tuff Tray Ideas for Preschoolers: Easy Sensory Play Activities.
Christmas is such an exciting and busy time of year, it can get rather overwhelming for our little people. These calming, quiet, sensory activities help them to relax and have some downtime amid all the busyness.
They are also great for keeping their little brains active and encouraging their learning and development through play.
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1. Christmas Snow Play
My daughter loved playing with this little snowy Christmas tree scene.
I used salt for the snow, and it worked a treat!
Then I added some mini-model Christmas trees and Duplo people figures, and it was complete.
Simple, yet interesting.
This worked great as a little Christmas small-world play activity.
If you’d like to see more small-world play activities for Preschoolers, look at Christmas Tuff Tray Ideas for Preschoolers: Easy Sensory Play Activities.
2. Christmas Baubles Sensory Play
This Christmas sensory bin can be thrown together in 2 minutes, making it a great little activity if you’re in a hurry!
You just need one container full of water with some Christmas baubles in it and another container with a few bowls and spoons or ladles to scoop the baubles with.
This one is so popular with toddlers!
It also helps with fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration.
If you’re interested in more fine motor skills activities for your little one, you’ll like Fine Motor Skills Tuff Tray Ideas for Preschoolers.
3. Ice Play
Who doesn’t love a spot of water play? And when you add ice to it, it just makes it even more fun, right?
This one is great, as it also has that STEM element, incorporating the idea of water being frozen into ice and then melting back down to water.
Your little one can count the ice cubes with you, and you can talk about the different shapes of the ice. I used circle, square, rectangle, and hexagonal-shaped containers to freeze my ice for this reason.
They can also practice their motor skills by trying to build an ice tower and balancing the blocks of ice on top of one another.
This one is also great for imaginative play, as they can use the arctic animals for small-world play.
You could make this one even more fun, by adding some Fake Snow like this, from Amazon.
4. Christmas Pom Pom Water Play
This pom pom water play activity is a great sensory bin for when you’re short on time. It also works well as a calming down activity.
We start with one empty bin and one filled with water and Christmas-colored pom poms. I added a few spoons, cups, and bowls.
They enjoyed transferring the pom poms and water from one place to another, and it held their attention for a lot longer than I expected.
This is a great frugal sensory bin, as you can dry the pom poms afterward and reuse them at a later date.
You can get some lovely Glittery Pom Poms from Amazon, here.
5. Christmas Baking Preschool Sensory Bin Idea
Baking a Christmas pie kept my daughter happily busy while I got a few jobs done this week!
We have found this is a great one to stick in the cupboard and get out again when she’s at a loose end.
It’s simply: rice, Christmas baubles, a tin foil pie tray, and some spoons and measuring scoops.
6. Christmas Messy Play
This Oobleck is a simple mix of flour and water. Just mix the two until you have the desired consistency. you’re aiming for a gloop-type consistency.
I added some splashes of red and green paint to give it a Christmassy feel and let my little delve in!
It’s beautifully squishy.
My girl loved mixing the colors.
You could add to this one by having a second container with tubs and spoons for the opportunity to ‘bake’.
7. Find the Christmas Decorations
This Christmas sensory bin is just perfect for curious toddlers who are into everything!
Fill a big box with shredded paper.
We went for white to resemble snow!
Then hide some Christmas baubles, angels, or other Christmas decorations in amongst the ‘snow’ for your toddler to find.
8. Decorate the Christmas Tree Sensory Bin
I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like ‘helping’ to decorate the Christmas tree.
It is such a popular Christmas tradition for most families and if your kids are anything like mine, they just want to do it again and again and AGAIN!
Enter the Christmas Tree Decorating Sensory Bin!
This is a great one to have set up in the corner of your kitchen, or an early years setting, for little ones to come and go and decorate and redecorate in the lead-up to Christmas.
You can get a lovely little Christmas tree like this, from Amazon, that’s perfect for this activity. My kid’s just love decorating and re-decorating their mini Christmas tree each year.
9. Home-made ‘Snow’
This home-made ‘snow’ is a moon sand consistency, similar to kinetic sand.
I simply mixed cornflour and conditioner together until I got the desired consistency. You want it to be firm enough to stick together, but flaky enough to sprinkle.
Then I added in some vehicles that were trying to get through the ‘snow’ and a few trucks to help clear the roads.
I also enjoyed creating a snowman with this ‘snow’. It was really good at holding it’s shape.
This was a great one to introduce the topic of people who help us. We talked about the road crew who work hard during the winter months, keeping our roads safe and passable for us.
10. Shaving Foam and Baubles
There’s something about cleaning things that my daughter just loves; whether it’s cleaning her ride-on cars in summer, helping clean the dishes, or washing her dolls, she just loves it.
So, this Christmas sensory bin is inspired by her and her love for all things cleaning!
I simply mixed a bunch of baubles into some shaving foam in one box, then put warm soapy water in another and added a towel to lay them on to dry afterwards.
11. Gingerbread Men Playdough
This gingerbread playdough set up was such fun.
I used Playdates to Parties Easy Recipe for Homemade Playdough and then mixed green and red food coloring to make it brown. Mixing in some ginger and a pinch of cinnamon gave it that lovely gingerbread smell.
A full on sensory experience.
I popped in some Gingerbread Cookie Cutters, like these from Amazon, and then a handful of beads and buttons to decorate.
More Christmas Craft Ideas:
The Best Christmas Sensory Bins for Preschool Kids and Toddlers
I hope you enjoyed looking through my collection of Toddler and Preschool Christmas Sensory Bins.
It’s been such fun creating these and experimenting with what works and what my little ones like the best.
If you like these ideas, be sure to save this post as I update it yearly with new ideas so the list is continually growing!
I hope you and your little ones have a wonderful Christmas this year!