How To Sensory Play at Christmas Time
I’ll always remember the special traditions that we did as kids in the lead up to Christmas time. Cookie decorating, making decorations for the tree, letters to Santa just to name a few. I always knew that when we had kids of our own that I would pass these special moments on, but also introduce those of our own.
When our first baby was born I started to think about traditions that I could introduce to him right from the beginning. Traditions could I introduce to him at such a young age, and that could grow and evolve with him over the years. Eventually a sensory activity came to mind and every year since we have set up a special sensory tray that the kids love to tell Christmas stories through.
Sensory play is limitless. It is fun, educational and offers so many opportunities for growth and development that it is hard to resist. Sensory play is a great activity for kids of all ages and can even encourage bonding between siblings (something we love around Christmas time). They are very easy to set up and the opportunities are limitless.
Our favourite Christmas sensory tray told the story of a young reindeer who had lost his way. He was trying to get home in time for Christmas when he stumbled upon a group of cheeky penguins. And so, every year since, Christmas tales have come to life through sensory play in our house.
How to set up your own sensory play:
Step 1. You will need a tray, container or bowl. This can be any size you like and will depend solely on the type of base you choose to use and the number of kids who will be interacting with the activity.
Step 2. Select your base. The options are limitless. Coloured rice, coloured pasta, black beans, split peas, lentils, fake snow, water, oobleck, mud, just about anything can be used as a sensory base.
Step 3. Add some props. I always love to include small world components in our sensory play (animals, tactile pieces, trees, plants, people etc) to allow my older kids to develop their language skills, encourage creativity and let their imaginations shine. They love to make up stories and act them out and this is the perfect setting to encourage this.
Step 4: Include some spoons, cups, scoops, ladles, strainers, anything you have that would be great for them to experiment with. We love to use a mixture of things in our sensory play and sometimes we don’t include these at all.
Step 5: Allow the kids to experiment at their own pace. You can join in the fun or make yourself a hot drink and watch the magic unfold.