Christmas is a time of giving. A time spent with family and friends. Reflection of the year that has been. It is also a great opportunity to get your child into the spirit through creative sensory activities. Sensory activities like no other in the year. From snow to lights to craft. Here are my Top 10 Christmas themed Sensory Activities for your child to get engaged with during this festive season. Younger participants might however require some assistance from an adult. Have fun!

1. Spilling Christmas Gift

Spilling present

Skills developed Targeted senses
By doing activities that involve the mouth, your toddler gets to work on their oral motor skills. Oral motor activities have benefits related to speech, feeding and regulation.

By blowing pom poms your toddler practices how to coordinate their lips, cheeks and jaw with airflow. Their muscle tone gets strengthened. They build awareness of their mouth, tongue, lips and jaw. Overall this is a great activity that strengthens your toddler’s muscles and builds coordination.

Proprioceptive and visual senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: Old cardboard box (cut a whole on its side & wrap it up using Christmas paper), pom poms.

You can play this game by either placing your spilling Christmas gift on the coffee table or on the floor. Place some pom poms in front of the hole that you have created. By either laying on their tummy or leaning over the coffee table, have them blow the pom poms into the box. Once they collect all the pom poms they can be ‘spilled’ out of the Christmas box and they can play again.

You can increase the challenge by increasing the distance or by spreading out the pom poms.

2. Lacing a Christmas stocking

Lacing stocking

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination  Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

This fun Christmas activity is very easy to set up. All you need is a sheet of construction paper from which you cut out a Christmas stocking. Then use a hole puncher to cut holes around the border of the stocking. Once ready, use yarn to thread through the holes.

Depending on your child’s skill level you can get them to do anything from cutting, punching holes and/or threading.

3. “I spy” game

i spy game

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, hand eye coordination and visual perception skills Visual sense

How to Play

Equipment needed: Empty plastic Christmas bulb (or you can just use a clear plastic bottle), small items that can fit through the hole and fake ‘snow’.  I used Frosty Snow.

Place all the items into the Christmas bulb. Then fill it up with the ‘snow’. The more ‘snow’ you put in, the harder it will be to find the objects inside.

Once complete, close it up. Then you can play the ‘I Spy’ game. You can have your child move the bulb around to find all the hidden objects. You can mix it up and have a mix of Christmas and non Christmas related items.

4. Christmas Tree fun

Acorn tree

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, hand eye coordination, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task). Visual, tactile and proprioceptive senses.

How to Play

The first step to this activity is to explore your outdoors and find an acorn that would look great as a Christmas tree. Encourage your child to go searching for a few and then pick the best one. Being outside and on a hunt has many benefits in itself.

Lets take this to another level. Once an acorn has been chosen, bring it back inside and paint it green. Once dry, your child can practice many of the above listed skills by making decorations. Your child can pick and decorate it however they want.

We used small cuts of tissue paper. Scrunching small pieces of paper with their fingers will give their hands an opportunity to strengthen many manipulation skills thus improving their fine motor skills.

The tissue paper was made into tiny Christmas balls that were glued onto the acorn. To add extra sparkle we decided to add some glitter glue on the ‘branches’.

5. Snowy Play

Snowy play

Skills developed Targeted senses

Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination.

Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses.

How to Play

This is a fun Christmas activity. Pick a variety of Christmas related items. You can find many ideas at the Dollar store that are also inexpensive. I used a variety of small Christmas tree ornaments. Mix them up together with a fake ‘snow’. I used Frosty Snow.

You are now set for your little one’s hands and eyes to explore. As they find each object, encourage them to talk about its characteristics. Shape, color, weight, feel of it (rough/spikey/smooth) etc. This is a great way of not only increasing their vocabulary but also learning some discrimination skills.

6. Santa Claus craft

Santa craft

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills (cutting, gluing and painting), bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination. Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses.

How to Play

Equipment needed: Construction paper (black, red and white), scissors, glue, pom poms x 3 (red and white), googly eyes x2, white paint, clothes peg.

Black paper: Used as a background for the project.

Red paper: Used to create a hat. Draw a triangle that your child can cut out.

White paper: Used as the rim of the hat and Santa’s face. Draw a rectangle and a circle that your child can cut out.

Once you have all your supplies and the shapes have been cut out let your child create a Santa. Refer to the above picture for guidance.

Then all we need is a beard. Use the remaining pom pom and the clothes peg as a paintbrush to paint the beard on Santa.

Voila!!

7. Christmas decorations obstacle course

Christmas tree

Skills developed Targeted senses
Balance, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), body awareness, bilateral coordination, hand and shoulder strength, core strength, trunk control and visual skills Proprioception, vestibular, tactile and visual senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: This list is flexible.  You can pull out pillows, cushions, blankets, tables, chairs and boxes.  For the final touch hide all the Christmas ornaments that you want your child’s help with to hang up on the tree. Best not to use any breakables.

When setting up an obstacle course, try to match its complexity to your child’s skill level. Make sure there is some challenge to improve their skills while keeping it fun.

The obstacle course should give your child the opportunity to walk on uneven surfaces (blankets, pillows), crawl or climb up and down (couches or tables). Get your child to crawl under the tables or through tunnels made from hanging sheets or open boxes. They can also climb in and out of boxes.

For this obstacle course your child’s mission is to obtain all hidden Christmas decorations. Try and hide them throughout to give them a little challenge. Hide them high, low or under things.

8. Reindeer craft

Raindear craft

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills (tracing, cutting, gluing), bilateral integration, hand eye coordination skills. Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses.

How to Play

Equipment needed: Construction paper (brown, yellow, red and white), scissors, glue, black crayon/marker and a pencil.

Brown paper: Used to make the reindeer’s head. Draw a large triangle for your child to cut out.

Yellow paper: Used to create the antlers. Have your child trace each of their hands and later cut them out.

Red paper: Used to create a nose. Draw a small circle for your child to cut out.

White paper: Used to create eyes. Draw two small circles and then have them cut out by your child.

Once you have all your individual parts, paste them together to make a reindeer. Use the above picture as a guide on locations of each part.

Voila! Now you have a reindeer running around your house.

9. Decorating Fun!

Decorating fun

Skills developed Targeted senses

Fine motor skills, bilateral integration, hand eye coordination skills.

Visual & tactile senses.

How to Play

This activity is meant to be a open ended activity that puts your child in the Christmas spirit and sparks up their creativity.

Simply cut Christmas related items out of construction paper. I decided to use a Christmas tree and a mitten. Then use anything to decorate it. Place the decorations in front of your child with some glue and let them go wild.

Examples of decorations can include: markers, crayons, glitter, paint, stickers, tissue paper, pom poms and Christmas craft items found in local stores.

10. Christmas lights

Salt light

Light up your house with some Christmas lights made from salt/sugar.

Skills developed Targeted senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination. Visual and tactile senses.

How to Play

This is a fun activity that adds a little texture to their craft.

To start, draw some large light bulbs on construction paper. Then put some glue on each bulb and sprinkle it with a different colored salt/sugar.

Colored salt/sugar recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of salt/ sugar
  • Food coloring
  • Zip lock bags
  • Tray (used to dry the salt/sugar)

What to do:

  1. Divide the salt/sugar into 4 separate zip lock bags
  2. Place a few drops of food coloring into each zip lock bag
  3. Continue to mix the salt/sugar with the food coloring until completely combined
  4. Lay the colored salt/sugar flat onto a tray until it dries

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Christmas Sensory Activities. These are bound to spark up other ideas. Let me know what activities you have tried in the comments section below. Merry Christmas!

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: Adult supervision is recommended for every activity on this blog. All activities are to be performed at your own risk.

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