I believe that sensory play is extremely important for children. I love creating different themes, offering various textures/fillers, thus triggering child's different senses. During Christmas time, various sensory bins are a favorite of my children. They can explore independently, learn, stimulate their senses, and the best part is that the clean up is minimal since everything is contained in a bin, tray or a dishpan. (Also, lay a large enough mat/blanket, which you can just shake in anything spills over.)
As Christmas is approaching, I decided to fill the bin with small Christmas-Inspired objects. I chose shredded paper as a filler since I wanted the filler to be puffy but not tiny and capable of containing lots of tiny objects. To give the bin an auditory dimension, I sprinkled little jingle bells throughout it. I also added scented pine cones (alternatively, you can use fresh pine branches or cloves) to give the sensory bin an olfactory dimension. As a result, the sensory bin would stimulate four of the five of the main senses: tactile, visual, olfactory, auditory, leaving out only the sense of taste.
We are using this dishpan to contain our sensory play.
The first thing that drew Adrian's attention was this tiny nutcracker.
Adrian smelling a scented pine cone.
I also added a twist to this sensorial activity by incorporating math number recognition and order sequencing. Make sure that each group of objects represents just one numeral:
- (1) snowmen
- (2) scented pine cones
- (3) little wooden nutcrackers
- (4) wooden sleds
- (5) candy canes
- (6) colorful ornaments
- (7) Santa stockings
- (8) wrapped presents
- (9) colorful light bulb ornaments
- (10) jingle bells
Once all the objects were retrieved, Adrian had to sort them by groups, count how many are in each group and match them to the corresponding numeral.
Adrian really enjoyed the jingling sound bells made.
Counting and grouping objects.
The sensory bin's content is all retrieved, counted and matched to its numeral.
For more on Christmas-inspired sensorial exploration, read: