Let your little one have fun this season with this festive Chistmas sensory bin. This bin features red and green rice as the base with various objects thrown in for play and exploration. Read on below for all of the details and how to turn this playtime activity into a fun learning activity!
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Most of these materials can be found at your local dollar store. I have linked similar examples for the harder to find items.
red and green rice (see this post)
colorful plastic ornaments (Dollar Tree)
Rudolph figures (similar set)
clear plastic ornament (similar to these)
other objects of choice
Pour your rice into the bottom of your bin. Add the objects on top. You can pick different Christmas objects to include in the bin. Materials can be rotated in and out throughout the month to keep this bin fresh and new. This will increase intrest and keep your kids coming back for more.
I like to keep the colors separate when setting up the bin. We enjoy watching the colors come together and the bin change appearance as play occurs. I also like to play with my toddler the first time or two that I introduce a material. This was not our first time with rice, but I still played with him the first time anyways. It’s a great way to bond and reinforce any expectations that you have set.
After the initial introduction, I allow more free play and exploration. This time, I even allowed my toddler to play with it in a less supervised setting. After all, the worst he could do is dump it all over the living room floor. (He didn’t dump it at all. In fact, his mess was minimal because I’ve taught and reinforced expectations from an early age.) I always keep a blanket or towel under our bins to help contain any mess that might occur.
One of our favorite things to do with this bin is fill the clear ornament with rice and then pour it back into the bin. As soon as I saw my son attempting this, I added a funnel to help with this activity. He also enjoys burying the various Rudolph figures that I included in the bin. I always allow play to take shape in its own special way. Often times, it looks different from what I expected.
Practice Christmas vocabulary by talking about the various objects in the bin.
Include cups and predict how many times you’ll have to fill the ornament in order to fill the cup.
Bury the objects and give your child clues about where they can find them.
Use a little pretend play to recall the story of Rudolph. Use the figures to act it out.
Sort the ornaments by shape, color, and size depending on which ones you include.
Identify different colors and shapes.
Practice following directions by giving commands and encouraging your child to follow them. (EX: Bury Rudolph in the corner.)