Simple Holiday Sensory Bins You Can Make In Minutes

craft items for holiday sensory bin

With winter approaching, it‘s time to think of some creative indoor play activities that will keep your child engaged.  Holiday sensory bins offer a fun way to keep our kiddos attention while exploring new textures in a fun play-based activity.  Sensory bins are also great for working on a variety of developmental skills including sensory integration, tactile sensory processing, self-regulation, attention, joint engagement, fine motor skills, and language skills.

Below is a list of items you can use to create a fun holiday sensory bin.  The goal is to provide your kids with a variety of textures for them to engage and explore.  All of the items can be modified as needed.

Items to use in your holiday sensory bin

  • Snow (Epsom salt). You can buy scented or unscented depending on your child’s personal preference.  Sometimes the Eucalyptus or Lavender scented Epsom salt can offer a calming sensory input.
  • Reusable ice cubes. Place these in the freezer the night before and then add them to the sensory bin to make the snow cold.
  • Jingle bells
  • Garland 
  • Pine cones
  • Puff balls 
  • Ribbons 
  • Holiday toys
  • Snow animals 
  • Whatever else you would like to add! 

Games to play in the holiday sensory bin

  • Pretend play
  • I spy
  • Hide and seek
  • In/out container play

Tactile sensitivities

Some kiddos are more sensitive to different textures than others.  If your child is sensitive to textures in the sensory bin it is important not to pressure them to touch the different textures.  Be patient and let your child approach the textures at their own pace.

You can model playing in the sensory bin yourself and keep exposing your child to it.  They might need to try playing in it a few times before they feel comfortable participating.  You can also give your child a tool to play in the bin such as a spoon, toy shovel, or rake.  This way they can interact with the texture and play but they don’t have to touch it. Most importantly, have fun!

If you’re interested in learning more about how occupational therapy can improve sensory regulation, check out our page here!

Written by Marra Robert OTD, OTR/L

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