15 Festive Holiday Sensory Activities for All Ages

Oskar and the Eight Blessings

Sensory activities are wonderful to do all year, but around the holidays you can make them more exciting than ever. Turn a sensory bin into a gingerbread-themed activity or make your playdough smell like peppermint. These fun holiday sensory activities will be a hit with your students – of all ages! Yes, even teens love sensory activities!

Even better? You likely already have all of these materials on hand, so you can put easily get through the last week of school before winter break with calming sensory activities.

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Check out these 15 awesome winter sensory activities!

1. Festive sensory bottles

These creative sensory bottles are fun and easy to make. Just follow these simple directions:

  1. Fill a bottle halfway with water.
  2. Add half a cup of glue.
  3. Add green glitter, red and green sequins, and green food dye.
  4. Hot glue the lid closed.
  5. Decorate the outside of the bottle.

2. Individual sensory bins

Create a colorful sensory bin with easy-to-find objects. Here’s how:

  1. Dye pasta green and red.
  2. Add holiday objects like acorns, cookie cutters, ribbon, and cinnamon sticks.
  3. Enjoy!

3. Gingerbread sensory bin

Gingerbread Theme Sensory Bin
Source: Pre-K Pages

This is another fun sensory bin idea for the holidays. It will bring The Gingerbread Man to life!

  1. Fill the bins halfway with brown rice.
  2. Add gingerbread cookie cutters, spoons, nutmeg (for smell), and jingle bells (for sound).
  3. Watch as your students play, touch, smell, and listen to this cool holiday bin!

4. Magnet sensory science fun

You’ll need a few more supplies for this activity, but it’s both sensory and teaches magnetic science!

  1. Fill a bin halfway with plastic weighted beads or other filler of your choice (rice, cotton balls, etc).
  2. Add straws, pipe cleaners, and paper clips.
  3. Put in a magnet kit.
  4. Add metal objects like jingle bells or cookie cutters.
  5. Let students use magic wands to magnetize and sort all of the objects.

5. Shaving cream tree

Don’t want to make a big mess? Try out this fun Christmas tree sensory activity with your class!

  1. Use green tape to tape down the sides of a clear cellophane triangle.
  2. Fill the inside of the triangle with shaving cream and green food dye.
  3. Place small items inside of the tree (these will be the ornaments).
  4. Fold over and tape shut the bottom of the tree.

6. Peppermint sensory bin

This peppermint-themed sensory bin will make your classroom smell amazing!

  1. Dye rice red and add peppermint extract.
  2. Add the dyed rice, foam peppermint candies or candy canes, red and white bells, and red and white pom-poms or whatever you have on hand to a bin.

7. “Dear Santa” trays

Letters to Santa Holidays Sensory Activities
Source: Turner Tots

Create your own letters to Santa with this simple idea. Super festive, it also helps younger students practices letter formation!

  1. Fill a tray with sand or rice dyed red.
  2. Have students use a candy cane to practice writing letters in the sand.

8. Touch and feel box

Engage your students with these holiday-themed boxes that use items you can easily find around the house.

  1. Start with an empty tissue box (preferably one that is holiday themed).
  2. Add small objects to the box that can be holiday-themed or not (jingle bells, small ornaments, feathers, beads, etc.).

9. Hot chocolate sensory bin

Who doesn’t love a hot cup of cocoa around the holidays? Create this sensory bin to bring the flavors and smells of hot chocolate to life.

  1. Mix chocolate tea bags with pinto beans to create the smell (take out the tea bags when students are playing with it so they don’t rip).
  2. Add cotton balls to look like marshmallows.
  3. Put small plastic cups into the bin.
  4. Students can use the cups to scoop up the beans and cotton balls.

10. Peppermint playdough

Playdough is a classic for kids! Follow these simple directions to make extra-festive peppermint playdough.

  1. Start by making the playdough and letting it cool. (Here’s one popular playdough recipe if you don’t already have one you love!)
  2. Split the playdough into halves and dye one red and one white.
  3. Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the playdough to give it the scent.
  4. Let your students play with the playdough and make candy canes with the two colors or use cookie cutters to make holiday shapes.

11. Glitter snowflake sensory bag

These sensory bags are fun to make, cool to look at, and even better to play with!

  1. Add hair gel to a Ziploc bag.
  2. Add glitter to the bag.
  3. Cut out a snowflake on a piece of cardboard.
  4. Place the bag under the cardboard and tape it so that you can only see the bag underneath the snowflake cutout.

12. Felt Christmas tree wall art

Felt Christmas tree wall art

Use the felt, construction paper, pom poms, wrapping paper, cutouts, stickers, garland, etc. from holiday sensory bins to let students create their own Christmas trees. Hang them on your wall for your very own festive forest! You can also order a kit from Amazon Prime to have a fun ready-made activity ready for the end of the week. The felt is great for sensory seekers. Spray it with pine-scented essential oil to up the sensory experience!

13. Chanukah sensory bag

Chanukah Sensory Activities
Source: Torah Toy

Create awareness of the Jewish Holiday, Chanukah, by making a cool sensory bag. It’s easy to make and fun to play with. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a Ziploc bag with hair gel.
  2. Place Chanukah items in the bag (dreidels, candles, small menorahs, etc.).
  3. Mix up the items and tape the bag closed.
  4. Make sure to teach students about the holiday and discuss the importance of each item. Oskar and the Eight Blessings is a great start.

14. Kwanzaa sensory table

Help your students learn about Kwanzaa with this sensory activity. You can include items such as corn, fruits, small baskets, vegetables, and cloth. Use an informative book, such as The Sound of Kwanzaa, to enhance learning.

15. New Years fizzy activity

Last, but not least, don’t forget about New Years! Create a fizz that will send everyone zooming into the new year!

  1. Pour baking soda into a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle gold glitter on top.
  3. Slowly, pour white vinegar into the bowl.
  4. Watch it fizz!

These are all super fun sensory activities that will get your students in the holiday spirit. Try one out with your class to get ready for the upcoming holidays!

Also Check Out:

Oskar and the Eight Blessings

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Michael Marcal

Michael Marcal is a special education advocate for parents and a former special education teacher from PreK through 8th Grade in Orlando, Florida. He enjoys baseball, exercising and theme parks! Michael also loves to travel, especially on cruises.

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