The holiday season is so busy and overwhelming, so I have come up with some ways to extend the life of your sensory bins with these tips for holiday sensory bins that teach preschool, pre-k, & kindergarten students. Read on to see how I made simple changes to my sensory bins, so they were educational and lasted another week!
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Sensory play makes nerve connections in their brain so they can do more complex learning tasks! It promotes social interactions, is calming for most students, and supports cognitive growth!
Most sensory tables teach: self-regulation, oral language, vocabulary, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, crossing the midline, and various social skills like sharing, taking turns, and waiting.
Being intentional with the tools and small treasures you add to the table, you can hit various learning objectives or learning targets.
You can do these in your large sensory table or make small sensory bins. If you use a large sensory table, place the foam pieces and trays directly in the large sensory table.
These activities can be used as a new twist to extend your sensory table filler for another week. For example, week one have filler and tools and treasures. Week two, add shape buttons and a muffin tin. Week three, take out the shape beads and muffin tin and add letter beads with foam objects. Sensory tables are a lot of work, so make them last longer by switching out the tools and treasures with intention, so you hit different learning objectives each week!
Kwanzaa Letter Sensory Bin! Use black beans, dyed rice, and fruit manipulatives to make this Kwanzaa-themed sensory bin. Check out this post to learn how to dye rice. I threw in some spoons and bowls for fine motor exercises.
Extend this snow sensory bin by adding letter beads and snowflakes with letters for a fun letter-matching game! Little learners will develop letter identification, fine motor skills, and letter discrimination skills.
Math Sensory Bins
Hot Cocoa Counting Sensory Bin! Your preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten students are going to love this hot cocoa sensory bin. I added in hot cocoa powder, white pom poms, candy cane mini erasers, coffee cups, scoops, and a funnel.
To extend this holiday sensory bin, give students a die and a tray. They will roll the die and count out that many items and place them in the tray. Students will be practicing counting, one-to-one correspondence, and fine motor skills. If you need a more advanced activity, give students 2 dice and have them make an addition problem and count out the correct number of items for the sum.
Christmas Counting Sensory Bin! Make this Christmas sensory bin with dyed chickpeas, red and green pom poms, small ornaments, little bells, small bows, mini erasers, tongs, and scoops. Little learners will love playing in this busy bin!
Extend the life of the bin another week by adding foam shapes with numbers written on them and have students count out the correct number of manipulatives. Encourage students to use tongs to get the manipulatives to help strengthen their hand muscles.
Gingerbread Shape Sensory Bin! For a gingerbread sensory bin, I added oatmeal, mini erasers, measuring cups and spoons, kitchen tools, and cookie cutters. Preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students will love mixing and measuring in this fun gingerbread sensory bin!
Get another week with this sensory bin by adding shape buttons and a muffin tray. I taped one button on the bottom of each muffin cup. Students will sort the shape buttons into the correct category. Another option, do a color-sorting activity.
Holiday Cranberry Sensory Bin! Grab some water and add in some fresh cranberries and some fresh or fake pine needles to make this sensory bin. I also added some funnels, scoops, and bowls for the first week.
Fine Motor Sensory Bins
Cutting Sensory Bin! Start with wrapping paper, then in week two, add ribbons and bows for students to cut. You can use any holiday wrapping paper to match the holiday you are studying. Add loop scissors for students that need extra support or for if their hands get tired.
I hope these ideas make your holiday time in the classroom a little less stressful! Check out these posts for more sensory table ideas for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten classrooms. Just click on the picture to visit the posts.
Grab these math & literacy centers to get TONS of engaging and hands-on resources for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students. Click the picture to check out each resource.
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