Celebrate holidays around the world and other cultures in your classroom through hands-on art and sensory activities! Students can learn about other cultures, traditions, and how they celebrate Christmas in a fun and magical way. Each holiday includes one sensory table idea and one art idea! Make these into large sensory bins, small sensory bins, or individual sensory bins.
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Hanukkah Sensory Bin – Create a sensory bin with colored beans, measuring cups, measuring spoons, mini star baking pans, dreidels, and gelt. The gelt and dreidels are from Michaels. You can find out how to color beans with acrylic paint HERE.
Hanukkah Spin Art Project – To get started with your Hanukkah art project, grab this FREE dreidel printable BELOW. Students can strengthen their scissor skills by cutting the dreidel. Then place the paper dreidel in a salad spinner (any cheap salad spinner will work; this one from Walmart). Students squirt paint on it, close the lid, and spin!
To make a gorgeous background, have students paint a plain piece of paper and glue the dreidel to it once it is dry!
Below is a photo of the setup and materials for the dreidel spin art project.
Diwali Sensory Bin – Fill the sensory bin with colored salt, measuring scoops, funnels, tubes, and gems or pom poms. Students can create rangoli with the jewels in the sand. It is super simple to color sand! Simply empty a container of salt in a thick baggie, add some liquid watercolor, close the baggie, shake and place on a tray to dry.
Diwali Smash Art Rangoli – Rangoli art is often symmetrical and full of geometric patterns. Grab the FREE circle templates and print them on cardstock. Students can cut out the shape to develop scissor skills and fold it in half. Students squirt paint on one side and SMASH it together. When they open it, they will see a colorful symmetrical design.
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Saint Lucia Sensory Bin – Make a festive sensory bin to explore a Saint Lucia tradition with baking powder, scoops, star cookie cutters, star mini erasers, red candles, and fake branches. Students can make crowns with the branches and candles.
Saint Lucia Torn Paper Crown – Make a crown that is wearable or leave it flat. You could display the flat version on a bulletin board. You will need sentence strips or long strips of paper for the band. You will also need long-torn green paper strips (leaves), red 1/2 inch strips (candles), yellow tissue paper pieces (flame), scissors, and glue. Tearing is a tricky skill for little learners because of the motions required. It can be tough for them to twist their hands in different ways while having to grip the paper at the same time. Tear long strips of green paper for them so students have an easier time manipulating the paper into smaller pieces. Students tear and glue green pieces to the band. Cut and glue the red “candles” to the crown. Lastly, “lite” the candles by gluing the yellow tissue paper to the top of the candles.
Christmas Sensory Bin – Grab some chickpeas to make a fun and festive Christmas sensory bin! Then add some scoops, bells, hand tweezers, Christmas mini erasers, silicone cupcake holders, and mini bows. I colored these chickpeas with acrylic paint. Simply add your desired amount of dried chickpeas into a thick baggie, add acrylic paint, close the baggie and shake. Then empty the baggie and place it on a tray to dry. You can also dye chickpeas with liquid watercolor, and you can find out how here.
For more hands-on Christmas fun, visit my ideas for Christmas art and sensory projects! Check out THIS POST.
Lunar New Year Sensory Bin– Make a magical sensory bin for the Chinese Lunar New Year! Place noodles, gold beads, scoops, coins, gems, cups, and gold pipe cleaners in the bin. Students can lace the noodles and beads on the pipe cleaners to strengthen those fine motor muscles. Find out how to dye the noodles with liquid watercolor here.
Lunar New Year Cup Lanterns – Make paper learners and 3D art with cups (Dollar Tree)! Students will cut and tape strips of crepe paper to the inside of the cup, then twist a piece and tape it to the top of the cup to create a handle. Then students can decorate it with tape. This part just might be my student’s favorite thing in the art center! They can also add finishing touches like sticker foam shapes.
Las Posadas Sensory Bin– Make a vibrant sensory bin for Las Posadas with rainbow rice! Then add a mini piñata, scoops, colored shot glasses, tweezers, pom poms, and candy mini erasers. Check out how to make rainbow rice here.
Las Posadas Paper Plate Poinsettias – Make paper plate poinsettias using small paper plates. I like to use small plates because covering a normal size paper plate with tissue paper is a lot of work and requires much patience from your little learners. I pre-cut triangles on the plates beforehand. Students will simply glue red tissue paper (petals) and yellow tissue paper (middle of the flower) to create a gorgeous poinsettia! You can put fake poinsettias on the art table for students to examine, but remember that real poinsettias are poisonous.
Kwanzaa Sensory Bin – Create an amazing sensory bin for Kwanzaa with black beans and red and green rice. Add some wood bowls, spoons or scoops, and tweezers. Fruit and veggie counters would be fun to add to represent mazao, which represents the African harvest.
Kwanzaa 3D Art Candles – Make 3D candles using paper towel tubes. Cut a paper towel tube into three pieces. Cut small black rectangles and yellow tissue paper squares beforehand. Students will tape the rectangle (wick) to the tube and tape the tissue paper (flame) to the top of the rectangle. Students can then paint the candle as they wish. To sneak in some math, students can paint patterns on the candles!
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