Making a Christmas Sensory Tray
A Christmas Sensory Tray is a great way for your little one to experience lots of Christmassy items, in a safe, controlled way.
Firstly, you need a large tray or box. I had a cardboard tray left over from a food delivery, which was perfect. I just left it as is, but you could wrap it in Christmassy wrapping paper, if you wanted to. Remember to plug any holes otherwise you’ll have a lot of sweeping up to do!
Then, fill the box with dried rice or pasta or both. I mostly used rice, with some macaroni added in as I just love the feel of it! If your child has some useable vision you could dye the rice or pasta Christmassy colours, such as red or green. These links for dying rice and pasta link to outside sources. Instructions for dying rice and Instructions for dying pasta.
Then, start filling it with all your Christmas objects. I wanted my tray to be a real treat for the senses, so I made sure I had objects for all 5 senses.
These little LED tea lights are great if your child has some useful vision. They light up the box and make the baubles and tinsel really sparkle.
These jingling bells really make you feel like Santa’s Sleigh is just around the corner!
I sliced an orange and baked it on low (about 120C) for 3 hours. Along with the cinnamon sticks, they give a real festive scent to the whole tray, and add extra textures as well. You could also add some essential oils such as peppermint or clove, to really increase the Christmassy scent.
Who doesn’t love a candy cane at Christmas?? Its sweet peppermint flavour is a real festive treat.
The whole tray is a sensory delight for the hands! The tinsel, baubles and beads are a great way for children to explore Christmas decorations without destroying your carefully decorated tree! I also included branches from both real and artificial Christmas trees, as a fun comparison of the two types. Pine cones add to the variety of textures, and the cotton wool type material is a good substitute for Santa’s beard.
Hidden in amongst the rice and pasta were various wooden Christmas objects. These made for a fun ‘hide and seek’ game, and are great for fine motor skills, and pre-braille tactile learning.
Finally, add some bowls or cups for scooping, and let the fun and exploration begin!
I loved putting this sensory tray together, and thankfully the kids loved playing with it too! I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine.
Have you made a Christmas sensory tray? What other bits did you include? Let me know in the comments below!
Read all our other 12 Days of Christmas Blogs here.