December means lots of opportunities for playing with jingle bells, and today I want to share with you a simple jingle bell Christmas sensory bin we have been having fun with recently!
In case you’re not familiar, a sensory bin is basically just a bin or bucket of hands-on sensory materials that kids can explore and play with in order to have fun while also developing and refining their sense of touch. Learn more about how to use sensory bins for therapeutic purposes here. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (see full disclosure here).
This month, my littles and I have been having fun with this jingle bell sensory bin, which brings a whole new sensory component to tactile play — the sense of sound!
All you need to re-create this activity is jingle bells, sparkle craft pom poms, and cotton balls. If you don’t want your little one playing with cotton balls they can pull apart, consider using soft white pom poms instead. It’s amazing how adding an auditory component really changes the dynamic to sensory play…and it makes the materials and bin so much more fun to scoop, rattle, and shake!
For the full tactile sensory experience, allow your kiddo to play and explore just with their hands — no tools allowed! Talk about the differences in how the materials feel. There is quite the contrast between a soft cotton ball and a hard, metallic jingle bell. You can talk about the other sensory components as well, such as visual (what colors and sizes they see) and auditory (whether the different materials are noisy or quiet).
If you want to add a fine motor practice component to this activity, consider setting out some kitchen tools for scooping, dumping, and squeezing.
My preschooler has enjoyed experimenting with scissor tongs and our ice cream scooper, while my toddler has been fascinated by trying to figure out how to squeeze mini salad tongs in order to pick up the items (The scissor tongs pictured below are from this site, but you can actually find better ones here).
You may find that your kiddo likes to practice transferring materials from one bin to another, which can actually be great practice for hand-eye coordination and crossing midline (what’s that?)
You can also show your preschool-aged child how to sort the items into different containers using either their hands or tools such as the tongs and squeezers found in this awesome fine motor kit.
Be sure to only offer these types of materials to children who will not put the items in their mouth. Check out Little Bins for Little Hands for more sensory bin play ideas and tips.