Word Building Christmas Sensory Bin

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What better way to end the year than with a bit of a celebration-in-a-box, or in our case a celebration in a sensory bin?! This Word Building Christmas Sensory Bin has so many ways to play and learn, you won’t have to worry about replacing this activity all December long, making your life and planning just a bit easier for the month.

*Pair with our December Kindergarten Printables Bundle!

Work on letter identification and early reading skills in Pre-K and Kindergarten with this fun word building Christmas sensory bin!

Word Building Christmas Sensory Bin

This was such a fun sensory bin to put together, and depending on what printables you have on hand or concepts you are working on, you can switch things up to explore other learning concepts or slightly different themes.

I love all of the delicious textures going on with this bin – from that crunchy shredded paper to the smooth and silky tinsel, to the squishy present boxes, smooth and rough ornaments (depending on if it was covered in glitter or not), the scratchy tree and garland, smooth and rustic mini-wreaths, and of course, those cute glittery snowflakes that blended in perfectly with the shredded paper.

Mini wreaths, small ornaments, and mini present boxes are great additions to this sensory bin.

I made sure that this sensory bin was very open-ended so we could really extend and get the most out of it.

While the main purpose is using the letters on the snowflakes for word building (by either stringing the snowflakes on the tree, a garland, or even a piece of tinsel) there were also counting opportunities, lots of fine motor building, and overall, it was a really engaging bin that I practically had to tear the kids away from when we needed to transition to something else.

Place all of the materials you have chosen in a large bin and add the Christmas tree for students to play with.

How to Make a Word Building Christmas Sensory Bin

First, gather your materials:

  • Small Christmas tree
  • Paper shreds
  • Tinsel
  • Empty “present” boxes
  • Small present scatter
  • Mini grapevine wreaths
  • Small lengths of garland (same material as the tree)
  • Glittery snowflakes (at least 26)
  • Assorted ornaments
  • Large storage bin
  • Permanent marker

I purchased several new things for this sensory bin because I just couldn’t resist, but you can create an awesome Christmas sensory bin with fewer materials or whatever you have on hand.

The point is taking into consideration open-ended learning and providing lots of different forms of stimulation and exploration.

The students can count or sort the present boxes and add them to a larger box.

Use the permanent marker to write out letters or numbers on any of the materials you desire.

I wrote the entire alphabet on the glittery snowflakes – you can also use the ornaments, present boxes, or cut out paper snowflakes for this.

If you don’t want to permanently write on your snowflakes, you can attach a small piece of masking tape to the backs of the ornaments and write the letters on the tape for easy removal when you are done with this sensory bin.

The Christmas tree was the centerpiece in our sensory bin.

RELATED RESOURCE: Christmas Writing Center Activities

I loved watching how the kids naturally played with this Christmas sensory bin before I showed them how to string the letters on the garland to make words.

Students can string the letter snowflakes on the garland to make words.

This was a bit tricky, so test it out before you set out the sensory bin to ensure it’s not too difficult.

The material for the ornament hangers may be difficult for little hands, or the loops may be too small to work onto the garlands.

We worked on CVC words like "cat."

This bin has a lot of different learning opportunities, as mentioned above, but really, the stand out to me was the amount of sensory stimulation and how pretty and inviting the bin was to the children.

I really think sensory play cannot be underestimated in a classroom, especially in an overwhelming season like Christmas.

Kids love playing with the Christmas tinsel.

The kids also really enjoyed being able to decorate the mini Christmas tree however they wanted – and there were some wonderful decorating ideas that they came up with throughout the month.

Next year, I may just have to add a second tree because it really was the star of this sensory bin!

They can use the tinsel to decorate the Christmas tree.

The only thing to warn about with this sensory bin is that I had a few kids who unraveled a million little presents and that caused an uproar – and the shredded paper and tinsel sticks to fabric, so the kids were constantly “bringing bits of the sensory bin” around with them.

Stuff like that doesn’t bother me though – and it’s better than wet shirts from water tables or the feeling of gritty sand all over the floor – but I knew I should give some of the mess averse among us a heads up.

Use a large bin so the students have plenty of room to play.

This Christmas Word Building Bin was so much fun to make and the kids got so much use out of it for the month of December!

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Jennifer
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