By Hillary Kleck
The holidays are full of opportunities for sensory experiences! From concerts to visiting Santa, exploring dreidels and menorahs, or trying some really good food, there is certainly something for everyone. There are many ideas overfilling the Pinterest boards, but we took some time to search out seven activities that we think kids with visual impairments would especially love!
So, this year why not try one of sensory play activities below with your child to get in the holiday spirit? The best part is that each one uses materials and ingredients you probably already have at home or wouldn’t cost much to pick up at your next stop by the store! Have fun and be sure to share your pictures with us on social media!
Snow Shivery Paint, Cold Dough, and Sparkly Slime
Growing a Jeweled Rose has an abundance of sensory play activities on their website including these three various winter recipes that are fun to touch, smell, and even listen to if you want to experiment with the erupting science of baking soda! The Shivery Snow Paint is a simple recipe (include making it as part of the fun!) that kids can use to create a snowy art project or use for messy play. Once it dries, it forms a nice tactile graphic you can feel!
The Cold Snow Dough is like magic snow that starts out cold, fluffy and powdery, but you when you pack it together as you would a real snowball, it forms a nice dough you can mold and shape. Then, if you want to take it even further, put some vinegar in a mist bottle and spray your snowman! He’ll magically erupt making a snow avalanche. It’s so much fun for kids to hear and feel the fizzy foam melting down!
Last, the Sparkly Snow Slime uses glue, borax, warm water, and a few drops of peppermint extract to create an icy cold, white slime that is sure to please just by the yummy minty smell! Kids can play with it inside a large bowl and search for little objects inside the slime (yay for fine motor skills!), or just feel it slip and slide through their little fingers! One Pinner used it for a Melted Snowman Activity that kids think is really silly and sure to enjoy. Be careful, Olaf!
What’s In The Stocking? Game
We’re so in love with this simple, yet all around wonderful game for kids who are blind, sighted, or anything in between! Even adults will enjoy playing along. All you need is a Christmas stocking and lots of little objects to put inside. You could use things from around the house or gather a variety of holiday themed items in the dollar aisle. Little Wonders’ Days used items like a gift bow, miniature candy cane, and a little gingerbread man among other small toys. Kids simply reach into the stocking and pull out an object to identify by touch. You can keep score or just use it as a holiday tactile discrimination activity (be sure to show it to your child’s occupational therapist or TVI!). After the holidays, keep the stocking or trade it out for a box or bag to keep playing. If your child masters all of the objects, then find some new ones to try!
My Christmas 5 Senses Book
This simple book has been getting tons of traffic on Pinterest and rightfully so! It’s easy to assemble and could be adapted for kids with CVI by using colors and pages specific to the child, or add braille to each page for someone who is blind. Each page has a tactile representation (or the object itself) of a holiday object related to each sense. One page in the original book created by Life Over C’s has a cutout gingerbread man above the line, “I smell the cookie.” How much fun would your kids have feeling the gingerbread man, reading the words, then actually being able to smell the aroma of gingerbread cookies?! Another page has a miniature candy cane attached to it. Why not use a real one you can pull off and taste right then? Each page is completely sensory friendly. You could easily create multiple books with different objects!
Get Moving with Christmas Songs
The Holidays wouldn’t be complete without a few songs to dance and sing along to while you’re spending time with your friends and family. This list of Christmas Song with Movements for Kids from Fantastic Fun and Learning combines your favorites with instructions to get kids moving. Our favorite might just be the Reindeer Pokey to the tune of The Hokey Pokey where “You put your antlers in, and you shake them all about!” Not only are the songs cute, but each one will get everyone involved through pretend play and learning new actions. Each song could be adapted depending on the child’s abilities and interests, too. Sign language is also included in the original article!
Whether you’re searching for ideas to include everyone in the classroom or gather siblings and cousins at home, these holiday sensory play ideas are sure to get the job done while everyone has fun! Are you going to plan one or two of these activities with your kids? Let us know what you’re doing and how it goes by sharing your stories in the comments section below! We, as well as many other parent and teacher readers, would love to know what’s great or what didn’t turn out so well. Let’s connect!