I am so excited to share with you something fun that we did to prepare our hearts and get excited for Christmas this year. Our family is Christian, and so it was fun to celebrate our love of Jesus and sensory play with these activities. It was amazing to see how much our kids learned (4 Year Old Twins & 2 Year Old). Their focus was much better when participating in sensory play while we discussed the Birth of Jesus. During the sensory play we had discussions, sung songs, read our favorite Christmas books, and read from Luke 2.
Note on the Bins: For most of the bins I used stuff that I had laying around the house. My goal was to make it fun, quick, and inexpensive. All of the bins I prepared in less than 5 minutes and my girls enjoyed helping me put them together.
Day 1: Angel Sensory Bin
Contents: Marshmallows, tin foil, and cotton balls
Discussion: Angels are God's messengers and the news that angels told Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds in the Bible.
Day 2: Travel and Census Bin
Contents: People Figurines, Coins, Plane, Train, Car
Discussion: We counted people (basic concept of census), found coins in the sensory bin (represented taxes and reason for the census), and discussed Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem and how it was a long journey because they did not travel by plane, car, or train.
Day 3: No Room In Inn (Knock, Knock Sound Bin)
Base: Popcorn (awesome crunchy sound)
Contents: Bells, Pots and Pans, Spoons
**You could do anything that you have around the house that makes noise
Discussion: We talked about how there was no house or hotel that Mary and Joseph could stay in. I had the kids "knock" the different items together and I would say there was no room in the inn.
Day 4: Manger Scene (Where the Animals Live is Where Jesus was Born)
Contents: Animals, Person Figurine to be baby Jesus, Yellow Ribbon to be Straw, Lego Block to be the manger, tissue paper to swaddle baby Jesus, popsicle sticks and Lincoln logs to build fences or mangers.
Discussion: We did a lot of singing "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night." We talked about how baby Jesus was born where animals lived.
Day 5: Baby Washing (Could substitute with Baby Swaddling if you do not have a baby doll you can "wash")
Contents: Water, sponges, spray bottle, and soap
Discussion: We talked about baby Jesus being born. We washed the baby and then swaddled the baby. We talked about what a gift babies are.
Day 6: Shepherds Sensory Bin
Contents: Candy Canes, bells, and Cotton Balls
Discussion: We talked about shepherds and how their job was to watch sheep. We also talked about how candy canes are shaped similar to the staffs that shepherds used. We discussed angels appearing and telling the shepherds the good news. We also talked about how exciting it was that the shepherds got to visit baby Jesus.
Day 7: Star in the Sky
Base: Shaving Cream
Content: Foam Stars
Discussion: We talked about how there was a bright star in the sky the night Jesus was born. I introduced the Wise Men and talked about how they would follow the star to find Jesus.
Day 8: Bright Star
Base: Yellow Jello
Content: Foam Stars
Discussion: I used this day as kind of a fun review day and went over everything we had discussed. We also talked more about the special star and Wise Men.
Day 9: Perfect Gifts (Our Perfect Gift)
Base: Heart Noodles
Content: Baby Jesus
Discussion: I wrapped up a cardboard box filled with heart noodles and Baby Jesus. The kids unwrapped it and we talked about how at Christmas time we receive gifts. I then discussed how Jesus is our greatest gift. We talked about Jesus being God’s Son. I also talked about the gifts the Wise Men brought Jesus.
Day 10: Birthday Party for Jesus Sensory Bin
Content: Candles, Cupcake Tins, Cupcake Liners, Sprinkle Bottles (Anything Birthday Related)
Discussion: We talked about how Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’s birthday. We sung happy birthday to Jesus and talked about how fun it is to celebrate birthdays.