Christmas Gifts Sensory Bin

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‘Tis the season of giving and when I saw that package of Christmas bows waiting to be put on packages, I knew they were destined for another purpose in this house! Pretty much any item that comes through the door into our home becomes used for sensory play in one way or another. Using those decorative bows and some other sparkly festive items, I put together this Christmas Gifts Sensory Bin for the kids.

Christmas Gifts Sensory Bin #Christmas #sensorybin #sensoryplay #ChristmassensoryA few years ago, when I put together our Winter Wonderland Sensory Bin, I used a foil tray instead of a plastic bin. I like to change up the containers to keep it interesting and also to provide additional sensory input. The foil tray has ridges that provide that extra sensory feedback and it’s shiny so it provides a different visual component than a matte plastic container would.

When I saw how shiny the bows were, I decided that the foil tray would be the perfect container for this sensory bin. I looked around the house and in our sensory drawers and found some other items to complete this sensory play experience.

Christmas Gifts Sensory Bin:

Materials needed:

  • foil tray
  • Christmas gift bows
  • small decorative Christmas gifts (I found mine at the Dollar Store)
  • green shiny pompoms
  • mini Christmas ornaments

Place all the items into the foil tray. You can use a plastic bin if you don’t have a foil tray. You could also add ribbon curls or strips of holiday wrapping paper. The beauty of this sensory bin is that it uses items that you may already have. You could in fact create it after Christmas by reusing your gift wrap, bows and ribbons.

For dozens of other sensory bin ideas, check out all of our past Sensory Bins.

If you are looking for information on making sensory bins, you may be interested in my book all about it. The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Bins

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Christmas Ornament Sensory Bag

Trolls Sensory Bag

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When I was younger, I had a collection of Troll dolls. My collection stemmed from a single troll doll my mom had kept from when she was a little girl. It had long grey hair, about twice the length of the small doll’s body. The hair wasn’t fluffy or fuzzy like the trolls that came later. I kept my troll doll collection until I was in College.  Trolls sensory bag - easy to makeIt was amusing for me when the Trolls fad came around again now that I’m raising my own kids. When they made the Trolls movie, it brought back memories of my troll doll collection. I wish I had held onto some of those dolls for my kids. Though I may not still have my troll dolls to pass down to my daughters, I was able to make them this simple Trolls Sensory Bag for them to play with.

Trolls Sensory Bag

Materials needed:

To make this simple sensory bag, fill a resealable plastic bag approximately half full with liquid hand soap. Add in the erasers and the gems. Take out the extra air and seal the bag well.

If you want, you can fully seal the bag using this Trolls duct tape on all sides of the bag. This will prevent leakage and also prevent younger children from opening the bag up and making a mess with the contents!

As with all sensory play activities, adult supervision is required. When you are finished with this sensory bag, the erasers can simply be washed off and used as erasers.

For other simple sensory ideas, join me for a free 5 part email series Sensory Solutions and Activities and get your Sensory System Behaviours Easy Reference Cards.

Unicorn Sensory Bag

Despicable Me Minions Sensory Bag

13 Effective Calm Down Activities for Kids

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Regulating emotional responses, particularly during times of stress or anxiety can be difficult. It is a skill that many adults have yet to master. It is a learned skill and something that requires practise. One of the ways to teach this skill to children is by teaching calm down techniques. It is important for calm down activities and strategies to be practised regularly, not just in times of high anxiety. This ensures that they become second nature and can be accessed during times when big emotions come into play.

Calm Down Activities:

By far the most effective tool in our calm down toolkit has been our anti-anxiety kit. It has helped our daughter tremendously in regulating her big emotions and in teaching her strategies to calm herself. The techniques in the relaxation prompts have been invaluable.

Stress balls are easy to make. One of the nice things about them is that they can be carried in a backpack or purse or vehicle and always be accessible.

Calm down bottles work well. Your child can watch them without even realizing that their breathing is slowing and they are becoming more relaxed. When I see one of my kids begin to get worked up, I will shake a calm down bottle and set it down in front of them and continue to talk to them. My child will then start to watch the falling glitter or sequins or beads as they listen to me and there is an almost instant decrease in their anxiety level.

Trampoline time. This idea may sound counter-intuitive since jumping may not exactly seem like a calming activity, but calming down and settling down are different things. Some kids need to get that proprioception sensory input in order to help themselves regulate and jumping can be a good way to achieve this.

Using calm down breathing strategies may sound simple, but it is incredibly effective. Find three calm down breathing techniques for kids here.

This calm down mini book provides some concrete strategies that really work. I like how it is small enough to be tucked into a pocket or backpack and used anywhere. If your child uses it often, you may want to laminate it to increase durability.

Blowing bubbles is a great calm down strategy. It naturally causes a slow down in the child’s breathing pattern. This lavender scented bubble recipe also has the calming benefit of the soothing lavender.

These calm down yoga poses are specifically designed to help kids manage big emotions. Movement and a focus on breath team up to help your child regulate their emotions and bring them back to calm.

Listen to calming music or soothing sounds. We use a sound therapy machine that has many options for soothing sounds such as tropical forest, white noise, heartbeat, ocean waves, and waterfall.

Knead, press and pull lavender playdough. The kneading, pressing and pulling provides good sensory feedback and the smell of the lavender adds an extra calming element.

Spend some quiet time in a sensory room or sensory space. If you don’t have access to a dedicated sensory space, you can easily create a temporary one by placing a sheet over a table and throwing a few items in there. Things you can include in this temporary calm down area are a soft blanket or weighted blanket depending on your child’s preference, twinkle lights or a lava lamp, a bean bag chair, fidgets, and a stress ball.

Have a warm bath with epsom salts. All children should be supervised in the bath of course. You can make this experience more calming by using flameless candles in the bathroom or dimming the lights.

Inversion. Inversion is a fancy way of basically saying to get your head below the level of your heart. It has an almost instant calming effect. Inversion can be achieved by bending and touching your toes, doing a headstand or handstand, hang upside down on monkey bars, or hanging with your head off the couch.

Join me for a free 5 part email series, Little Hearts, Big Worries offering resources and hope for parents.

These calming techniques can work well to keep anxiety at bay, but if your child is already in the middle of a meltdown, then you will want to set aside these strategies for another time and pull out the ones outlined here:

5 Critical Steps to Take When Your Child Has a Meltdown

The Chaos and The Clutter Community Center is an online support and resource center offering that “me too” feeling to moms who are parenting children with high needs, particularly those with kids who have trauma, attachment or sensory related needs. I would love to have you join us!

Money Sensory Bag

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I like to create sensory activities to go along with some of our homeschool unit studies. When it comes to subjects such as science or social studies, it’s easy to come up with a sensory play idea, but math is a bit harder. When I saw a package of money confetti, I knew immediately that I could use it to finally create a math themed sensory activity. I was able to create a Money Sensory Bottle and this Money Sensory Bag.

Money Sensory Bag - great addition to a unit study #math #sensoryMoney Sensory Bag

Materials needed:

This money sensory bag would be a great compliment to a math unit study on money.

To assemble the money sensory bag, fill a plastic bag half full with liquid hand soap. Dump in some of the money confetti. Take the extra air out of the bag and seal.

You can also seal the bag fully by using duct tape such as this green duct tape around all the edges. This is especially good to do if younger children will be playing with the sensory bag. Just like with all sensory activities, adult supervision is recommended at all times.

You can use some of the other money confetti to create a money sensory bottle or a money sensory bin. This will enable you to have many sensory options or a little math money sensory station in the classroom or at home.

Join me for a free 5 part email series Sensory Solutions and Activities and get your Sensory System Behaviours Easy Reference Cards.

Squishy Sky Sensory BagArctic Sensory Bag