Here are our top 8 Christmas sensory activity ideas from last years Baby Christmas Classes.
Bells – Crawling babies love chasing bells around like a ball while they listen to them make a reaction the movement they see. So long as bells are large enough and not a choking hazard, otherwise have supervision with this one. Trying singing ‘Jingle Bells’ while you shake a bell in their hand.
Christmas lights – Aside from being a visual sensory resource, hanging Christmas lights just out of reach will help strengthen upper body muscles for crawling and climbing. For little babies use tummy time even if the lights are above them. This will make them arch their backs and use their arms to push off the ground.
Split Green Peas – Not a terrible thing to taste, but targets the touch sensory in babies and they love this. I added pom poms and funnels to older babies.
Christmas Wrapping Paper & Ribbon – Scrunching up Christmas paper and kicking around makes babies feel submersed in texture. This enveloped feeling builds their spatial awareness and helps them feel what’s going on all around them. They laugh and kick about touching the paper with their feet. You can use paper off cuts and different ribbons textures and sizes that you have leftover.
Christmas Rice – Because the split peas were green I wanted to use red coloured rice for this Christmas baby class. I added cheap present bows for older babies to destroy and pull apart.
Here’s a link to our coloured rice recipe.
Handmade Christmas Wrapping Paper – I make this as the wrapping paper for grandparents. Add paint, glue and glitter together to get the best effect. Keep baby wipes on hand so it doesn’t go all over you and use card paper rolled out rather than thin paper.
Snow Balls – Cotton wool balls are so soft to touch and gave an opposite texture to hard rice and hard split peas. I added Christmas foam stickers for older babies to find and I encourage you to help your baby pull apart a cotton ball using that opening out motion to build outward arm strength.
Tinsel Play – With supervision, tinsel play is lots of fun! Shaking the tinsel while singing a Christmas Carol or using it using different widths of tinsel to touch. Tinsel can be overwhelming and over sensory stimulating so if they get sick of playing with that texture, that’s okay. Let them come back to it when they want to.
Giving your baby stimulating sensory activities and talking to them about it will help build their understanding of what they are touching and feeling. Christmas can be an overstimulating time for babies, so unless it’s tummy time and your baby is frustrated by the touch of something it’s okay to get them away from that sensory activity and try again later to desensitise. Short amounts of time more often is better than sensory overload for longer period of play.
By Sarah Courtney
Mum of 3, Wife of 13 years, Early Childhood Teacher & Blogger.