Christmas Sensory Activities

Whew, what a week this has been! We’ve been talking all about Christmas occupational therapy activities for kids here on The OT Toolbox and today ends the week of Christmas activities in this series. We’ve talked about all the ways to make this holiday season special while working on underlying skill areas and incorporating occupational therapy goals. Today, it’s all about Christmas Sensory Activities that can be used in the classroom, clinic, or home programs over the holiday break. Use these Christmas play ideas in sensory diets, to create sensory bin ideas or sensory bottles!

Our Christmas sensory bins are a great place to start when it comes to sensory play activities during the holidays.

Use these Christmas sensory activities to promote development, play, learning, and fun this holiday season while working on occupational therapy activities.


Christmas Sensory activities

If you’ve missed any of the blog posts this week, you might want to catch up on all of the ideas! You can check out all of the Christmas Activities for Kids here on our main Christmas page. 

Some of the ideas we’ve covered are Christmas activities for preschoolers, Christmas activities for toddlers, Christmas crafts for kids, and Christmas party ideas. All of these activities have a therapy mindset where they encourage movement, play, and motor development with a Christmas theme!

With the upcoming holiday season, kids can be all over the place when it comes to excitement for holiday events. Try incorporating some of the Christmas sensory activities listed below to encourage sensory play with a learning twist.

Christmas activities for kids

First, you’ll want to check out a previous post here on The OT Toolbox where we shared sensory processing activities and sensory experiences perfect for the month of December.
Try this scented peppermint sorting activity to work on fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Add motor skills like finger isolation to count the peppermints or use tongs to move the peppermints and strengthen the hands.
Mix up a batch of candy cane moon dough for sensory play with a fresh scent! Moon dough can be used as a writing tray to practice letter and number formation or to work on eye-hand coordination  in scooping and pouring. 
Have you ever let the kids play with cooked pasta as a sensory play experience? It’s a tactile challenge for some! This noodle sensory activity can boost fine motor skills. Try cutting them to sneak in some scissor work, too.
We shared this Christmas tree sensory experience the other day on our Christmas activities for preschoolers post, but it’s worth mentioning again. There’s a reason why: manipulating wet pieces of foam is a fantastic tactile sensory experience that doubles as a fine motor activity, too. 
For a sensory recipe, try this scented playdough for creating miniature snowmen. Add a few manipulatives to make it a fine motor powerhouse. This is an OLD post here on the website. Beware, the pictures are small and dark!! That doesn’t stop the play dough from being fun though! Add this activity to your holiday lineup.
Another sensory recipe is this DIY snow recipe, perfect for play and fine motor work. This would make a great addition to a home program for the holiday break!
Add a few colored ice cubes and scoops, spoons, and ladles to a big bowl for eye-hand coordination and fine motor precision with a Christmas theme. Kids love water play and this Christmas water activity is no different!
This easy Christmas sensory bin can be a go-to activity for settling holiday excitement in the days leading up to Christmas. Use materials you have in your home to work on fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, and more through sensory play.
Getting the kids into the kitchen is a great way to work on so many skills with kids! Direction following, executive functioning skills, motor skills, strengthening, and more are developed through cooking with kids. Make a batch of this Gingerbread Salt Dough for sensory play and ornament-making. These ornaments are still on our tree years later! Check out the pictures on this OLD blog post. This takes me back to those busy days as a mom of toddlers and preschools! Tears!
Colder weather doesn’t mean outdoor play needs to stop. Take a sensory potpourri hike outside with the kids and explore nature by creating a potpourri. Add bits and pieces such as various pine needles, pine cones, and add in orange peels or cinnamon sticks. Kids can cut pine needles with scissors and add them to the scented collection. 
For many more Christmas sensory activities, check out this round up of activities from all over the internet.
Need another scented DIY play dough recipe? This one is a peppermint scented play dough, perfect for rolling, needing, and strengthening those hands!

Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet. It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way! Read more about the adapted Christmas Paper here


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    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to