Crazy For Christmas Trees: Sensory Play Tree

With this year’s holiday season being the first that my little ones were old enough to participate in, I was excited to see which of the holiday traditions or symbols they would really get excited about.  Would it be old Saint Nick and his reindeer? Perhaps Frosty the Snowman?  Well folks, the people have spoken.  The verdict is in- Christmas trees reign supreme in our house this year!

The twins squeal with delight and scream “Eeemah-teee!” at every tree they see. They love our “big” tree in the living room, their small one upstairs, and the Sticky Christmas Trees we did last week.  So naturally, I had to plan a Christmas tree sensory bin activity to celebrate the season!

*This post includes affiliate links- thanks for keeping us in pom poms 😉

Setting up this activity was fairly simple.  I started with some $2 eight-inch trees I found in the seasonal section at Walmart (I’ve also seen them for even cheaper at the Dollar Tree).  I like them because they are just the right size for toddlers to manipulate and still fit in a bin. Similar to bottle brush trees, their “needles” are   stiff enough that little ones can decorate them by poking small items into them without needing any glue or other adhesive.  The trees have a plastic base so I was able to use a little hot glue to secure them to the bottom of the bins, but they pulled right off without doing any damage later on.

After securing the trees, I filled the bins with a layer of rice to represent snow, and then added small, light items from my stash that the kiddos could poke into the tree’s needles. My selection included pompoms of different sizes, feathers, sections of pipe cleaner twirled into corkscrews, felt shapes, and large buttons.  I also added some strips of small garland and handfuls of red paper shreds for tinsel. Finally, just for fun I added characters from our Christmas playset (*edit 11/13-sorry, I can’t find it to link to anymore- it was from Sri Toys but looks to be discontinued) to encourage some imaginative play.  We invited Tex over to give Mama Tex some snuggle time with their new baby (Congrats!!) and each kiddo got their own tree to decorate!

Our tots wasted no time exploring the materials.  Will LOVES to play with rice, so he chose to simply dig around and sprinkle it all over everything for the majority of the time!

Sydney, on the other hand, decided that in addition to Santa, Mrs. Claus, and an elf, we needed to add the characters from our HABA Nativity Play Set as well.

Baby Jesus is included in almost every activity we do these days. He even came to Target with us today 😉

Pretty soon, Syd decided she would rather sit in her high chair to decorate her tree, and  then she got busy with those pompoms.

I think she was trying to get away from the crazy boys!

Meanwhile, Will busied himself by gathering all the felt sports shapes for his tree.

But the real star of the show for this activity was Tex.

He loved decorating his tree and was super proud of himself!

Long after the twins had moved on to other things…

…he was still adding to his masterpiece.

Didn’t it turn out beautifully?

If you get a chance, try this activity with your own littles this season!  It’s great for fine motor development, imaginative play, language development, and reinforcing basic concepts such as color recognition.  And most importantly, it’s just plain fun!

Merry Christmas!

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