Bells are an awesome tool for sensory stimulation - they’re shiny, smooth, and pleasant to the ears. Plus, the holidays are just around the corner, making these jingle bells sensory activities extra festive!
Sensory play has many benefits - it can be calming and help with self-regulation, especially for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities like autism and ADHD, or help to wake up children who have an under-responsive system.
Remember to always supervise your child when playing with small objects.
Our 3 festive sensory activities recommendations:
Ice Cube Tray For Fine Motor
With this activity, your toddler will:
- fine-tune their fine motor skills
- strengthen hand muscles
- learn about numbers
- practice sorting colours
- enhance literacy skills
- bells! The smaller, the more challenging
- Coloured bells are ideal. We didn’t have coloured bells, so we used stickers to assign colours.
- tongs (optional)
- an ice cube tray
- scissors, markers, and paper to label the ice cube tray
- Cut out paper that corresponds to each bell colour to fit into the ice cube pockets.
- With a marker, write out the colour on each piece of paper and tape to the ice cube pocket and load into the tray.
- Using white paper, do the same for the remaining pockets but label with numbers instead of colours, and load into the tray.
- Have your child use the tongs (or by hand) to sort the bells into their respective colours and put the right amount of bells in each of the number pockets
Feel free to adapt this activity according to the needs of your child. You can make this activity focused only on colours or only on numbers. If your child is ready, take it up a notch by combining them. For example, 2 red bells, 2 green bells, 3 blue bells, 3 green bells.
This magic bell shaker is captivating, noise-making, and super fun! This activity also gives children the opportunity to make hypotheses, test, observe, draw conclusions, and make discoveries.
- a variety of colours is more stimulating
- a clean, plastic soda bottle with cap
- a magnet
- fill the bottle up with other materials like:
- cut-up pipe cleaners
- water beads
Ways to Play:
- Combine all the objects in the bottle and close the cap
- Have your child freely explore by shaking and rolling the bottle
- Use a magnet to manipulate the bells and other magnetic objects in the bottle
Sensory bins provide children with the opportunity to explore and learn through hands-on tactile play that engages their senses. Picking up and manipulating small objects can also help young children with their fine motor skills.
- tongs (optional)
- a bin to contain everything
- holiday-themed cookie cutters
- other small objects like:
- cotton balls
- pine cones
- santa, elf, reindeer figurines
Ways to Play:
- Combine all the objects in the bin
- Have your child freely explore the objects in the bin with tongs or with their hands
- Play in parallel with your child and follow his or her lead
- Imitate what your child does and see if he or she imitates what you do
- Teach concepts like soft and hard, big and small
- Be a narrator:
- self talk - narrate what you are seeing, hearing, or doing (“I see so many colours”)
- parallel talk - narrate what your child is seeing, hearing, or doing (“shake shake shake! You are shaking the bell!”
Sensory bins are great for free play and open-ended play. For a more enjoyable play experience, try to limit telling your child what to do or asking too many “testing” questions. With sensory bins, it’s crucial to supervise your child to prevent ingesting small objects.