A Nativity Sensory Bin is easy to make and a wonderful Christmas activity for toddlers and preschoolers play with at home, daycare or preschool.
I really enjoy coming up with fun activities for the toddlers and preschoolers in my daycare at Christmas time.
The hooligans love digging their hands into a sensory bin, so I recently put this Nativity bin together for them to play with as Christmas draws nearer.
Because our toilet roll nativity set is always such a hit with the kids, I sensed that a nativity bin would be as well, and I wasn’t wrong.
A nativity sensory bin is a great way for little ones to learn about the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas, while at the same time providing lots of fun and fine motor development.
If you’re looking for some great nativity sets that are meant for kids to play with, check out this collection kid-friendly nativity sets that I’ve put together for you.
How I made our Nativity Sensory Bin:
I picked up these nativity sets years ago, at a dollar store. They’re always a big hit with the little ones when I bring them out of storage at this time of the year.
I usually just set the characters and the stables on a table or on the floor for the kids to play with, but this year I decided to place them in a sensory bin so the kids could explore the nativity scene and characters in a different way than ever before.
How to make a nativity sensory bin:
To make our nativity sensory bin, I filled a foil roasting pan with various lentils, and I tucked the nativity stables and characters in. Then I added a Christmas tree (which is actually a candle that I’ve had for years) to the bin.
I know some people think it isn’t appropriate to use food for play, but I we’ll bag these lentils up when Christmas is over, and use them again and again in various sensory bins and for crafting.
An alternative to lentils in the sensory bin:
Another great base for your sensory bin is rice. You can use plain rice, like we did here for our Christmas Village Sensory Bin or you can dye your rice with our easy, no-mess method.
The Hooligans LOVED their nativity sensory bin! The lentils add a whole new element of play. Instead of merely playing with the nativity characters, they were busy pouring, scooping, and filling the stables with the with beans.
It’s interesting how boys and girls tend to have different perspectives on things.
Yesterday, when I set out the Nativity bin for the first time, Miss Mess quickly announced, “I’m going to decorate my house”, and the boys proceeded to make construction noises, and use their stables as a bulldozer.
This morning I set the bin out for a two year old who hadn’t yet seen it. I got called away to answer the door, and got talking with a parent who was dropping off their child.
When I returned to the play area a few minutes later, I had to chuckle at what the 2 year old was busy doing.
I love seeing how creative even the youngest children can be when given open-ended, undefined materials to play with!
More Nativity Crafts and Activities for Kids:
- Toilet Roll Nativity Set
- Popsicle Stick Nativity Ornament
- 21 Kid-Friendly Nativity Sets (that are built for play)
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Anna @ The Imagination Tree
I love it too! Amazing little people do amazing things. Although I have to admit, if *I* had an ice cube tray AND nativity figures that would fit in the cubbies, I’d probably be matching them up too . . . after I got done bulldozing.