Nativity Sensory Bin – a fine motor Christmas Activity for toddlers and preschoolers.
I love coming up with fun activities for the toddlers and preschoolers in my daycare at Christmas-time. The hooligans 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 bin would be too.
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.
How I made our Nativity Sensory Bin:
I picked these nativity sets up 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 play, but this year I decided to use them to create a Nativity Sensory Bin.
For the bin, I simply filled a foil roasting pan with various lentils, tucked the Nativity sets in and added a “christmas tree”. The “tree” is a candle that I’ve had for years, and these lentils get bagged when we’re finished with them, and used over and over again for sensory play.
The Hooligans had a great time playing with the nativity sets this way. The lentils add a whole new element of play. They were busy pouring, scooping, and filling the stables with 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.
I love this too: 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!
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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. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.