Sensory bins are so much fun and can literally keep kids entertained for hours! We usually set up our sensory bin and keep it out for days, weeks sometimes even for a month! We made a fun Autumn Sensory Bin, an Alphabet Apple Picking Sensory Bin, a Christmas Small World Construction Site sensory bin, and so many more! I was so excited to make this fun Christmas Sensory Bin that helps build fine motor skills and also gives off an amazing aroma of cinnamon and vanilla!
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Making the Colored and Scented Rice
Making colored and scented rice is really very easy and also very forgiving! Grab 2 gallon sized bags and open them. Place about 1 Tbsp. of extract in each baggy. I used cinnamon extract and vanilla extract but I think that peppermint extract would also be perfect for a Christmas sensory bin! Add many drops of green and red food coloring to the baggies. I will estimate that I added at least 20 drops, no need to count, just eye ball it! From there place two cups of white rice in each baggy, and close them. Shake the baggy until the food coloring and extract covers all of the rice. If the color doesn’t seem right then add more food coloring.
On a cookie sheet place 2-3 layers of paper towels. After you’ve let the rice sit and absorb the liquid for about five minutes you can pour it out onto the paper towels. Spread out the rice and allow to dry for 20 minutes to an hour. I noticed that the vanilla scented rice dried very fast and the cinnamon scented rice took about an hour. I’m not sure why this is but drying time may vary slightly.
Once the rice is dry it is ready to play with!
Christmas Sensory Bin
I mixed all of our colored and scented rice, along with about a cup of regular white rice in the bottom of the sensory bin. I placed a random red lid on the bottom to create an added area for play, along with various containers and the measuring spoons. On top of the rice I placed red and green and white wooden beads. Along the back wall of the bin I placed five different Christmas cookie cutters.
Little Buddy and Baby Bear (2 y.o. twins) jumped right in! They love sensory bins!
Baby Bear had fun transferring beads and a few pieces of rice to and from different containers.
Scooping and pouring is great fine-motor practice for little ones! It is easy for them to practice pouring solid objects and it helps them build confidence with pouring liquids For example pouring themselves a bowl of cereal will be so much easier if they’ve build up these simple motor skills using play!
Little Buddy loved smelling the rice!
They worked on their pincer grasp by picking up the beads from inside of the rice.
Baby Bear was practicing scooping with a spoon by scooping up the beads.
It’s always fun just to pick up the rice with your hands too!
Christmas Sensory Bin is part of the Winter Wonder Series. Make sure to check out other articles in the series including Hot Cocoa Cloud Dough, Candy Cane Goo-Bleck, Snow Play Dough from Ivory Soap, and Christmas Fine Motor Skills Activity.
If you liked reading about Christmas Sensory Bin you should check out our other sensory play activities!
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