Five ideas for Christmas sensory play activities with play dough, for lots of hands-on, creative fun.
Christmas sensory play activities with play dough
Let the children give the ingredients a good stir to bring them all together to form a dough. Give it a knead for a couple of minutes and you’re ready to play.
I set out the play dough with some cookie cutters, and the ‘decorations’ you can see in the first photograph: bits and bobs from our craft supplies like pompoms, sequins, small pieces of ribbon, rikrak and pipe cleaners.
If your children love to snip you could give them big lengths and scissors, so they can cut their own decorations.
We used this Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter, which my daughter thinks is cool with all the trees fitted together.
If you don’t have a tree cookie cutter, your children can of course mould their own trees free-hand, cut out triangles with a knife, or mould up a 3D tree tree shape.
That’s the beauty of play dough – so malleable.
And then everyone can explore the sensory materials and decorate their trees.
Offer a good selection of craft supplies so there are lots of colours, shapes and textures to explore.
Chat while you are all playing and talk about the materials. Are they shiny, soft, spiky, twinkling, bright, glittery, bumpy, flat…?
And of course, you don’t have to make Christmas trees. Enjoy exploring the dough and the materials, and make any shapes, patterns and sculptures your children like.
Although it’s fun to take something the children are experiencing in real life – at this time of year that’s Christmas trees and decorations – and use it as a spring board into play and learning, there is immense value in letting children lead the activity.
Let them choose what shapes to make with the dough, and how to arrange the decorations.
It doesn’t matter if the finished product looks nothing like your idea of a Christmas tree. Encourage and value your children’s own expression of their creativity.
Download your ready-made Nativity Unit
Download the Play Academy’s ready-made Nativity Unit and you’ll have everything you need to lead a set of activities to introduce your children to the Nativity story.
This Unit includes artist-drawn puppets/colour-in nativity scene characters and printable Bible verse cards, that your children can use year after year.
In this Nativity teaching unit your children can:
:: learn about the Nativity and create their own Nativity book or small world scene using colour-in puppet / nativity scene characters
:: learn about Mary and Joseph’s journey, and explore junk modelling
:: learn about the shepherds role, and explore loose parts
:: learn about Jesus’ birth
:: learn about the three wise men, and complete their book / re-tell the story in their small world
Bonus Nativity thematic unit printables
The Play Academy’s thematic units come with practical printables that make the lessons more engaging for your children and easier for you to teach.
No need to go searching for printables to accompany your lessons, they’re all included when you download your chosen unit.
In this Nativity Unit you’ll receive these bonus printables:
:: My Nativity Story book to write, colour and complete to tell the Nativity story
:: a set of artist-drawn My Nativity Puppets to colour, cut out and use to re-cap and act out the Nativity story
:: Nativity Vocabulary Cards to recap and consolidate learning
:: Nativity Bible Verse Cards to read, narrate your own acting out of the story, and perhaps to memorise
How to download this Nativity thematic unit
You can download this unit along with over 50 more from NurtureStore’s Play Academy.
If you are already of the Play Academy, you can download this unit straight away from our Library here.
If you are not yet a member, find out more and choose your first unit here. Your teaching is about to get a whole lot easier!