Sensory activity ideas for Christmas

This time of year is full of sensory experiences! From the twinkly lights and shiny baubles, to music-playing snowmen, Santa’s beard and the smell of mince pies! Not to mention the crinkly wrapping paper and snow (if we get it!)
Here are some festive craft activities to do at home to help your vision impaired child get into the Christmas spirit and feel involved.

Christmas cards

2020 has never been a better year to send homemade gift and cards!

A handprint Santa or footprint Christmas tree card would be a great way of doing this, and would be a nice keepsake. Some children will really love the sensation of having their hands or feet painted, but also be aware that some children with sight loss are resistant to some tactile sensations that they may not have experienced before, so introduce the activity gradually.

It can get messy so make sure you have plenty of sheets/wipes/towels on hand, and if they are really little, make sure the paints are non-toxic as they are sure to put their hands (and feet) in their mouth at some point!

There are lots of examples of Christmas handprint and footprint cards to be found on Pinterest.

Festive images created using footprints
Christmas tree bauble with raised braille dots.

Braille baubles

We recently came across this great idea for tactile baubles with messages in braille on them!

Baubles often have ‘Merry Christmas’ or similar in text, which may not be seen by those with low or no vision. By adding a braille message, or even personalizing it with your child’s name in braille, it makes the tree more accessible!

You could even play a game to test their braille knowledge by getting them to find the baubles with a certain message on! You just need your usual baubles and some small sticky-back diamantes (available from craft shops). Stick the diamante on to form braille letters and messages, add a ribbon (if you wish) and voila! If you do this with your child, please supervise them and ensure they don’t eat the diamantes or try to place them up noses or in ears!

Or if this is too fiddly for you, there is someone that makes and sells them which is where this idea came from in the first place (check it out here).

Sensory Story and Crafts

Our Enablement Officer Kathryn recently shared a video on our Children & Families Facebook page of her reading the book ‘Have Yourself a Hairy Little Christmas’ by Rosie Greening and Dawn Machell.

In another video, Kathryn then shared some sensory activities and ideas to do alongside this Christmas story –  a story all about Santa’s quest for the perfect beard trim! Activities can be as long or as short as you would like and are perfect for young children.

Watch the videos here and join in with the activities:

Snowman craft activity

Make your own snowman decoration

This one will take a little longer, but is a nice tactile project which will look great when complete! To do this you will need:

  • 2 balloons (any colour)
  • White string
  • PVA Glue
  • 2 buttons
  • 2 small sticks (for arms)
  • Anything for eyes, a nose and a mouth (pom poms or paint would work great)
  • Material to use for a scarf

Blow up two balloons, one slightly bigger then the other – one will represent the snowman’s head and the other its body. You then want to cover the balloons in a thin layer of glue, (this can be messy so be prepared) then start wrapping the string around, making sure to leave small gaps but not too big as once the balloon is popped it will sink inwards if there is too bigger gaps!

Leave to dry overnight; once dry get a small pin and pop the balloons inside. You should be left with two round balls. Take the smaller one and glue it to the top of the bigger ball. Last but not least decorate the snowman, using glue and your items. You might even want to give your snowman a name!

We hope you have fun trying out some of these suggestions – why not share any photos or videos on our closed Facebook group (contact us if you would like to join the group by emailing info@henshaws.org.uk)

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Sarah
Sarah is the Marketing Manager with responsibility for Community Services across Greater Manchester, and the Knowledge Village.