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Christmas Tree Sensory Bin

This week we are getting a Christmas tree delivered which is very exciting (overwhelmingly exciting if you asked the kids) but as usual there is one small issue involved when you have a toddler in the house. Well… it’s the toddler isn’t it? And a Christmas tree. Always a source of excitement and fear, I don’t think I’ve yet had a year as a parent when I haven’t been more than a little concerned that their desire to look at the pretty things would end with a tree on top of a small person. As my toddler adores sensory play at the moment I thought I would try making her a Christmas tree sensory bin where she could safely handle a few ornaments under my supervision and hopefully then not be to desperate to touch them again once the tree is up?! As normal this was a last minute idea so there’s some tips in the post below if you plan on getting this Christmas tree sensory bin ready for your little one while you inhale a cup of tea!

christmas tree sensory bin

You will need:

A large box



Green food dye

Christmas ornaments, use different sizes and textures. I added some white ‘snowball’ pom poms too.


How to make and play with your Christmas tree sensory bin:

Make sure you have a bin or box big enough to hold everything comfortably that you want your child to play with and then dye your rice. I used a 500g bag of rice and this felt like about the right amount to me. Add some green food coloring to it and mix it around ensuring all the rice is coated fully. Wait for the rice to dry before you play with it, so it’s best to prep this the night before.

Tip – I prefer the old fashioned liquid food colorings to the new gel ones as I find its easier to wash off my hands when I’m checking the rice to see if it’s dry!

I’m going to be totally honest at this point and say that I did not prep it the day before, I did it five minutes before and then though ‘oh heck the rice is soaking’ so I dried it on the low setting of my hairdryer while thinking that my friends would think I’d lost the plot. I have no idea if this is a fire hazard or not so I am NOT recommending that you do the same, I’m just throwing it out there as I worry sometimes that people think I am living a Pinterest perfect life!

This Christmas sensory bin kept my two year old entertained for an hour, a huge amount of time for a toddler so you can see it was super popular.

Tip – add bowls and spoons to encourage your child to scoop and pour.

She spent a long time spooning the rice and loves making little rice waterfalls. As a mum I know that sometimes when we’re playing I can drift off a bit thinking about dinner or whatever but messy play with a toddler forces you to be involved because if you’re not paying attention it will soon all end up over your floor! I managed to clear this up in less than two minutes with a broom afterwards which actually makes it much neater than painting or even playdough for us.

Tip – talk about the different shapes 

We also talked a lot about what different shapes and items were in the sensory bin, turn out she can now recognise a star shape which I was pleased about! I’m hoping this means our tree will be in a safer place now as a result of this, but if it looks like she’s about to pull it down on us I’ve popped the rice in a empty takeaway container to use another day so I can always put a couple of bits sagely in the box for her again.

christmas tree sensory bin for preschoolers

You may also like:

Christmas Crafts for Kids:

Want more fun Christmas ideas? Make sure you follow my board on Pinterest! Follow Kate Williams CraftsonSea’s board Winter and Christmas on Pinterest.


  1. 3rd December 2015 / 7:52 pm

    Awww this looks fun! Thanks for linking to the Christmas Craft linky

  2. 6th December 2015 / 9:48 pm

    I love sensory bins, mine are getting past this stage now 🙁 A little tip is that you can dry the rice in the oven on the lowest setting and check every few mins xx

  3. 12th December 2015 / 3:38 pm

    Aww what a fab Christmassy idea! Love it! Suz x

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