Inside: Put together a cheerful candy cane Christmas sensory bin and invite your toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy some hands-on fun!
Looking for an easy (and fun!) sensory bin your toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy?
An activity that includes different textures for the sense of touch?
Something that goes perfect with your Christmas theme?
We’ve created this candy cane Christmas sensory bin that is festive with little stockings, candy canes, red and white dyed rice, and more!
One of our favorite sensory bin fillers is rice.
Our toddlers and preschoolers love the way it feels as it falls from their hands, between their fingers, and into the bin.
Rice can be dyed whatever colors you are wanting for your activity.
We have bags of different colors in our preschool storage room, because once it’s made, it can usually be stored for at least a year.
Before I share how we put together this activity, let me show you how easy it is to dye rice.
How to Dye Rice
- Grab a gallon sized plastic baggie that can be sealed.
- Pour about a cup of rice inside the bag.
- Add about a teaspoon of white vinegar.
- Add as much coloring as desired. (I love using Wilton icing color!)
- Seal the bag and shake until the rice is coated well.
- Open the bag and dump the rice onto a paper towel, spreading it out so it’s a very thin layer.
- Allow to dry thoroughly.
If you want to have different colors of rice, do the above procedure for each color and then, when dry, mix the colors.
Once you have your rice, just add desired accessories to the sensory bin and you are ready to go!
If you want more inspiration, check out these other dyed rice sensory bins we’ve loved:
Candy Cane Christmas Sensory Bin
What we used:
- Dyed rice (more about that in a moment)
- Foam candy canes
- Red and white pom poms (and some green ones got into our bin)
- Candy cane cake toppers
- Plastic candy canes
- Candy cane confetti
- Red and white lollipop sticks
- Small Christmas stockings
- Assorted containers
- Small cups
- Bug tongs
You can vary what you put in your bin. I was looking for red and white objects with different textures.
Admittedly there is a lot happening in this bin, and I could have easily eliminated half of the accessories. What can I say? I got a bit carried away. Ha!
For the dyed rice, I kept one batch natural (white) and dyed another batch red. I then mixed them up in the bin.
Before inviting my students to explore this candy cane bin, we had fun with the song Five Candy Canes by The Kiboomers.
I used my Five Little Candy Canes prop during circle time to work on counting skills while we sang.
If you’d like to include this in your classroom, you can grab the free printable candy cane prop here.
This was a fun and engaging activity during circle time!
Related: Christmas Circle time Activities
Then, we were ready to explore!
The Invitation to Play
Once I opened the candy cane sensory bin, the children were intrigued by all the materials.
The favorite part of rice is scooping and pouring.
Over and over again.
This is why I always provide some sort of fine motor tools for transporting the materials in our sensory bin.
When you add small containers to your sensory bins, that’s a plus.
This gives the children a place to direct what they scoop and pour!
They will love seeing how much they can get in each scoop.
Since our materials were different shapes and sizes, that created more of a challenge.
Small cups work well for scoops, too, especially with the rice.
See how nicely they fit in small hands?
Another favorite? Bug tongs. I use them in so many of our sensory bins.
These are also known as “scissor tongs”, and if you look at the photo above you will see why. This is a wonderful way to work on pre-scissor skills, as the children are learning how to separate the two sides of their hands.
Here are more activities where we’ve used tongs:
So much learning going on in one place!
When finished, save that rice for February when you can use it in a Valentine’s Day sensory bin!
More Christmas Activities
Christmas Learning Printables!
Keep your toddlers and preschoolers engaged with these Christmas themed learning printables!
9 Activities (39 pages):
- Gingerbread Shapes Activity
- Gingerbread Count and Clip
- Gingerbread Pom Pom Color Matching
- Gingerbread Pattern Cards
- Ornament Counting 1-10
- Gingerbread Circle Time Props
- Gingerbread Color Recognition Activity
- Christmas Tree Playdough Mats 1-10
- Snowman Hat Matching Activity
FREE CIRCLE TIME PLANNER!
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