With the holidays rapidly approaching, the kids will be out of school for a few weeks and will likely be full of excitement and energy. Though they’re on a break from school, you can make sure your children continue learning at home.
Becky Meyerson, Executive Director at St. Christopher’s Montessori School, has suggested several sensory activities and craft ideas from resources found around your house, designed to engage the senses and keep your child’s brain working throughout the holidays at home.
Catalog/Junk Mail Snowflakes
Paper snowflakes have been around forever, but that doesn’t mean they’re not still a fun winter project for kids. For a colorful, new take on paper snowflakes, use pages from all those catalogs and junk mail circulars you’ve received this year — with the added bonus of tidying up your home! Since no two snowflakes are alike, encourage kids to be creative with their project and see how many original designs they can make. Be sure to protect little fingers by using safety scissors.
Homemade Colored & Scented Sensory Rice
An affordable and easy way to combine the senses of smell, sight and touch into one fun activity is to create Sensory Rice. Simply combine uncooked rice, rubbing alcohol and frosting creation powder (found at the grocery store to color and flavor white frosting) to create bins of rice — each will have a unique color and scent. Use flavors like gingerbread and peppermint to give this project a holiday theme.
Playdough is an old favorite for children, but give it a twist by making homemade “snow playdough.” Kids love the ooey gooey feeling of playdough for its sensory properties. To make snow playdough, just follow this simple homemade playdough recipe (found here), but don’t add the food coloring. Instead, add in silver glitter to the mixture for sparkle.
Hide & Seek in Packing Peanuts
Holiday shopping is likely to fill your home with boxes of packing peanuts and bubble wrap. Put them to use with a fun sensory play opportunity for your child. Fill a box with packing peanuts, and then hide various toys and objects within the box. Make a list of each item, then have your child search for items using only their hands. Kids must discriminate between the Styrofoam packing peanuts and objects you’ve added to correctly identify each item on the list.
Have children create a holiday-themed wreath made out of M&Ms. Purchase Christmas-colored M&Ms and have children separate them into bowls of red and green. Print off a wreath template (find it here) where kids will place M&Ms on the designated red and green spaces.
Montessori schools rely on fun, hands-on activities like these during the school year to keep children engaged and learning. If you're interested in learning more about Montessori, call St. Christopher's Montessori School at 214-736-3830. You can visit the school online at www.stchristophersmontessori.com.
St. Christopher’s Montessori School
7900 Lovers Lane
Dallas, TX 75225
Southwest corner of Lovers Lane & Central Expressway