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It's Beginning to Look, Smell, Taste, Sound, and Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Sensory Activities to Get Little Ones Excited for the Holiday

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Earlier this year, Flynn started occupational therapy. Since then, we have learned a lot about sensory processing disorder. In Flynn's case, there are some ways in which he is over-stimulated, others where he is under-responsive, and even times where he craves input. Because of this, I try to work on his sensory development in creative ways whenever I can and Christmastime is no exception.

The following is a list of Flynn's Twelve Sensory Days of Christmas activities:

Day One: Rudolph Jingle Bells
Supplies: Popsicle sticks, brown pipe cleaners, googly eyes, red jingle bells, hot glue, scissors

Day Two: Sensory Christmas Tree
Supplies: For Tree: scissors, gift basket wrap (or plastic bag), colorful buttons, Cool Whip, green food coloring, clear packing tape; For Star: velcro dot, yellow felt
I used Cool Whip so that Flynn could help me with mixing, but you could also use shaving cream as a substitute.

Day Three: Painting Snow
Supplies: two bowls, cotton balls, washable non-toxic paint, paint brushes, something to protect your surface/an area that you don’t mind getting messy
For extra input, use a flashlight to focus on individual colors.

Day Four: Waffle Cone Christmas Tree
Sense: Taste (also a great fine-motor activity) 
Supplies: waffle cone, vanilla frosting, green food coloring, surface to adhere to, candy and sprinkles to decorate

Day Five: Gingerbread Play Dough
Supplies1 cup flour, 1/4 cup salt, 2 tsp cream of tartar1 cup water, 2 TBSP vegetable oil, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cloves
1. Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan.
2. Stir until your mixture resembles cake batter.  It may still have a few lumps in it at this point.
3. Cook slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly.
4. It shouldn’t take too long for the mixture to thicken…continue stirring.
5. Once the mixture forms together, you are good to go! Simply remove the dough from the heat, and knead by hand until smooth.

Caution: Let cool before you let little fingers touch it.  It will be very hot!

Day Six: Holiday Pom-Pom Push
Supplies: old shoebox, construction paper, scissors, tape, glue stick, box cutter, pom-poms (we used the sparkly kind)

Day Seven: Handprint Reindeer Crown
Supplies: construction paper, black marker, felt, hot glue, tape, measuring tape

Day Eight: Fingerprint Christmas Lights
Supplies: cardstock, fine point sharpie marker, washable paints

Day Nine: Sock Snowman
Supplies: sock (mid-length works best), rice (for filling), rubber bands or hair ties, buttons, hot glue, scissors, felt (for face), ribbon

Day Ten: Handprint Wreath
Supplies: green construction paper, pen, glue, paper plate (just need outside edge), washable red paint

Day Eleven: Footprint Penguin
Suppliesblue construction paper, sharpie, washable black and white paint, two paintbrushes (for painting sweet baby feet)

Day Twelve: Snowman Dough
Supplies: 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3/4 cup water
1. Mix baking soda, cornstarch, and water in a saucepan. 
2. Place saucepan on stove top and turn heat to medium-low. 
3. Stir the mix for about 5-8 minutes. 
4. Once the mixture begins bubbling, you are almost finished, but only take your saucepan off the heat when your mixture has formed a clump. 
5. Knead your mixture. The mixture will be hot, so be careful! 
6. Once your mixture has cooled slightly, add in the vanilla extract and continue to knead the dough. 
Caution: Let cool before you let little fingers touch it.  It will be very hot!

Happy Crafting!

Underestimated Strength is a collection of posts all about our journey through life as we navigate preemie parenting after the NICU. You can read my posts here every Tuesday! Also, feel free to follow me on Instagram, where I speak freely about our story and advocacy. Do you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions? Contact me via email:

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