Monday, November 11, 2019

35+ Winter Sensory Bins for Kids

Looking for winter sensory bins for your toddlers and preschoolers? Try one of these awesome winter themed and/or snow sensory bin ideas!

Winter is truly a beautiful season, especially when giant snowflakes slowly fall from the sky or the hoar frost decorates the trees.

I mean I could do without the cold temperatures, however. But when you're born and raised in Saskatchewan, you kind of just make do even when it's -40 C. You just learn to make the best of it and dress accordingly.

And on those days that are too cold to go outside, you bring a little bit of the outside world indoors. That's where these winter sensory bins come in handy. You can build snowmen and play with snow without having to put on thousands of layers of clothing.

So if you're looking to make a sensory bin for your kids this winter, try one of these awesome ideas (using real snow is totally optional by the way).

Winter sensory bin ideas for preschool and toddlers

Winter Sensory Bins

There are so many different ways to make a winter themed sensory bin for kids. You can use ice, snow (fake or real), cotton balls, cloud dough, water, rice...the possibilities are endless!

Below you'll find tons of awesome ideas that incorporate a wide variety of textures and colors. You can try replicating these ideas at home or simply use them as inspiration to make something else that suits your child.

1. Winter Sensory Bin (pictured)

2. Scented Snowflake Sensory Bin (pictured below)

3. Winter Sensory Bin with Water Beads

4. Easy Winter Sensory Bin with Packing Peanuts from No Time for Flash Cards

5. Winter Sensory Bin for Toddlers from My Bored Toddler

6. Figure Skating Winter Sensory Bin from Every Star is Different

7. Snowflakes & Snowballs Water Sensory Bin from Fantastic Fun & Learning

8. Winter Sensory Bin with Dyed Rice from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

9. Winter Wonderland Sensory Bin from Powerful Mothering

10. Frozen Winter Sensory Bin with Dyed Barley from No Stress Homeschooling

11. Winter Sensory Bin Activity from Mommy's Bundle

12. Arctic Sensory Bin with Coconut Play Dough from Adventures and Play

13. Winter Wonderland Sensory Bin from The Chaos & The Clutter

14. Winter Sensory Bin with Rice from The Iowa Farmer's Wife

15. Winter Sensory Bin with Epsom Salt from What Can We Do with Paper and Glue

16. Snowflake Sensory Bin from Life Over Cs

17. Frozen Inspired Winter Sensory Bin from There's Just One Mommy

18. Snowflake Sensory Bin from The Chaos & The Clutter

Snowflake sensory bin

Winter Sensory Bins That Focus on Early Learning

Sneak some learning - whether it's counting or literacy or something else - into that sensory bin with these fun ideas!

1. Sparkly Winter Sensory Bin with Snowflake Letters (pictured below)

2. 4 Wintry Sensory Bins for Learning from One Time Through

3. Winter Theme Alphabet Sensory Bin from The Educators' Spin on it

4. Winter Counting Sensory Bin from The Imagination Tree (pictured)

5. Letters in the Snow Sensory Bin from The Letters of Literacy

6. Word Recognition Winter Sensory Bin from Mama Miss

7. Snow Life Cycle Winter Sensory Bin from Teaching Mama

Winter themed sensory bin

Snow Sensory Bins to Try {Using Real Snow}

Too cold to play outside? No problem! These winter sensory bins involve bringing the snow indoors. Here are some fun ideas to try using real snow:

1. Arctic Small World Sensory Bin with Real Snow & Ice

2. Snow Sensory Bin {+ 6 Other Ideas to Play with Real Snow} (pictured below)

3. Digging for Colors Snow Sensory Bin from Mom Explores the Smokies

4. Snow Dinosaurs Sensory Bin from Happy Toddler Playtime

5. Real Snow Sensory Bin from Messy Little Monster

6. Snow Sensory Bin from Happy Hooligans

Snow sensory bin

Snowman Sensory Bin Ideas

Do you want to build a snowman?

I sure hope you sang that like the Frozen song. Otherwise, I'm disappointed in you...but seriously, if your kids are craving the some snowman fun, try one of these fun sensory bin ideas.

1. Melted Snowman Sensory Bin with Shaving Cream from Preschool Inspirations (pictured)

2. No Snow Snowmen Winter Sensory Bin from Housing a Forest

3. Snowman Sensory Bin from Every Star is Different

4. Winter Snowman Sensory Box {Read Along & Play} from Where Imagination Grows

5. Simple Snowman Sensory Bin from Living Life and Learning

Other Winter Activities You'll Love

Winter Sensory Bottles

Snowflake Balance Game

Free Printable Snowflake I Spy Game

Winter sensory bin ideas for toddlers, preschool, and kindergarten children
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Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Free Printable Snowmen Barrier Game for Speech Therapy

This winter themed free printable barrier game is a perfect way to work on speech therapy and language goals.

Looking for an easy way to work on speech and social skills with your kids?

Well, barrier games are one fun way to do that!

This simple free printable winter barrier game features cute snowmen for your kids to place around a winter scene. Since this barrier game uses less objects than some of my other ones, you'll find it's a great option for those kids who may need something simpler to practice their skills.

Free speech therapy barrier game: winter themed

What is a Barrier Game?

Barrier games are a way to practice speech and social skills concepts by creating and describing scenes to another player and having them recreate the scene on their own game board. An example of a barrier game that you might be familiar with is Battleship.

You can learn more about barrier games and their benefits here.

We personally use barrier games to work on skills such as:

  • Following directions
  • Listening skills
  • Prepositions (on, under, above, beside, next to, etc.)
  • Expressive speech
  • Vocabulary
  • Turn taking
  • Comprehension

How to Use the Free Printable Barrier Game

To prep this barrier game, you will need at least two players. Simply download, print two copies of both the scene and the items (one copy for each player), cut the individual items, and laminate all pieces for durability (optional).

To play this barrier game, have all players sit at a table and set up a barrier (a file folder or book works great!) so that all players cannot see each other's materials. Each player takes turns placing an object on the scene and describing to the other player where to place the objects. Each player should give specific directions on where to place the objects. The objective of the game is to have identical pictures at the end. That is, all players should have matching scenes with the items placed in the same spots for all players.

Please keep in mind that I am not a speech pathologist. I created these barrier games using ideas from our son's speech pathologist as well as from researching about barrier games, what they are, and how to use them.

Download the Free Printable Winter Snowmen Barrier Game

This free printable barrier game includes three pages, including details instructions on how to play, a landscape or scene, and game pieces.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE

Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!

Want More Barrier Games?

You'll find even more topics in the barrier games bundle!

Printable speech therapy barrier games for kids

Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Speech Barrier Games

Barrier Games Bundle Pack

Free Printable Christmas Cats Barrier Game

Free speech therapy barrier game: winter themed
Read More

Free Printable Winter Barrier Game for Speech Therapy

This winter themed free printable barrier game is a perfect way to work on speech therapy and language goals.

While winter doesn't officially start until late December, winter is a reality much earlier here in the Canadian prairies. We spend a good 5-6 months in snow with cold temperatures. That means we get to enjoy sledding and making snowmen for a lot longer than most people do...

So since we embrace winter around here for a long time, I put together this free printable winter barrier game for speech therapy. It's a pretty simple one, making it great for even the littlest of kids.

Free speech therapy barrier game: winter themed

What is a Barrier Game?

Barrier games are a way to practice speech and social skills concepts by creating and describing scenes to another player and having them recreate the scene on their own game board. An example of a barrier game that you might be familiar with is Battleship.

You can learn more about barrier games and their benefits here.

We personally use barrier games to work on skills such as:

  • Following directions
  • Listening skills
  • Prepositions (on, under, above, beside, next to, etc.)
  • Expressive speech
  • Vocabulary
  • Turn taking
  • Comprehension

How to Use the Free Printable Barrier Game

To prep this barrier game, you will need at least two players. Simply download, print two copies of both the scene and the items (one copy for each player), cut the individual items, and laminate all pieces for durability (optional).

To play this barrier game, have all players sit at a table and set up a barrier (a file folder or book works great!) so that all players cannot see each other's materials. Each player takes turns placing an object on the scene and describing to the other player where to place the objects. Each player should give specific directions on where to place the objects. The objective of the game is to have identical pictures at the end. That is, all players should have matching scenes with the items placed in the same spots for all players.

Please keep in mind that I am not a speech pathologist. I created these barrier games using ideas from our son's speech pathologist as well as from researching about barrier games, what they are, and how to use them.

Download the Free Printable Winter Barrier Game

This free printable barrier game includes three pages, including details instructions on how to play, a landscape or scene, and game pieces.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE

Or subscribe to the Weekly Autism Planner newsletter to gain access to hundreds of printables in the subscriber library!

Want More Barrier Games?

You'll find even more topics in the barrier games bundle!

Printable speech therapy barrier games for kids

Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Speech Barrier Games

Barrier Games Bundle Pack

Free Printable Christmas Cats Barrier Game

Free speech therapy barrier game: winter themed
Read More

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Giant Christmas Light Suncatchers {Christmas Craft for Kids}

You're going to love this easy Christmas craft for kids. Make an entire string of Christmas light suncatchers to decorate your window this holiday season! Great for kids of all ages and all abilities.

When it comes to Christmas crafts for kids, I always aim for something that's easy to make and will last a long time. I try to brainstorm crafts that are great for a wide range of ages and abilities so that my kids can make them together. It's a bonus if my kids can collaborate on the craft too.

Well, this Christmas craft happens to do all of that.

It's a perfect craft for kids of all ages and all abilities to make. For instance, toddlers will love ripping as a way to help make a set of these giant Christmas light suncatchers, while older kids can do this entire craft independently. They can even opt to use scissors if they want to work on some fine motor skills.

And everyone can make one, two, or more of these lights and then they can combine all their hard work into making one big long string of lights to decorate the house with.

I promise that these Christmas light suncatcher crafts are ridiculously easy to make. They even use items that you can find at the dollar store, making it an inexpensive craft too.


Christmas Craft for Kids: Make Giant Christmas Light Suncatchers

I love decorating for Christmas, especially with homemade Christmas decorations and ornaments. Every year, I decorate our tree with some of the homemade ornaments that I made when I was in school. And I absolutely treasure every single one of them!

My hope is that my kids will make some Christmas decorations and ornaments that they will love for years, even when they're grown adults.

Thankfully, these giant Christmas light suncatchers (or is it sun catchers? I never know) are made with contact paper so they'll hopefully last many years.

Like I've mentioned earlier, this suncatcher craft is great for a variety of ages, works on fine motor skills, and looks so beautiful hanging in the windows. Trust me, the pictures just don't do this craft justice! Plus, photographing around a grand piano is challenging so that's why some of the angles are weird.

Christmas suncatchers craft inspired by Christmas lights

How to Make this Christmas Light Craft

Kids of all ages - toddlers, preschoolers, and up - can make this Christmas craft. Adults are allowed too. Don't worry, I wouldn't leave you out like that... 

They're so easy to make and look fantastic hung up in a row, as if they're a string of real Christmas lights.

You can certainly make them as big, or as little, as you like. We, however, chose to make big lights since I have a huge window out front to decorate.

Ready to make some of these giant Christmas suncatchers with your kids?

Then you'll want to check out the full tutorial on CBC Parents (link below).





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Winter Sensory Bin

This winter sensory bin idea for toddlers and preschool aged kids is so easy to put together. Plus, it works on fine motor skills too!

When you live in Saskatchewan and you don't get any snow in November and December, it's extremely unusual. Sometimes that means we have to get a bit creative when the kids are desperately wanting to play with snow.

This simple winter sensory bin is a quick and easy solution to explore winter through sensory play, without having to rely on using real snow.

It's just another classic dump and play style sensory bin - like most of my other sensory bins - meaning you can be set up and ready for sensory play in mere seconds.

I also love that this sensory bin is a great way to work on fine motor skills.

Winter sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers

Winter Themed Sensory Bin: What You'll Need

Like I mentioned above, this winter sensory box is so simple! Simply dump all of the materials into a large plastic container and start playing. No extra set up is required!

Here's what we used for this sensory activity:


Winter sensory bin ideas

This Winter Sensory Box is Perfect for Toddlers & Preschoolers to Work on Fine Motor Skills

I always like to set the fine motor tools outside of the sensory bin for the kids, but you can toss them in too, if you'd like.

Fine motor winter sensory bin

The scissor tong things have been a favorite for my kids for years! So it is no surprise that my youngest K went straight for them. He wanted to scoop up all of the "snowballs."

Preschool kid working on fine motor skills with a winter sensory bin

And he liked to use them to chomp the snowmen's heads. Unrelated, but check out those eyelashes on K! And the shirt he's wearing seems fitting too...(it says official hot chocolate taster)

Preschool kid working on fine motor skills with a winter sensory bin

He also liked to pick up the different snowflakes with the scissor tongs. However, it wasn't long before he ditched the fine motor tools for some bigger tactile sensory exploration.

Preschool kid working on fine motor skills with a winter sensory bin

He would pick up armfuls of snowballs and drop them to let it snow!

Winter sensory bins for toddlers

Winter sensory bins for toddlers

Other Ideas You'll Love



Easy winter sensory bin activity for toddlers, preschool, and kindergarten kids to work on fine motor skills
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20+ Calming Christmas Sensory Bottles for Kids

Inspiration for how to make Christmas sensory bottles for your child's calm down kit.

Christmas is definitely the season of sensory overload and sensory meltdowns are aplenty. Routines change drastically during Christmas and, for many, it's hard to cope with transitions.

These Christmas sensory bottles are a great tool for helping kids cope with the changes in routine and for teaching self-regulation skills. And, hopefully, they will help your child avoid getting stuck in meltdown mode.

Besides, kids of all ages - yes, even babies and toddlers! - can enjoy the benefits of these sensory bottles. They're just a great tool for helping kids self-regulate and calm down when they're feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated. They even make a great addition to a Christmas calm down kit.

How to make Christmas sensory bottles that are calming for babies, toddlers, and preschool aged children

Christmas Sensory Bottles that'll Help Kids Calm Down

Ready to make a Christmas calm down bottle for your kids?

Well, grab some jingle bells and some glitter because you're going to find lots of inspiration for how to make your own sensory bottle for Christmas. You'll probably want to make them all because they're all so pretty!

1. Red & Green Christmas Sensory Bottle from Teaching Mama (pictured)

2. Liquid Density Christmas Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands

3. Christmas Tree Sensory Bottle from The Chaos & The Clutter

4. Christmas Sensory Bottles for Babies from Little Lifelong Learners (pictured)

5. Christmas Tree Sensory Bottle from Stir the Wonder

6. Magnetic Christmas Sensory Bottles from No Time for Flash Cards

7. Christmas Holly Sensory Bottle from Views from a Step Stool

8. Christmas Tree in a Bottle from Sunny Day Family

9. Christmas Confetti Sensory Bottle from Teaching Mama

10. Grinch Calming Jar from Big Family Blessings

11. Christmas Sensory Bottle from Laughing Kids Learn

12. Jingle Bells Discovery Bottle from Preschool Inspirations

13. How to Make a Christmas Sensory Bottle from Blessed Beyond a Doubt

14. Christmas Shapes Discovery Bottle from The OT Toolbox

15. Shake Up a Christmas Tree Sensory Bottle from One Time Through

16. Christmas Ornaments Sensory Bottle from The Chaos & The Clutter

17. Christmas I Spy Bottle from Simple Play Ideas

18. Christmas I Spy Sensory Bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands

19. Holiday Sound Tubes Sensory Bottles from No Time for Flash Cards

20. Christmas Counting I Spy Discovery Bottle from The Chaos & The Clutter

Other Calming Christmas Resources You'll Love

Winter Sensory Bottles

Christmas Calm Down Kit

Free Christmas Social Stories

Christmas sensory bottles for kids of all ages - babies, toddlers, preschool, and up! They make a great addition to a calm down kit for kids.
Read More

Monday, November 04, 2019

Free Christmas Social Stories

Need a Christmas social story to explain presents, Santa, or the holidays in general to your kids? You'll love these free social stories about Christmas.

Like Halloween, Christmas can be an extremely overwhelming holiday for autistic and sensory kids.

There's so many changes in routines to start with. Then there's the parties and concerts, the blinking lights everywhere, and the same Christmas tunes on repeat everywhere you turn.

It's also one of those holidays that never seems to end, but maybe that's just my thoughts because I'm not much of a holiday person to begin with...

Anyway, you can help reduce the overwhelm by preparing your child with these free printable and video social stories about Christmas and Santa.

Free printable and video social stories about Christmas for kids with autism

Free Printable Holiday and Christmas Social Stories for Kids

1. Seeing Santa Social Story - Written by yours truly, this social story about visiting Santa is incredibly detailed and uses full color photos.

2. Receiving Gifts Social Scripts - Okay, it's not technically a social story, but I think it's important to include this little book of things to say when receiving gifts on this list of holiday social stories.

3. Christmas Social Story from Little Puddins - A surprisingly detailed social story considering how few pages there are.

4. 4 Social Stories for Christmas from Positively Autism - You'll find four social stories on the following topics: what to expect at Christmas, getting presents, going to visit Santa, and visiting family at Christmas.

5. Social Story about Santa from Little Puddins - This social story describes who Santa is and what his role is, if that's your thing.

6. Seeing Santa Social Story from The Deane's List on Teachers Pay Teachers - A rhyming social story that also appears to feature lots of diversity in the clip art.

7. Social Story About Being in a Christmas Concert from Kara Johnson on Teachers Pay Teachers - A short story about participating in Christmas concerts.

8. Presents Social Story from Exceptional Resources for Special Needs on Teachers Pay Teachers - This social story discusses how to react when you don't like the present you receive on Christmas.

9. Thank You for the Present Social Story from Fabulous Room 6 on Teachers Pay Teachers - This story looks just alright, judging by the preview, but it may still work for your needs.

10. Christmas Social Story from Mrs. Mactivity on Teachers Pay Teachers - An 8 page social story that describes what to expect during the Christmas season.

11. Christmas Day Social Story from The Autism Page - A simple one page social story about Christmas Day, but there's also lots of other visuals available here too.

Free Santa Social Story Video for Kids

It is shockingly difficult to find good video social stories about Christmas. I was kind of surprised.

The following Santa social story is specific to visiting Santa at the library and receiving a gift after. However, you could easily adapt this story and make one that better fits your needs.

I do like that this video has written text (so important when you have a hyperlexic kid) and uses real footage of kids interacting with Santa. The text isn't super detailed or anything, but it could work as a nice introductory social story about Santa.


Other Resources You'll Love

Tips & Resources to Help Autism Families Survive the Holidays

Christmas Calm Down Kit

Easy Christmas Sensory Bin

Free Christmas social stories for kids to learn about Santa, Christmas concerts, presents, and more!
Read More