Winter has fully descended upon us this week, with LOTS of snow and bitter cold. To keep the kiddos entertained, we made this fun winter sensory and fine motor activity for preschoolers, affectionately named – Jumbled Snowman. And you can find nearly all the supplies you need to make one of your very own at the Dollar Store. It takes less 5 minutes to put together…
Winter Sensory and Fine Motor Activity for Preschoolers
Winter is tough with young children. The weather often limits active time outdoors and free exploration. I find my kids crave sensory play more than ever, and I think it’s why these Jumbled Snowman sensory gel bags are such a hit.
You can find almost all the supplies you need to make your own in the Dollar Store or your kitchen.
Cost: Less than $5
Prep Time: Less than 15 minutes
Clean-up Time: None
This was originally inspired by these Gingerbread Sensory Bags from Gift of Curiosity. But since we discovered these post Christmas, we made a winter-themed version instead! You could definitely make these gel sensory bags year round with any theme. Check out our Starry Night Sensory Bag as part of our Studying the Stars series, and this Shark Tank sensory bag we made for Shark Week on Left Brain Craft Brain!
Making Your Winter-Themed Sensory Bag
I highly recommend using a freezer bag for your sensory bags. I have used Dollar Store bags in the past, and they don’t hold up as well to repetive play and manipulation by tiny fingers… which is the whole point, right??? Quick tip – you can easily remove the printed label on the bag with a Magic Eraser!
To start, draw a snowman outline on your bag with permanent marker. Then, cut out shapes from foam for the hat, scarf, nose and arms. Hobby Lobby sells individual foam sheets for less than $1 each. You can also get this pack of 50 assorted sheets from Amazon to stock your craft closet. Use black sequins and googly eyes for the rest of the snowman parts.
Next, empty your entire bottle of hair gel into your gallon freezer bag, along with the sequins, googly eyes, and snowflakes. You can find 16 ounce bottles of clear hair gel your local Dollar Store. Squeeze out as much air from the bag as you can, seal closed and then tape the bag shut as well.
Watch it all come together!
See how simple this really is to make in this 2-minute tutorial video!
Endless Winter Themed Sensory Play
Since the girls were going to play with these on our kitchen table, which is a darker surface, I taped the bag to the white side of some heavy scrapbook paper. It made it easier to see the snowman outline, and helped hold the bag in place as they dragged the components around.
At 3 years old, Big M is my crafter – and has always had a great attention span. Lil’ M has the attention span of a flea – but even she sat and played with her bag for a good 10-15 minutes, which is decades in her time. Since these are flat, I have kept them stored on the kitchen counter, and drag them out every other day or so when I need to buy myself 10-15 minutes to get meals on the table or round everything up to get out the door. And even Dad, who is usually not into crafts, has taken a turn at trying to un-jumble our Jumbled Snowman!
More Winter Sensory & Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers
The change in temperature and snow offers the ultimate resource for endless sensory activities for preschoolers. And you don’t necessarily have to go outside to enjoy it! Bring the snow inside for Indoor Snow Play, and let your kids explore it with all their senses. Or for more Snowman fine motor fun check out this Paper Punch Snowman from Craftulate.
Not cold enough to snow where you live? Make Playdough Snowman with this simple set-up from Crafty Kids at Home. Or make your own Instant Snow with this simple recipe from Wunder Mom. And this one is still on my personal bucket list – Freeze Bubbles! Get the inside scoop on how to make your own Frozen Bubbles from Fireflies and Mudpies.
You can find all of these ideas and more on our Winter and Sensory Play boards on Pinterest! What fun winter sensory play ideas will you be tackling this month? Follow me on Instagram at @PGPBMeghan to see our latest winter fun.
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