If you love Christmas, you’ll love this fun sensory-friendly and STEM activity-oriented Christmas pattern block sensory bag! Once Christmas rolls around, we are all about that hands-on Christmas STEM activity list, and this year we added a sensory element to our Christmas tree STEM activities with this Christmas tree sensory bag.
It was a lot of fun making this bag, and it was so easy to do, too!
All you need to bring this bag to life is some pattern blocks, hair gel, and a bit of imagination!
Here is how to bring STEM into the holiday season for even the youngest kids!
Bring STEM to Life with a Pattern Block Sensory Bag
Scroll down to get the directions to make your Christmas tree pattern blocks, but first, make sure you have everything you need to teach the lesson to preschoolers from the right materials to the right supplements.
Keep scrolling to the bottom of the post to find out how to make your own Christmas pattern block sensory bag and the benefits of STEM activities for preschoolers during the holiday season.
Table of Contents
Why Should I Include Pattern Blocks in My Preschool Classroom?
Preschoolers can learn a variety of valuable skills and concepts through play with pattern blocks.
These colorful geometric shapes offer a hands-on and engaging way for young children to develop their cognitive, mathematical, and spatial skills.
Here are some of the key things preschoolers can learn through pattern block play:
Shapes and Geometry
Pattern blocks introduce preschoolers to basic geometric shapes, such as triangles, squares, rhombuses, hexagons, and trapezoids.
Preschoolers can learn to identify, name, and differentiate between these shapes.
Manipulating and arranging pattern blocks helps preschoolers develop spatial awareness and an understanding of how shapes can fit together to create larger designs.
This is a fundamental skill for learning geometry and problem-solving in the future.
Fine Motor Skills
Handling and manipulating the small pattern blocks can enhance fine motor skills for preschool children.
Preschoolers practice hand-eye coordination as they pick up, position, and fit the blocks into patterns.
Pattern block play introduces mathematical concepts such as symmetry, congruence, and symmetry transformations (e.g., flips, slides, and rotations).
Preschoolers can explore these ideas by creating symmetrical designs and matching shapes.
What Can Preschoolers Learn with Sensory Bags?
Playing with squishy textures, such as this Christmas tree sensory bag, can be a fun and sensory-rich experience for preschoolers.
Sensory bags provide learning and development in various areas, including sensory awareness, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills.
Here’s what preschoolers can learn through play with sensory bags:
Squishing, squeezing, and manipulating squishy textures allow preschoolers to explore their sense of touch and tactile sensations.
Preschoolers learn about different textures, temperatures, and consistencies, which enhances their sensory awareness.
Squishing and manipulating squishy materials like playdough, slime, or sensory balls helps preschoolers develop their fine motor skills.
Pinching, rolling, and shaping these materials require hand and finger coordination, which is important for tasks like writing and drawing.
Exploring squishy textures often involves solving challenges, such as figuring out how to shape a specific form or how to make textures stick together.
Squishy play can incorporate basic math concepts.
For example, children can compare the sizes of different squishy shapes, count the number of pieces they have, or divide squishy materials into equal parts, introducing early math skills.
Exploring the properties of squishy materials can introduce basic scientific concepts such as changes in shape, texture, and state of matter.
Children may experiment with how squishy materials behave under different conditions (e.g., temperature changes).
Christmas Pattern Block Sensory Bag Set Up
The easiest way to introduce this Christmas pattern block lesson to preschoolers is to have everything set up in advance.
For this Christmas pattern block sensory bag, the math element is at a basic level for preschoolers.
Kids learn a lot about spatial awareness that helps develop a stronger grasp on geometry, problem solving, and pattern-making skills.
But you can also use the Christmas sensory bag to solve simple math problems, count, write numbers, and tons of other activities!
We also learned that if you don’t want to use hair gel to make your Christmas tree pattern block sensory bag, you can instead use hand sanitizer.
It won’t have quite the same feel, but it’s easier to clean up if the bag happens to get opened.
And if you’re looking for another preschool-friendly Christmas STEM activity, my preschooler loved following these directions on how to make your own snow globe.
What You Need to Make a Christmas Tree Sensory Bag
Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your Christmas sensory bags.
- Green hair gel (or dye clear gel with food coloring)
- Plastic pattern blocks
- Ziploc bags (we used gallon size)
- Glitter (optional)
What liquid do you put in a sensory bag?
We like to use hair gel for our Christmas sensory activity, but you can also use hand sanitizer or even clear glue when creating a Christmas pattern block sensory bag.
Hands-On STEM Resources about Trees
Here are some hands-on STEM resources about trees that can be used alongside this Christmas tree STEM activity.
Step by Step Directions to Make the Christmas Tree Sensory Bag STEM Activity
Before you make a preschool or toddler Christmas tree sensory bag, decide what your activity will be. We decided to make a Christmas tree design and then see if the kids could replicate it inside the bag.
But if you want to do another math activity, like addition or subtraction, just add in as many pieces as you need, and the math symbol borrowed from a set of magnetic numbers.
Put the gel in the bag first, then add the pattern blocks.
Make sure you seal the bag tightly, you do NOT want a bunch of hair gel loose in the classroom or in your house.
Push any extra air out of the bag to make it easier to move the pattern blocks around.
Show the kids how they can move things around to decorate a Christmas tree sensory bag, and let them go crazy!
Books about Christmas Trees
These science books about evergreen trees will be a good addition to any Christmas tree STEM project!
Christmas Tree Pattern Blocks Preschool Lesson Plan
This holiday season, introduce your preschoolers to the world of mathematics in a festive way! Dive into a creative do-it-yourself project featuring Christmas pattern block sensory bags.
Follow along with this lesson plan to transform this Christmas sensory activity into a full Christmas tree pattern blocks lesson plan for your preschool classroom!
Teacher Christmas Tree Shirts
Here are some adorable Christmas tree shirts for teachers!