Tinsel Time: 5 Sensory Activities

Tinsel Time: 5 Sensory Activities

The holiday season is upon us, and soon, leftover tinsel will be sold at deep discounts.  You know tinsel, that stringy, messy, silvery stuff that some toss onto their Christmas trees to create more holiday bling.

Believe it or not, it is a wonderful tool to add to your sensory diets meeting a variety of isms.  Before you throw it away with your tree, scoop some off or stock up on tinsel at 70% off price points.

You can get fine motor practice in, work on your child’s pincer grasp, garner proprioceptive, tactile, vestibular and visual input with this wonderful stuff!

Let’s get started.

1. Tinsel Sensory Bottle

Get some fine motor practice in by slipping strands of tinsel into a clear, clean, recycled plastic bottle.  Then, work the pincer grasp by adding a few drops of natural food coloring.  Add water or water and oil.  Cap the bottle, using glue or decorative duct tape for an extra secure seal, and the sensory bottle is ready.  Enjoy the colorful shine for visual stimulation.  Expand on this by adding sparkly plastic holiday confetti to the bottle.  Get creative with these ideas from Pinterest.

2. Shadow & Shine

For visual tracking and stimulation, add a new twist to a traditional game of follow-the-light.  Create a screen of tinsel by taping the ends of tinsel to an old broom handle or a left over piece of cardboard.  Hang the screen of tinsel in a door jam or pass through.  Shine the flashlight through it.  The interplay of the light with the tinsel is sure to visually delight.

3. Tinsel Pit

Especially for sensory seekers, fill a blow up pool, a small ball pit or even just a plastic shoe box with tinsel and dive in for some great tactile fun.  Hide small toys like matchbox cars, fidgets, or army men throughout and play “Seek and Yee Shall Find”.  Just be sure that adult eyes and hands are nearby due to the potential choking hazard of ingested tinsel for the wee ones.

4. Tinsel Pom Poms

To add some auditory input to tinsel fun, lay out a new package or two of tinsel.  Gather all the strands together at their middle and tie tightly with a piece of yarn.  Duct tape around the gathered portion and upward to create a handle.  Then, cheer away with your sparkly pom poms.

5. Tinsel Blow Challenge

For oral motor, vestibular and proprioceptive fun, challenge a partner to get a piece of tinsel across a room using only air.  Then, hold the piece of tinsel above that person’s head and, on signal, drop it.  Have the person give a big blow, following the tinsel.  When the tinsel drops to the floor, simply pick it up and drop it again, giving the signal to blow.  Once the person has succeeded in blowing the tinsel all the way across the room this way, switch jobs for the way back.  The bending, blowing and chasing should provide lots of input and fun.

A Bit of Cautionary Common Sense

Common sense safety precautions for both people and pets should be used whenever using tinsel.  When ingested by humans and animals, tinsel can be a dangerous choking hazard.  It can also wrap around intestines, causing problems for playful pets.

What other sensory-tinsel activities can you think of this holiday season?  Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.