When my son was a toddler, the word “No” could send him into a tailspin at the drop of a hat. I knew it would happen, and believe me I always thought twice before uttering the word. But, I knew he had to learn that the world would not, in fact, bend to his every wish. It’s definitely normal for toddlers and preschoolers to become overwhelmed emotionally. And it takes time, modeling, and practice for them to learn how to cope with strong emotions. Winter Sensory Bottles for Preschoolers and Toddlers provide an amazing tool to help teach children how to calm down.
The winter themed sensory bottle requires a water bottle, glitter, and clear glue. Then, you can add other wintery items like snowflakes, blue beads, or tiny snowmen. This easy winter sensory activity is simple to put together and SO VALUABLE!
When it’s all over and both you and your child are feeling calmer, how about some hot chocolate?! You deserve it.
How to Teach Coping Skills
Children need a lot of things, from the most basic needs like food and shelter, to more complex requirements like a consistent schedule, a stable family, and lots of love and affection.
Social and emotional learning and growth is a huge part of early childhood development. All of a child’s early experiences form their view of the world and their understanding of how they fit and function within it.
When it comes to whining, tantrums, and generally unacceptable behaviors in toddlers and preschoolers, our job is to be calm and consistent. A tall order? Yes! That’s where hands-on winter sensory play comes in pretty handy.
How to Make the Winter Sensory Bottle
Sensory Bottle (any clear plastic bottle will work)
5 oz. bottle of Elmer’s clear glue
Silver confetti snowflakes
Light blue fishbowl beads
Optional: tape or glue to secure lid
- Pour the glue into the sensory bottle.
- Add the snowflakes, desired amount of glitter, sequins, and fishbowl beads.
- Fill the remainder of the bottle with water, leaving a small space at the top to allow movement.
- Use tape or glue to secure the lid.
- Shake the contents of the bottle around until the contents of the bottle
move around slowly and freely.
How to Use the Sensory Winter-Themed Bottle
Teach children the procedure for using the winter sensory bottle during a calm, non-emotional time (ie., NOT during the impending meltdown:)
Talk about situations where a child might feel angry/frustrated/sad/overwhelmed. Tell them that those emotions are normal and everybody feels them from time to time.
However, if we yell/hit/scream/cry/kick when we feel that way we only hurt others or ourselves.
Instead, we can go to a quiet place (designate this specific place) to calm down. You can place the sensory bottle in the timeout space, or you can leave it in a specific area where children know it will be and they can carry it with them to the time-out spot.
Then, they can shake the bottle and watch its contents settle. Teach children to wait while the glitter and beads settle. If they still feel emotional, they can shake again and repeat.
Once they feel calm, they can return to the previous activity.
Additional Sensory Winter Activities for Calming a Child
Calming activities for kids should be low key and quiet. Try to set them up in an area that isn’t overly stimulating or loud.
- Play dough or cloud dough are a great way to keep little hands moving while they breathe through emotions or take a break from a stressful situation.
- Winter sensory bins can also distract a child when they are upset, whether they sift through play snow or cotton balls, it provides a healthy way to cope while strengthening fine motor skills.
- Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery: outside to play in the real snow, into a different room of the house, or a drive in the car.
- Other winter sensory ideas for toddlers that typically engage them fully: science experiments, baking, or other craft projects.
Planning for a Winter Theme? We’ve done all the work for you!
We now have interactive thematic lesson plans for toddlers (18-35 months) AND preschoolers (3-5 years)! Get ready for fun and learning with unit lesson plans for your WINTER THEME. Explore a variety of themed hands-on activities! Easy to follow lesson plans include activity modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners. For more information, click on the graphics below: