Easy Nature Sensory Bag

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You could do this easy sensory activity with a toddler in any season, but it was particularly nice to fit in a little bit of nature in the winter. An unseasonably warm day meant our snow melted and Veronika and I headed outside briefly to find wintery treasures.

We returned inside with a pine cone, pine branches, a few leaves, and acorns. I filled a gallon-sized zip-top bag with just a bit of water, then added our treasures.

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Veronika was immediately intrigued when I handed it to her at her high chair tray (older toddlers might liked this taped down to a table). We talked about the different textures, especially the hard, round acorns.

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Because the colors were a bit drab this time of year, I ended up slipping inside a few tiny red jingle bells to mimic the look of red berries. Ok, so they were not really from nature, but they added quite the pop! She loved poking these around through the water with one finger.

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We can’t wait to do this activity in the spring, and see how different our nature bag looks!

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Shining-Bright Advent Wreath

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One of my favorite holiday traditions as a girl was lighting the advent wreath, a new candle each week of December leading up until Christmas,. But I had forgotten all about it until I spotted this craft in Travis’s Highlights magazine. So we were eager to continue the tradition and light up our home!

Cut two empty paper towel tubes in half, so that now you have four “candles”. Wrap three of them in purple cardstock, and one in pink cardstock. Secure with tape.

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Wrap a length of similar colored ribbon around the top and secure with tape. (Note: The tape was Highlight’s suggestion, but for more elegance I would secure the ribbon and cardstock with glue next time).

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Cut a wreath shape from green cardstock, and glue down onto cardboard for extra stability. Glue on the pillars, and add decorations.

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We included green leaves cut from more cardstock as well as a few tiny red bells. Originally I planned to use small red pom poms as the “berries”, but the bells turned out to be lovely!

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For the candle flames, wrap tea lights in several layers of white felt (otherwise they will be too small and will slip inside the tubes).

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Place on top of the pillars. Each Sunday, a new candle is lit, and the pink one will join in on Christmas Eve!

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How are you counting down to Christmas? Please share in the comments!

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