Looking for a Christmas sensory activity? Painting with pine boughs is a process-based art activity for preschoolers that appeals to more than one sense. While doing pine bough painting this Christmas, preschoolers will explore through their sense of sight, hearing, touch, and smell.
Christmas Sensory Activity for Preschoolers
Christmastime is the best time of year for preschool sensory activities. So much of our memories of Christmas are created via our senses. Pine bough painting is a Christmas sensory activity for preschoolers that will offer so much sensory stimulation, as well as all the benefits of process art.
Two Questions About Sensory Activities for Preschoolers
Sensory activities are any activity that stimulates the senses. In preschool, the most common activities are those that are tactile, but sensory play and sensory activities can utilize all five senses and/or include movement and balance.
So you’re not limited to just a Christmas sensory bin or a sensory bottle. Pine bough painting is a Christmas process art activity that touches on every sense except the sense of taste.
The short answer is yes, painting can be a sensory activity for preschoolers. Since sensory activities include any kind of painting that might stimulate the senses, using different paints or paint brushes can impact the sensory impact of painting. Pine bough painting is a Christmas process art activity that also doubles as Christmas sensory play. It targets touch, hearing, smell, and sight.
More Christmas Sensory Activities
You might also like these Christmas sensory bins and activities. Some even double as Christmas STEM activities, too. You can do any of these activities with both toddlers and preschoolers, making your Christmas lesson planning that much easier.
Don’t Forget Books about Christmas Trees
No matter the activity, I love to include some children’s book that are fitting to the theme. Here is a book list specific to Christmas books about pine trees.
You might able be interested in this post about Christmas books.
Fun Christmas Sensory Activity – Painting With Pine Boughs
Preschoolers learn so much by exploring materials and processes through their senses, so painting with pine boughs was the perfect Christmas sensory activity to kick off the month.
But this activity isn’t just for preschoolers. It also makes an excellent toddler sensory activity as well.
Tape down some easel paper on the table. You’ll want to cover the entire table with easel paper to keep paint from getting everywhere.
Squirt a fair amount of paint onto a few paper plates, one color on each plate.
Set out the paper plates and the pine boughs with some heavy paper or card stock. You can omit the heavy paper and paint directly onto the easel paper, but if you have preschoolers who are taking their pieces home, then you might want to use heavy paper.
If that’s the case, you can also get away with using old newspaper to protect your table. Even when using washable paint, you’ll still want a layer of paper down to protect the table…just in case.
How to Paint with Pine Boughs
Painting with pine boughs is a sensory art activity for Christmas, so it’s all about the process and not the product. This means that children should be allowed to explore and paint as they choose without interference from adults (as long as they are using the materials appropriately).
Once you have everything set up, invite your preschooler to join you in some sensory and painting fun!
Initially, my preschoolers weren’t quite sure what to do. So I introduced them to the pine boughs first.
“I cut these pine boughs from my Christmas tree. They look like tiny pine tree branches, don’t they? Go ahead and hold one. What do you think?”
Some of my preschoolers just stared at me, while others commented on how the pine boughs were pokey or how they also had their Christmas tree set up.
I ran my fingers along the pine bough like I was petting a cat, and then I smelled the pine bough.
“Mmmm…do you smell that?” I asked my preschoolers. They sniffed their pine boughs.
“Now, these pine boughs will also make a special sound when you start painting. Would you like to try painting with them?” There was a resounding yes.
My preschoolers got right to work painting with their pine boughs. They soon learned exactly what I meant when I said the pine boughs made a special sound.
“thtck, thtck, thtck…”
That was the sound the pine boughs made if my preschoolers tried stippling and tapping the pine boughs.
But they also tried sweeping their pine boughs across the paper, watching as the needles of the boughs made thin lines.
Some students filled their entire paper with brightly colored paint, while others minimally painted their papers allowing the distinct prints of the pine boughs to show through.
Some students heavily layered the paint, while others spread it around making areas of light and dark.
The designs were beautifully textured and make such an easy Christmas keepsake. You can hang them in your classroom or send them home to parents to display on the fridge.
More Christmas Process Art Activities
Don’t shy away from process art at Christmastime. Process art can be just as beautiful and special as any Christmas craft. Just look at the art ideas below.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.