Making Christmas wrapping paper with kids is a great way to spend some time in the lead up to the big day and today’s wrapping paper making activity (try saying that three times fast!) includes more than one fun sensory twist!
Balloon printing is deliciously tactile! Children love to feel and squeeze the balloon between their fingers or hands. They love exploring the feel and movement of the balloon as it bounces against the table top. Plus there are simple ways to make this sensory fun even more sensory!
Sensory Balloon Printing
You will need:
- 3-4 balloons
- Approx. 2 tablespoons of filling for each balloon – we used un-popped popcorn kernels and rice. Sand, dried beans and lentils also work well
- Child friendly acrylic paint in festive or metallic colours
- Large sheets of paper
- Ice cream tubs or flat bottomed trays or lids – one for each paint colour
- White craft glue
- Small Christmas craft bells
- Optional: See the additional sensory suggestions and required materials included below
Balloon printing is easy to do. Add approximately two tablespoons of filling to each balloon to help weigh it down – use a funnel or just stretch the neck open and have someone else spoon in the filling. Blow each balloon up a little – just enough so the balloon is easy for small hands to hold and control.
I like to use an ice cream container to hold the paint so that the balloons don’t roll or blow away. You can add your paint directly to the bottom of the container or place a small piece of dish cloth (or similar) in the bottom to help control excess paint.
I find large sheets of paper are best for this type of painting experience as the children really do use both hands and arms to move the balloon around the paper. I also prefer to use a low table and have the child standing up as they print, so that they can really move around and cover the whole surface.
And you can make basic balloon printing deliciously festive in a number of ways…
Idea #1: When filling your balloons, pop three or four small craft bells into each balloons. AJ loved listening to the sound of the Christmas bells as she painted.
Idea #2: Before our painting session started I glued a circle of tinsel to the underside of one of our inflated balloons with white, craft glue. It did take quite a long time for the paint to dry so I suggest preparing this the day before if possible.
Idea #3: Use scented paint. Check out Cathy of NurtureStore’s fabulous ideas for Christmas scented paints for inspiration.
Idea #4:. Sprinkle the wet paint with glitter for added sparkle.
Idea #5: Glue simple shapes (star, circle, triangle) cut from bubble wrap to the underside of your inflated balloons with craft glue.
Whatever your chosen sensory features, your child will have so much fun printing fabulous large sheets of festive gift wrap (AJ filled three sheets, each the size of our craft table in just one session), just perfect for wrapping gifts to give to family or friends.
This post forms part of the Christmas Sensory Play Series. Each week we are sharing festive play ideas related to each of the five senses. Check out all of the TOUCH related sensory play ideas this week;
- Cathy of Nurturestore shared a Candy Scented Puffy Paint – oh my, too much fun!
- Kate of Picklebums has done it again with a fabulous set of printable Christmas Playdough Mats.
- If you have a child who loves tape (I have two of them!), check out Meri of Meri Cherry’s fab Washi Tape Christmas Art.
- Ana of Babble Dabble Do shares two fabulous techniques for making Foil Embossed Ornaments to hang on your tree.
- Kristina of Toddler Approved has made a great Christmas Sensory Board that toddlers and older babies will love.