Nativity Sensory Bin for Christmas

Yesterday, our Playmobil Nativity arrived in the mail and it is sooooo cute! I absolutely love it! It took me awhile to put all the tiny pieces together, but it was so worth it- what a great toy! I was trying to decide what was the best way for me to keep all the little pieces together in my house, and knew it needed to be contained, so I made a nativity sensory bin for my kids to play with!

 You could put together a nativity sensory bin with any kid-friendly nativity set, and you can see a list of my favorite nativities for kids here.

What’s in our Nativity Sensory Bin:

  • Playmobil Nativity Set
  • Green Rice (we colored it ourselves)
  • Pebbles from craft store
  • Wooden palm trees from craft store (They had 5 different options- the ones I got were already painted and only 60 cents each.)
  • Blocks for building the stable and the Inn
  • Wooden star, also from craft store, also already painted (I glued it to the end of a popsicle stick so that you can stand it up in the rice to make it tall.)
  • Wooden fence pieces from craft store (I had to paint these white myself.)
  • All inside a Rubbermaid tub- this way I can put the lid on when play time is over!

We had so much fun putting this together! First, we colored rice green. We put the rice into big aluminum roasting pans, and added several squirts of hand sanitizer, and some green food coloring. I didn’t measure anything. You can also use rubbing alcohol rather than hand sanitizer, but I couldn’t find ours. Stir until it’s all green, and then let it dry. I put ours in the oven on “warm”, stirring occasionally, to speed up the drying process. My kids really enjoyed this process!

Then I just arranged all the stuff in there for the kids. I had a lot of fun setting it up!

Having the rice in there makes it so much fun to play with and arrange!

I have so many memories of being a child and setting up our nativity set when decorating for Christmas. Setting it up was all the fun! Now my kids have a nativity set they can rearrange as many times as they like!

It’s a hit!

Looking for more Nativity Sensory Bin ideas? Check out this one with straw, and another with assorted beans– too cute!

More Nativity Resources For Families

You do not want to miss my nativity round up for kids that includes crafts, book suggestions, traditions, songs, printables, and more! Check it out now.

The Advent Christmas Planner- available from Catholic Icing


  1. That is so cute! But does the rice dye their hands at all? Also, do you still end up with rice all over the place?

    • No, once the rice dries it doesn’t color their hands. And yes, the rice does escape from the bin, but it is easily swept or vacuumed, and totally harmless since it’s dry rice. 🙂

  2. Holly@ThreeSidedWheel says


  3. thank you for sharing ! I want to try this :o)

  4. Thanks for this great idea! We got our playmobile set out of the attic yesterday and I didn’t know what to do with it or where to put it. The floor doesn’t work since the baby will put all the stuff in his mouth. This is the perfect solution and I know the kids will love it. I’m doing this right now!

    • Yay! We are loving ours and my kids have been playing with it ALL DAY! As far as I can tell, we’re not missing any pieces yet. 🙂

  5. Oh, my word. Could that be cuter?

    Thanks for sharing that idea! It’ll work just as well with our existing Nativity set figures (who always seem to go on adventures around the house and get themselves lost. Gaspar is still missing).

    • I know! I think we’re missing about half the pieces from our Fisher Price nativity set we got last year. In random toy baskets everywhere.

  6. Your sensory bin idea is fabulous! That will keep little minds occupied for hours… and keep the mess contained!

  7. Tracy Bua Smith says

    Great and cute idea! My kids are loving our Playmobil Nativity set that we just got. Maybe a sensory bin will be a nice treat!

  8. What a wonderful idea! I have often times wondered what to do with our Playmobil nativity set to keep the pieces contained. We will definitely do this!!!

    Thank you and God Bless,

  9. I love this idea! The rice we used seemed to have a powdery residue and made my sons hands a mess with the coloring. What kind of rice did you use? Thanks!

    • We just used regular, white rice from the grocery store. The cheapest stuff. It does leave a sort of powder on your hands, but we didn’t have any of the color come off on our hands.

  10. What a great idea! We have the Playmobil Nativity set, but it’s usually put up so the baby can’t get it because of all of the small pieces. So I like the idea to have it’s own box and turning it into sensory play. Looks like so much fun, too! 🙂

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