Winter blizzard sensory tray

Experiment with cause and effect in this wintery weather activity 

You will need:

  • Tissue paper in wintery shades, e.g. blue, white, silver, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Hand operated balloon pumps
  • A water tray (or you could use a deep baking tray on a low table or a cardboard box)


  1. Cut or tear the tissue paper into small squares (children who love snipping may want to help you here too) and place in the tray
  2. How much you need will depend on the size of your tray - make sure there is enough to cover the bottom at least; maybe you could experiment with the depth to see what works best?
  3. Show the children what happens when you pump the balloon pump, what do they think will happen if they aim the pump at the tissue paper snow? 
  4. Have fun pretending to be the wind whooshing the snow around and around! This activity is great for building up children’s gross motor skills and muscle strength in their arms and hands. You will also be teaching them about the world around them through experimenting with cause and effect and it is an opportunity to talk about the weather and seasons - perhaps you will model new sounds and words for the children e.g. whee, whoosh, swirl.

More ideas to try:

  • This activity could be enhanced by having stories about the wintery weather to share with the children. Can you think of words to describe a windy day together? Perhaps make a picture, poster or display to promote the children creative writing and vocabulary. 
  • Adapt this activity for different seasons, for example use autumnal colours like the leaves blustering in the wind.
  • Try adding some other interesting items such as winter figurines, wooden trees, gem stones, cinnamon sticks, feathers, tinsel, etc. to create a sensory tray. What do the children think will happen now? Can they move each item with the air from the pump?
  • Extend the children’s learning and vocabulary by describing what they are doing, and use words for exploring with maths and science; “I wonder what will happen if…?”, “why do you think…?”, heavy, light, weight, float, big, small, air pressure, force, etc.

Areas of Learning and Development (EYFS)

This activity support the following areas of learning and development. For more details, see our factsheet on the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Communication & Language Communication and language:
Listening and attention
Physical Development

Physical development:
oving and handling

Personal, Social and Emotional Development Personal, social and emotional development:
Making relationships
Personal, Social and Emotional Development Literacy:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development Mathematics:
Shape, space and measures
Understanding the World Understanding the world:
People and communities
The world
Expressive Art & Design Expressive arts and design:
Exploring and using media and materials
Being imaginative