Joy to the World!

Welcome to the most wonderful blog post of the year- toddler Christmas activities! I just love this time of year, especially with littles! It’s the sweetest thing ever to experience Christmas magic through their eyes and there’s no better way to kick off the Christmas season than with some fun crafts and sensory play activities! (Just a quick safety notice: the jingle bells and beads in a few of the activities below can pose a choking hazard to very young toddlers- my little is over 2, and doesn’t typically put things in his mouth anymore- and even still, I watch him like a hawk during activities involving small parts. If your little still has a tendency to want to taste everything, you may want to skip these or just use very large bells and magnets and playdough decorations for the dough tree!) Have a VERY merry Christmas everyone!

Jingle bell magnet exploration: Sometimes you stumble across activities that are absolute gold- and this was one of them! My littles played and explored for like 45 minutes! I got small and large jingle bells as well as a magnet kit, put the bells in a cake pan and let the littles explore! It was kind of expensive but SO simple and SO much fun! We’ll definitely do this one over and over so it was worth the investment! I got the idea from Fun a Day! They made their own stick magnets, but I think it’s worth it to get the kit- the magnets were really strong and fun to play with! Note: The bells are tiny, so watch your toddler carefully to make sure they don’t end up in their mouth, or just get some larger bells that are less of a choking hazard!

Playdough gingerbread people: Since our apple and cinnamon playdough from this fall is still kickin’, we grabbed that, a rolling pin, some cookie cutters and assorted sequins and made gingerbread men and women and Christmas trees! Both boys loved this activity, and I had a blast playing with them!

Stained glass nativity craft: Since my littles loved making “stained glass” pumpkins back in October, I thought we’d try a nativity craft of the same nature. This was made far easier for me by using my Silhouette cutting machine (ie. I didn’t have to cut out the stable and people- the machine did it for me!), but you could totally do it by hand! So- you just cut out Mary, Joseph, and Jesus from black card stock then stick them to some vinyl transfer paper or contact paper. Next, cut up multiple colors of tissue paper into squares. Then have your little stick the tissue paper to the transfer paper until all the clear spaces are covered. They look super pretty hanging in a window! I got the idea from Views from a Step Stool.

Handprint angel shape craft: I had my littles make angels by gluing together some basic shapes- the dress was a triangle, the face and hands were circles (I let them pick the skin color from my multicultural paper), and the feet and lacey collar were half circles. To make the wings, I traced their hands. (To differentiate based on ability, I had my preschooler did his own cutting for the larger shapes and for his hands.) As a finishing touch I hot glued on a circle sparkly pipe cleaner for a halo! We talked about the shapes we were using as we put the angels together. I got my inspiration (ie. the handprint wings) from The Soccer Mom Blog, and just added in the shape practice.

Christmas light box: Lightboxes are such a fun way to play and learn! I got the idea from Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten back in October when we did our bat unit, so I thought we’d do it again, only Christmas themed! You just flip over a large clear plastic storage container, tuck some battery operated lights under it, and cover the top with Christmas ornaments and ABC magnets. Then I asked my littles to find different letters by playing “I spy” (ie. “I spy letter M” then they find the M) to work on letter recognition. They loved it!

Red, green and gold magic milk: Magic milk is always fun experiment, and we haven’t done it since the 4th of July so I thought now would be a great time to bust it out again and let the littles explore! You just fill a baking pan with milk so the bottom is covered, then give your little pipettes and red, green and yellow food coloring mixed with water to drop into the milk. They can swirl it around and add more to their heart’s content. When they’re finished with adding color, have them dip a Q-tip or their finger in dish soap and place their finger in the milk or swirl it around gently and watch the colors dance! Not only is it fun- it’s great fine motor practice! I got this idea from Science Kiddo.

Do-a-dot ornament: I printed out these do-a-dot ornaments for my preschooler so he could use them to work on patterns, but it’s also a great way to work on fine motor skills and colors with younger kids!

Giant gingerbread person: I originally did this with my preschooler too, but when my toddler saw it he insisted on making one to hang on his bedroom door! You just trace their body on brown paper, cut it out and have them decorate it with markers. It’s a great way to practice drawing body parts in the correct place like eyes, nose and mouth! I got the idea from Happy Toddler Playtime.

Shopping/supply list:

  • tissue paper
  • black card stock
  • vinyl transfer paper or contact paper
  • a roll of brown paper (wrapping paper works)
  • ABC magnets
  • large clear storage bin
  • batter operated fairy lights
  • Christmas cookie and frosting ingredients
  • cookie cutters
  • jingle bells
  • magnets
  • cake pan
  • green playdough
  • pony beads or sequins

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