I absolutely love the holiday season! So much excitement and fun to be had BUT I also know that it is a BUSY time of the year. Today I want to share with you a list of Christmas-themed hands-on and SIMPLE set up ideas that are perfect for the holiday season. These ideas are low prep, engaging, and FUN!
CHRISTMAS TRACING STRIPS
Let’s kick off this post with a FREEBIE! Grab this set of twelve color Santa tracing strips in my shop and practice those pre-writing skills! This is great fine motor work and also helps to teach left to right directionality. Find it in my shop HERE.
COUNTING CHRISTMAS BOWS
This was definitely a fan favorite over here. Sketch out a large Christmas present on a sheet of butcher (art roll) paper and set it out with a bowl of Christmas bows. Give your child a die have them roll it, identify the number, then add that many bows to the present. After each roll and count have them “clear the board” and roll again. *I didn’t have my girls actually stick the bows down, instead we just continuously rolled, added, then cleared for practice.
CHRISTMAS TREE ROLL AND ADD
Similar to counting Christmas bows, sketch a Christmas tree for a fun game of roll and add ornaments. For this activity roll a die, count the dots, then add that many dot stickers to the tree as ornaments. This is great for counting and getting in some subitizing practice. If your littles are ready, give them two dice and have them roll then ADD to know how many dot stickers to stick on. Have them keep adding stickers until their tree is full of ornaments.
TORN PAPER WREATH
Tear art is actually super great for working on those fine motor skills and building those little muscles in little hands. For this craft, you will need paper plates with the center cut out, colored construction paper, glue, and an optional bow. Give your child the construction paper and have them tear it apart into small pieces. As they tear it off have them glue it to the paper plate wreath, filling it entirely! Add a Christmas bow and you’re ready to hang it for all to see.
CHRISTMAS CARD WRITING CENTER
I love finding ways to invite my littles to write! Seriously, for any age, setting up invitations to write is wonderful. For this activity, I set out a few supplies, these adorable FREE blank Christmas cards from The Clever Classroom, and said, “let’s make some Christmas cards!” Both of my girls LOVE writing activities like this! *Remember, this is a time to build confidence with your learner. Take time to model how you would write a card, BUT be aware of their age and encourage whatever they are doing. For example, my littlest (2.5yrs) is drawing/scribbling pictures – this is expected and awesome! I encourage her by saying things like “wow, I love your card, tell me who it is for and what’s in your picture.” Then I might even do some labeling or write what she says on it for her. Always saying things like, “you are an amazing writer, I love how you added arms and legs to your picture.” This works to build confidence and “a WANT” to write.
PATTERN CHRISTMAS TREE
I’m sure you have seen this Christmas tree craft EVERYWHERE, but that’s because it is a simple favorite! It works on early math skills like ordering from smallest to largest, and if you cut a few colors of strips you can get in some pattern practice too. To prep, this craft cut construction paper into various lengths (free template if you want HERE), then have your child pick, order, and glue the strips down to create a tree. I like to use a simple template included above so my widths are all the same. Then have them cut and add a brown paper trunk and if you wish they can decorate more with stickers or crayons.
WRAPPING PAPER STATION
Head to your dollar store or raid your Christmas box for leftover wrapping paper, bows, and a few boxes. Invite your littles to pick a toy, add it to a box, then WRAP IT! Watch the fun begin and the excitement they have when giving and opening it as they play.
CHRISTMAS SINK OR FLOAT
I’m all about using what you have to create simple learning experiences. A themed sink or float activity is perfect for introducing your littles to the concept of density and allows the opportunity to explore this science concept. For a Christmas themed one fill a bin with water (add a little food coloring if you wish) then set out a tray of Christmas themed (or colored) items and invite your children to pick an item, put it in the water, and observe what happens. SIMPLE!
INVITATION TO CREATE AN ORNAMENT
This is such a FUN and adorable activity and would make a fun holiday gift for others. Grab a few plastic, clear ornaments and then set out supplies for your littles to add and create. On your tray include things like ribbon, small pom-poms, filler paper, fake snow, glitter etc. Everything I placed out was small enough to fit in the hole on the top of the ornament. After their ornament is full, you may want to hot glue the top of it shut, then add a ribbon for hanging.
I am so EXCITED to do these activities with my girls. Christmas is my JAM and these ideas make pulling out a themed activity EASY. I hope you can grab an idea, or two, and if you do, be sure to give us a tag on Instagram @engaging_littles because we love to join in the fun! Thanks for stopping by.