We got started a little early this year with a Christmas theme! We wanted to be able to share all the fun we’ve been having with all of you in case you needed some inspiration for activities for your little one(s) this holiday season. It also affords us some extra time to concentrate on spending time together as a family enjoying all the magic this season has to offer. Which means this will most likely be our last post until after Christmas, possibly for 2021. Here’s all the fun we’ve had so far celebrating Christmas.
We had a lot of books to choose from for our Christmas theme! We have quite a few titles in our collection, and we read each of them throughout the holiday season every year. When we decorate for Christmas, our Christmas books make their home on our coffee table in the living room so we have easy access to whichever one Grace wants us to read that day. So far, The Nutcracker has been Grace’s favorite this year, and I suspect it’s because of the land of the sweets. Other favorites include: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, God Gave Us Christmas, The Elf on the Shelf, and of course…’Twas The Night Before Christmas. Another favorite book we have in our collection , but not pictured, is The Donkey in the Living Room by Sarah Raymond Cunningham. We were gifted this book in a set that included 10 wooden nativity pieces. And it has been a favorite tradition in our home for a few years now. Starting 9 days before Christmas, this book appears along with one piece of the nativity. Every day from that point on a new piece appears and we read the corresponding page in the book. It’s such a fun way for little ones to experience the Christmas story, and Grace enjoys being able to tinker with the wooden pieces as well.
We listen to Christmas music in the car most days and at home. But, in addition to holiday radio stations, we also enjoy listening to Christmas tunes from some of our favorite YouTube channels: Super Simple Songs, The Kiboomers, & Pancake Manor. We also used YouTube to watch the holiday special, Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas. You can listen to our YouTube playlist by clicking the photo above. Christmastime means a little extra screen time in our house, as we enjoy every Christmas movie you can think of! In addition to movies we still have on DVD, we also use our streaming services to enjoy movie nights as a family.
One of the first activities we did for our Christmas theme focused on matching upper and lower case letters. We feature this particular activity in our digital Christmas Booklet, available in our Etsy Shop. Using a cardboard box, I cut out a wreath shape and painted it green. Once dried, I added 26 red polka dots and waited for them to dry before writing the lower case letters of the alphabet on each dot with a sharpie. I also added a bow cut from cardboard and painted red to the top of the wreath.
After letting the wreath dry completely overnight, the next day, I sat out a basket containing upper case wooden letters from our alphabet puzzle next to the wreath and asked Grace to match the letters to their lower case counterparts on the wreath. For the most part, Grace did a great job matching the letters. There were a few she struggled with, but it allowed me to see the letters she had problems identifying so we could work on those a bit more in the future. This activity has stayed in our living room, so we can continue playing throughout the holiday season and work on those upper and lower case matching skills.
While I was cutting cardboard boxes for the previous activity, I also cut out several shapes and glued them together to make a cardboard gingerbread village, perfect for an afternoon art project. This activity is also featured in digital Christmas Booklet, which is packed full of Christmas and Holiday themed activities for little ones and the whole family to enjoy.
Grace has enjoyed any activity involving paint here lately, so she was really excited to see plates of paint set out for her to use, and bottles of glitter! I covered our work area with a $1 table cloth to keep the creativity contained and provided Grace with sponge brushes and regular paint brushes to paint with. She dove right into this art project covering the cardboard village, tree, and gingerbread man with paint. She added decorations (polka dots), a door, and even a face to her gingerbread man. And she topped it all off by sprinkling red and green glitter all over before the paint dried.
I think her village turned out great! Grace was so proud to show her Daddy her creation as well. And, unlike traditional gingerbread houses, this one will keep for years to come!
We kept creativity flowing for our next Christmas themed activity. Grace made play dough trees using cookie and play dough cutters, buttons, and our homemade play dough. I set out our handy little party tray I snagged several years ago from a local dollar store. I added red, green, and white buttons to three of the sections. In the remaining sections, I placed green and yellow play dough, a Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter, and a star cutter from a play dough tool set. I made an example tree for Grace as well, and placed it in the center of the tray.
Unlike our last play dough activity where she pretty much disregarded my example and did her own thing (Grace made all sorts of different shaped turkeys for our Thanksgiving theme), this time she followed my example and cut each tree with the cookie cutter. Grace decided to sort the colored buttons though, instead of mixing the colors on each tree, and made two trees for each of the colored buttons. She rolled out the yellow play dough and cut out a star for each of her trees as well, before moving on to the next one.
After ALL the buttons had been used as ornaments on her play dough trees, and a few sparkly ones added to each star, Grace exclaimed she was done! After of course, after showing them off to her Daddy, Grace helped me organize and sort all the buttons back into the tray by color, and collect all the green and yellow play dough to store for later. Grace has quite a knack for organization and has become an awesome helper when cleaning up activities and pretty much anything around the house.
Our next activity involved a little bit of measuring, something Grace has been very interested in as of late. I grabbed some ribbon for this activity and a pair of scissors. I told Grace to lay down on the floor as straight as possible, and we could see how tall she was with the ribbon. Once she was still enough and the ribbon was laid straight from her feet to her head, I cut the ribbon from the roll, now having a piece as tall as she is currently. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of pictures of the process, as it was pretty much impossible to try and accurately measure Grace, keep her still, cut the ribbon, and attempt photos. Grace then wanted to measure me, so I laid down in the floor and she measured me with the ribbon as well. And then Grace wanted to measure her feet, my feet, her hands, my hands, her arms, my arms, etc. There wasn’t much we didn’t measure on this particular day, which turned out to be a great activity exercising those early math skills! After Grace had measured everything she wanted to, I took that first ribbon I had cut off the roll that represented how tall she is, and threaded it inside a clear ornament.
If you have seen this particular keepsake craft before, you know where I am going with this. Recently I was at a family member’s house while they were decorating their Christmas tree, and one of the ornaments was something similar to this, and I knew I wanted to add this special keepsake to our tree this year. So I designed a tag for our ornament, and thought I’d offer them to anyone who wanted to make these ornaments with their little one(s) as well for FREE! After printing and cutting out the tag, I simply added Grace’s name, age, and height to the back, holed punched it, and attached it to the ornament.
Christmas STEAM?! A little magnet play helped Grace paint with jingle bells for this super fun activity. A little paint, some jingle bells (we grabbed a bag from our local dollar store), and a piece of paper all placed on a cookie sheet in conjunction with a magnet is all that is needed to complete this activity. We took this project outside, just in case there was some splatter action. Daddy held the cookie sheet (I held the camera), and Grace used a magnet placed underneath the cookie sheet, to grab and move the jingle bells around the paper and through the paint.
Grace had a lot of fun using the magnet to manipulate the jingle bells around the paper and seeing how many bells she could grab at one time. She even got to see the bells jump and attach to one another as they became magnetized as well. There were times when she moved the magnet underneath slowly, and a few times she moved it fast. When moving the magnet fast, splatters do occur. We used washable finger paints for this activity, expecting paint to fly at some point.
While Grace is a bit young to completely understand the science behind magnets just yet, this was a fun introduction to magnetic force. It’s an activity we will likely do again in the future, and another one featured in our digital Christmas Booklet.
We also sat down at our dining room table and completed several activities from our Christmas Activity Pack, also available in our Etsy Shop. Grace rolled a six sided die and covered numbered ornaments with Christmas themed erasers on our Ornament Roll & Cover printable. She practiced adding and taking away snowflakes with our Snow Globe Counting Practice printable, a brand new skill we’ve been working on lately. Grace matched up holiday themed cookies to their corresponding spaces on our Christmas Cookie Sheet printable. And she finished up by decorating with play dough on our Gingerbread Play Dough Mat. Each one of these activities is included in our Christmas Activity Pack, which also includes a letter to Santa template we plan to complete soon.
We were able to visit a local museum for a magical stroll through amazing light shows before this blog was written. We beat the crowds going early, and Grace was able to enjoy running through some of the attractions to her heart’s content. We’ve been keeping track of several other Christmas related events in our area, most of which are FREE! Some of the activities we are most excited for include a living nativity, visiting Santa, a Christmas Tree lighting, and Christmas drives through some pretty awesome neighborhoods to see Christmas lights.
We’ve had a ton of fun so far exploring and learning through a Christmas theme. While December is just getting started, we are so excited to spend some time together experiencing this magical time of year. And, we are starting a new Christmas tradition this year as well to celebrate the Advent season. Grace will be completing an act of kindness each day to count down the days till Christmas.
Designed for even the littlest ones to complete, our Kindness Advent Card Set includes daily prompts to help teach the importance of kindness and that even the simplest acts can put a smile on someone’s face. If you would like to join us during our Kindness Advent, this particular card set is available in our Etsy Shop.
In the spirit of giving, we also wanted to offer all of you a gift from us! It’s been almost one year since we opened up our Etsy Shop, and we have been blown away by our amazing customers, your kind messages and reviews, and the support each and every one of you have shown us through reading our blog, and following our journey raising Grace. As a thank you, we converted our Shape & Color Roll Game into a Holiday version the whole family will enjoy!