Updated: Dec 16, 2018
The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year! With kids home from school and so much fun stuff out, it is a perfect time to have some fun learning experiences with your children! This post will feature 5 holiday activities for children 6 months or older, which can act as decorations or be given as gifts.
1. Rudolph puppet
First we have a Rudolph puppet; not only is he super cute but he can serve multiply purposes! The first and most important purpose of this puppet is entertainment and learning for children. The second is a decoration which can be placed anywhere around the house, it can even be hung on the tree!
To make this Rudolph puppet you will need:
-Glue or tape
-Paint, Crayons or Makers
-Craft stick or hole puncher (if you want to make holes on the side and make a mask you will also need a piece of string long enough to go around your child's head, you could also make it into an ornament by punching a hole at the top rather then sides)
-Newspaper or paper to cover work space
* Optional, for added fun a large red Pom-pom for the nose
For toddlers/infants you will also need a reindeer coloring page or stencil . I like this one because it has an easy to follow outline for the nose.
Once you have your supplies together you should set them up so your child(ren) can see everything then tell them what they will be making. Give them some time to color or paint their reindeer, children 3 years old or younger (Children 6 months-1 year will likely need a little help getting the crayon, pencil or paint onto the paper)will need close supervision to ensure they are only coloring on the paper. Children 4 years and older will likely be fine if you need to leave the room for a short time. Once the child(ren) are finished coloring their reindeer (If you went with paint, let it dry for about 5-10 mins depending on how much paint the child used before moving on), if you went with the pom-poms it's time to glue them on! If you didn't go with the pom-poms, it's time to glue the reindeer to the craft stick or punch the holes for the string. If you went with the hole punch, it's time to tie the string on! If you went with the craft stick, it's time to let it dry!
For additional fun with a mask - Have your child(ren) pretend to be a reindeer helping Santa get back to the North Pole or to your house to deliver presents. You can have them walk like a reindeer on all 4s or just pretend to be a riendeer. If you want you can even set up an obstacle course that they have to help Santa get through.
Older children (4+) can make a map of where they take Santa!
2. Wrapping paper and gift bag fun!
Infants-2 years old
For infants and toddlers 2 years old or young; all you will need is Wrapping paper, gift bags and floor space or a high chair!
Wrapping paper and gift bags are great for sensory fun! Lay out several different bags and some wrapping paper (the more different textures the more fun!) Let your baby or toddler feel and grab the bags and wrapping paper. Allowing them to garb and hold the wrapping paper and bags help their fine motor skills. The different textures help them learn about the sense of feeling and how different things feel so, be sure to talk about what they are feeling. Talking about the textures will help toddler learn new words!
Toddlers For Children 3 years old and over; you will need cardboard boxes or shoes boxes of different sizes, tape, scissors as well as, wrapping paper, gift bags and floor or table space.
First you will layout your supplies and show the child. Then tell them you are going to be wrapping presents! Have the child pick a box to wrap or put into a bag and show them how to wrap it by wrapping one side, or starting to put it into the bag. Then have them try to wrap it the best they can on their own, providing as little help as possible. If you want these can even be real gifts from the child to family or friends (one less thing you have to wrap!)
3. Christmas Tree
Materials needed: Christmas tree cut-out on green construction paper (you can make your own free-hand tree or use a coloring page, such as the one above, as a guide) paint brushes and paint for children under 3 years old. For children 3 years old and older you will need the Christmas coloring page or a pencil, green construction paper, pom-poms, scissors and glue
For children under 3- Set up the paint and pre-cut Christmas tree on a table or floor space the children can reach. Allow the child to use a paint brush or their hand to decorate the tree. Talk to them about what colors and shapes they are making, as well as how many of each thing they are making.
Children over 3- First you need to have a Christmas tree drawn on green construction paper for the child to cut-out or you can have the child make their own Christmas tree to cut-out. After the tree is on the green paper, you will have the child(ren) cut it out. Then you will have the child(ren) use pom-poms and glue or paint to decorate the tree. You can either have them put a certain amount of ornaments on the tree or allow them to put as many as they want then, count them when they are done. If you choose to pick the number of ornaments, you can also practice some basic addition. You can say "I want you to make/glue on 2 ornaments." Wait for child to finish "Now, I want to you add one more on. How many do you have now?" If child(ren) don't answer encourage them to count them again.
4. Dramatic play/Pretend play
Have your child(ren) make Santa's workshop! For this activity you need: A table or floor space, a variety of toys, paper and markers/crayons/pencils.
For infants you will simply put several different toys near them and have them reach for, grab and hold the toys. This is also a great time to practice sitting up by sitting behind the baby on the floor if they have not mastered sitting up yet. Talk about what the toys do and show the infant how to reach, grab and hold toys while letting them explore!
First you will have your child use paper and markers, crayons or colored pencils to create their own Santa's workshop sign, they can even pick a name for it! Next have them gather some toys into a pile near the table or floor space that will be their workshop. Then have them sort the toys into categories; for example soft toys go here, animals there). Finally have the child(ren) give the toys out as one of Santa's helpers!
5. Salt Dough ornaments
Materials needed: Salt, Flour, Water, A Bowl, table, Oven, Cookie cutter, butter knife, String/yarn, pencil, cookie tray, measuring cups for solids- 1 cup, 1/4 cup and 1/4 tbs and a 1 cup measuring cup for liquid, if you like to make colored dough you will need food coloring or paint. If you choose not to color the salt dough, you can have your child paint the ornament once it dries with a paint brush.
Infants- For a infant you will have to mix the 1 and 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp salt and water together for them. However it is a great sensory activity if you allow them to feel the flour, salt and water before mixing them and while you are mixing them! Since infants will not know how to use a paint brush yet, you can use the dough to make a hand or foot print ornament. First you will preheat the oven. Next you have to mix the flour, salt and water in a bowl (if you would like to make the dough colorful, you just have to add food coloring or paint). Then you roll the dough out on a floured surface and put a little bit of flour on top. Next, if you want to make the print a certain color you have to paint the child's hand or foot. Then you place the child's hand or foot into the dough and lift it out. Next, you can cut out the hand or foot print with a cookie cutter (if you have one large enough) or butter knife. Next, you have to make a hole at the top of the ornament with a pencil. Then you place the ornament on a cookie tray and bake for 10 mins. While the ornament is baking wash your hands and your child's to get any dough or paint off. After the ornament is done baking, take it out and allow it to cool for 5-10 mins. Finally put a string through the hole and hang the ornament on the tree or wrap it for a gift!
Children 1-3 years old will not be much help with making the dough however, they can pick the cookie cutter that will become their ornament! Children 1-3 years old will also be able to paint finished ornaments with colors they pick!
Children 3 year old and older will be able to help with making the dough. You can have them fill the measuring cups then pour them into the bowl or pour the measuring cups after you fill them. After having your child(ren) add all of the ingredients into the bowl, take turns mixing it. once the dough is thick, it's ready to be rolled out. You can have your child(ren) help you with the rolling! Then they can cut out their ornaments and put them onto a cookie tray. After all of the ornaments have been put on the tray, the tray is ready to go into the oven! Allow them to cool for 15 mins, then they are ready to be decorated! Next it is time to paint the ornament! Finally after the paint drys, it's time to put the string through the hole, tie it on tight and hang the ornament on the tree or wrap it for a gift!