Christmas creative expression
Activities for toddlers and babies
Explore Christmas magic with paint, different types of crayons, colors, modeling dough, and paper.
Display Christmas-themed pictures and illustrations on the walls of your daycare to inspire children's creations.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
A pine forest
Cut pine tree shapes out of green construction paper. Arrange them on a wall, at children's level, to represent a forest. Set washable markers nearby. As children arrive in the morning, encourage them to use the markers to decorate the trees. Your pine forest will become a magical Christmas tree forest.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch and smell)
Cinnamon modeling dough
The scent of cinnamon is often associated with Christmas. Sprinkle cinnamon on homemade modeling dough. Mix and knead the dough to incorporate the scent. Let children manipulate the modeling dough to discover the smell of cinnamon.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch and look)
Cut circles out of white construction paper. Cut out the centre of each snowball and glue a piece of adhesive paper behind each larger circle to create several white rings with adhesive paper centres. Invite babies and toddlers to press white feathers all over the adhesive paper. You could also use crumpled pieces of white tissue paper, cotton balls, or glitter (supervision required). Hang your snowballs from your daycare ceiling or arrange them on a wall.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Gingerbread man collage
Cut a gingerbread man shape out of brown construction paper for each child. Set a variety of different materials on the table: feathers, fabric pieces, construction paper shapes, stickers, and crayons. Let toddlers draw on their gingerbread man or decorate it as they wish. If you wish, you could even glue a candy cane on each child's gingerbread man. Glue a ribbon behind each child's artwork. Hang the gingerbread men within your daycare or in your Christmas tree.
Cut the centre out of a paper plate to create the base of your wreath. If wish to make a larger wreath, you may also use heavy cardboard. Encourage babies and toddlers to draw on the wreath or paint it before gluing a variety of Christmas decorations all over it. Use string or ribbon to hang your wreath on your daycare door.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Accordion-style greeting card
Create a different type of greeting card by folding a long rectangular piece of construction paper three times accordion-style for each child. Let children decorate each side of their accordion. If you wish, add a picture of each child wearing a Santa Claus hat, his/her handprint, a personalized message, a drawing, etc. to his/her card. Children will be proud to give their card to their parents for Christmas.
Purchase or make a small felt stocking for each child. Invite toddlers to paint their stocking to decorate it. Once the paint is dry, simply add a special treat, a rolled-up message written on parchment paper, and a handful of Christmas chocolates inside each stocking. These stockings will make the perfect present for parents.
Personalized candy for my brother or sister
This special surprise will make someone with a sweet tooth very happy. Give each child a candy cane. Cut two construction paper circles for each child. Let babies and toddlers draw on one circle. Glue a picture of each child on his/her second circle or, if you prefer, glue a Christmas illustration on it. Glue each child's circles on either side of his/her candy cane. These make great brother/sister gifts.
A little, a lot, and nothing at all
You will need three empty plastic bottles. Fill each bottle with water so they are ¾ full. Pour a large quantity of glitter in one bottle, a small amount of glitter in another bottle, and no glitter in the third bottle. Let babies and toddlers manipulate the bottles. Use the bottles to explore quantities with your group.
Provide babies and toddlers with the opportunity to manipulate two different paint colors: blue and yellow. As they mix them together, they will see the paint turn green. Children can mix the paint on paper or directly on the table.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Tear, crumple, roll out
This activity is great for manipulating paper. Purchase several rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. Let babies and toddlers roll out the paper. Help them tear large pieces of paper and encourage them to crumple them. Provide large containers children can repeatedly fill and empty with paper.
Christmas songbook and creative expression
Select a few Christmas-themed songs that you wish to practice with your group. As you sing the songs, invite babies and toddlers to draw on paper or complete simple crafts. Use their work and printouts of the lyrics to create original songbooks. Include a short message explaining how children's creations were completed as they listened to the songs included in your songbook. Send a songbook home with each child.
Early childhood educator
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