Activities for toddlers and babies
Since Christmas will soon be here, this theme will help you prepare and make the weeks leading up to Christmas extra special for little ones.
Hang a string of Christmas lights from the ceiling. At the end of the day, turn all other lights off and let children admire the Christmas lights. Doing so will create a calm and magical atmosphere.
Fill a box with items related to Christmas. Choose items that can safely be manipulated by babies and toddlers such as shatterproof ornaments, a garland, a Christmas stocking, Christmas illustrations, etc. Set the box on the floor in the centre of your daycare for children to discover when they arrive in the morning. Let them explore the contents of the box.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Making diaper changes fun
You will need five empty plastic water bottles. In each bottle, insert a small Christmas object such as a tiny bell, a pine needle, red and green glitter, small bows, etc. Each day, introduce a new bottle and let children manipulate it during diaper changes.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (listen)
Purchase musical Christmas greeting cards. Laminate them with adhesive paper. Let babies and toddlers manipulate them so they will discover the musical surprise. If you wish, you may also glue Christmas-themed illustrations inside each card before laminating them.
ARTS & CRAFTS
A colourful day (red and green)
To introduce children to the main Christmas colors, ask parents to dress their child with red and/or green clothing items. Offer red and green crayons or modeling dough. At snack time, serve red or green food items.
Christmas tree mural
This project can be completed as a group throughout the week. Cut a very large Christmas tree shape out of green cardboard or construction paper. Display it on a wall. Have fun creating a variety of decorations with your group and use them to garnish your tree. Here are a few suggestions:
- Press each child's hand in paint and then on heavy paper. Let dry. Cut out the handprints and glue them on your tree.
- Cut Styrofoam balls in two and let children paint them. Glue them on your tree.
- Cut Christmas shapes out of adhesive paper and invite children to press pieces of tissue paper on them. Stick them on your tree.
My first Christmas stocking
Felt is an interesting material for little ones since it is both fun and easy to paint. Purchase felt Christmas stocking shapes or trace and cut Christmas stocking shapes out of felt pieces. Stick or sew the contour of two stockings together for each child. Let children paint both sides of their stocking. You may have to use adhesive tape to stick the stockings on the table to make painting them easier for children. Once they are dry, fill the stockings with children's drawings and a few Christmas treats. Add tissue paper on top and the stockings will make perfect Christmas presents for parents.
Collect different sizes of wrapping paper scraps and use them for collages on heavy cardboard or adhesive paper. This is yet another ideal group activity.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Relaxing with feathers
Christmas is a very demanding time of the year, even for young children. Just like us, children are somewhat frazzled and stressed. For this reason, integrating calm periods in your schedule can be beneficial for all. Purchase red and green feathers and gently toss them in the air. Watch them as they float to the floor to the sound of calm music. You may also offer children a foot massage at the end of the day for a relaxing treat.
Gather your musical instruments and use them to accompany your Christmas songs. If you do not have enough instruments, simply fill plastic bottles with dry pasta or use rattles or aluminum pie plates to create a variety of sounds.
Garlands (long and short)
Fill a large container with different lengths of garlands. Choose a variety of colors and textures and cut them so some are very long and others are very short. Encourage children to manipulate them and describe the length of each garland piece by stating if it is long or short.
Christmas stockings (object permanence)
Purchase very large Christmas stockings. Fill them with a variety of objects: bows, shatterproof ornaments, Christmas stuffed animals, etc. Deposit the stockings on the floor and encourage children to discover their contents by emptying and filling the stockings over and over again.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Wrapping paper exploration
Purchase rolls of colourful Christmas wrapping paper. Set them on the floor and let children explore them. They will enjoy rolling them out. Show them how they can tear the paper and crumple it to create paper balls. Let them throw the balls of paper within your daycare. You can provide baskets and encourage them to try and toss the balls of paper in them. If they prefer, they can also simply use the balls of paper to fill and empty various containers.
Your very own Christmas songbook
Create your own Christmas songbook and give parents a copy. This will make it possible for parents to sing the songs you sing at daycare with their child at home. Choose three or four simple songs. If you wish, use only one verse or the chorus of a song. Print the lyrics and join the pages with pretty Christmas ribbon. Complete the songbooks with children's drawings or write adorable anecdotes in them. Have children decorate the cover page of each songbook.
If you have older toddlers in your group who are beginning to sing with you, record yourselves when you sing Christmas songs as a group. Children will want to listen to their recording over and over again. You can also create a CD to accompany your songbook.
Early childhood educator
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