Activities for toddlers and babies
A Christmas tree in our daycare
Depending on the ages of the children in your group, set a small Christmas tree in one corner of your daycare and have fun decorating it with them.
Lights hanging from the ceiling
Hang Christmas tree lights from the ceiling. Children will love admiring them throughout the theme.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Out for a walk
When you go for walks with your group, help children notice and identify the different types of coniferous trees (pine, spruce, fir). Encourage children to collect, observe, and manipulate pine cones.
An edible Christmas tree
You will need several thick pancakes. Sit at the table with your group so that children can watch the pancakes become Christmas trees step by step. Cut a Christmas tree shape out of each pancake. Let each child spread a thick and creamy preparation on their pancake/Christmas tree (whipped cream, chocolate sauce, jam, etc.). With very young children, you may choose to simply deposit a spoonful of the chosen preparation on their high chair tray and let them manipulate it while you spread it on their pancake/Christmas tree for them. Once this step is completed, encourage children to decorate their Christmas tree with a variety of food items: cut fruit (strawberries, grapes, clementines, etc.) or tiny candy pieces (Smarties, cake decorations, etc.). Allow little ones to participate, manipulate the different items, and taste them. Variation: You may also choose to use bread slices as your base. Garnish them as you would a pizza or with cheese spread and cut vegetables.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look and hear)
Collect the needles of different types of coniferous trees. Insert them in empty water bottles. Seal the cap of each bottle using hot glue. Let babies and toddlers explore the bottles. Encourage them to shake the bottles and listen to the soft sound of the needles.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look and smell)
Fill a large container with pine needles and pine cones. Constant supervision is necessary throughout this activity. Invite children to observe, touch, and smell the contents of the bin.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Collect several small coniferous tree branches. Have children sit at the table and set a large piece of white paper in front of each child along with a pie plate containing a small amount of poster paint. Show children how they can dip their tree branch in the paint and then use it to paint on their paper. Pine tree branches are perfect for this activity since their needles are long and supple (supervision required).
Salt dough Christmas trees
Prepare homemade salt dough. Visit the Creative recipes section of the educatall.com website for a simple recipe. Let babies and toddlers explore the salt dough with their fingers while you use a Christmas tree-shaped cookie cutter to create several tiny Christmas trees. Bake the Christmas trees in the oven or set them out to dry. Once they are dry, invite children to paint them. Hang them in your Christmas tree or from the ceiling.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
You will need three large pieces of green construction paper or cardboard. Cut three triangles and position them on a wall to represent a Christmas tree. As the week progresses, decorate the tree with crafts and decorations made by the children in your group.
Examples: Have them draw on construction paper circles to represent ornaments, have them press their hands in poster paint and then on paper and cut out their handprints once they are dry, paint cardboard stars and sprinkle them with glitter, cut Styrofoam balls in two and let children decorate them (constant supervision is necessary).
Help children realize how Christmas trees have a triangular shape. To introduce little ones to triangles, cut several triangles out of colourful construction paper or felt. Encourage children to stick the shapes on a large banner or a piece of adhesive paper.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Ornaments and garlands
Purchase several unbreakable ornaments and garlands. With constant supervision, let babies and toddlers manipulate the items and encourage them to carry them throughout the daycare.
Provide several unbreakable ornaments. Deposit a towel in the bottom of a laundry basket or box. Show children how they can toss the ornaments inside.
Decorate an outdoor Christmas tree
If you have a pine tree in your yard, bring several unbreakable ornaments and decorations outside and show babies and toddlers how they can hang them from the tree's branches.
Early childhood educator
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