I must admit that I’ve had a harder time getting into the holiday spirit this year than in many years past. Maybe it was because Thanksgiving was so late this year, and I’ve felt like there wasn’t enough time to accomplish my usual holiday list, or maybe it was the week long cruise we went on two weeks ago that just sucked the life out of me. But, I’ve come around. We put up our Christmas tree and hung our stockings, and I created some fun activities for Corbin and Lynley too.
This has been my favorite Tot School activity to date. The twins are finally old enough for me to begin expanding on some more difficult concepts, like counting and matching. And we’ve just been having so much fun. Here are the list of activities we’ve been doing.
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree: I made a Christmas tree out of felt and decorated it with foam shapes and ric rac (inspiration tutorial here). I ironed on the ric rac using Heat n Bond, but you could also sew it on. I attached the shapes and star topper with velcro, but you could also use Command Strips or sew them on. I wanted Corbin and Lynley to be able to take the “ornaments” off of the tree and practice putting them back on, so that is why I used velcro. We sing Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree while we play with the trees, and I describe the shapes and colors to the babies. They’re not quite ready to put the ornaments back on the tree, but they love ripping them off! I bought a package of already cut-out foam stars from WalMart, so I spread a few of those out as extra “ornaments” to count and practice matching colors. They still just like to chew on them, but they did pick up the right color I asked for a couple of times.
Frosty the Snowman: One of my blogger friends created this cute tutorial for how to make snowmen out of old socks. I had to tweak it a bit, so I could use materials that I had on hand. (Hers turned out much cuter!) First, I used polyfill to stuff the socks. I tied the socks in three places using string to make the body. Next, I cut out the buttons and eyes out of felt and attached them with velcro. I made the snowman eyes blue to match Corbin and Lynley’s eyes! I cut the mouth out of the red ric rac I used for the Christmas tree, and attached that with velcro too. Finally, I cut out two strips of green felt for the scarves and tied those around the neck. Fold the top of the sock down over the first “ball of snow” and you’ve got yourself a little winter cap for your snowman! We sing Frosty the Snowman as we play with these dolls and count the buttons and eyes. I also describe the eyes and mouth and head on the snowmen and point to our eyes, mouths and heads. This is probably Lynley’s favorite activity, as she loves stuffed animals! She will carry both of the dolls around the room running away from Corbin.
Jingle Bells: This is Corbin’s absolute favorite activity! And, it’s the simplest to make. I bought a bag of jingle bells from Wal Mart for about $3.00, and a set of glitter pipe cleaners. Simply, string the pipe cleaner with the bells, tie it off and voila! Just be sure no sharp edges of the pipe cleaner are left when you tie it. Both babies love to shake their jingle bells along to the song Jingle Bells, and they would do it forever if I’d let them! They do try to put them in their mouths, but I would advise against letting them do this. Derrick pointed out to me that the little bells have little slits in them that a tooth or tongue could get stuck in. It’s also fun to count all of the bells on the string, and practice saying the word ‘ball.’
We also played with a singing/dancing Christmas Tree hat that wiggles around to Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. If you’ve seen our other posts, you know how much the babies like things like this! The singing/dancing witch’s hat at Halloween was priceless, so I’m glad I found this hat tucked away with my decorations.
Finally, we read holiday-themed books, like Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer and blew Rudolph bubbles that smell like chocolate (available at Michaels)! Other books included our personalized book from Put Me In The Story, Santa is Coming to Corbin & Lynley’s House, The Night Before Christmas, and The Dreamy, Fishy, Happy Bible Storybook.
I really wanted to find the babies a play nativity set, but I couldn’t find one locally that was $20 or less, and online the cheapest was that plus a ton for shipping. So, maybe we’ll end up making one too. For now, we will just continue talking about the true reason of this holiday season and pointing at the “not for play” nativity set on the mantle.
If you like this post, please share it! (social media buttons at the bottom of the post) What other holiday-themed activities have you done or seen for small children? Have any suggestions for other games or lessons we can do with our current materials? Share in the comments!