I debated about how to do this post – if I should put everything separate so it doesn’t seem overwhelming, or just put it all together. I decided it’s easier to reference later if it’s all together… and honestly, if I wait on some things until later, you have less time to do them with your kids! So… get ready. I’m about to bombard you with a bunch of fun ideas – the first several will be great for even your little toddlers, and the rest will be geared toward your older kiddos.
Many of these activities I have stored in little plastic bags and all inside a storage box (in fact, the same box that once held our Apple Activities). But a couple of them are ready at the window any time one of the kids wants them. The great thing about the activities in the box is that while Becca is working on her activities, she can select something from the box for Gray to do, to appease his desire to do what she is doing. She can also interact with him on his activities, and I love watching the tender moments they share (which usually come right before a snatch-grab-cry-scream fest HA!) together when working on a project. If you have a toddler and an older child, you know how hard it is to find something they can both do either together, or to keep the little one occupied while the older one does something different. This box of activities seems to be my best effort yet in this department.. and is about 80% effective! So, here we go! Let me know if you try any of these with your kids! I’d love to see you share pictures on my Facebook page, as well!
The Christmas Tree Sticky Window is super simple to make – just draw a Christmas tree onto a piece of clear contact paper, and then attach it to your window with tape – so that the sticky side is out. Then, cut various shapes out of felt or other fabric (so that they won’t adhere permanently) and let your kids decorate the tree over and over again! While Becca enjoyed this activity at first, this is definitely a Grayson favorite. He LOVES standing at the window and moving the shapes around. Of course, he also loves to carry the shapes all over the house and leave them random places…
This felt Christmas tree was a busy bag I made a few years ago at a MOPS meeting – simply by cutting shapes from various colors of felt. It’s a great activity for the kids to do together – Becca loves to tell Gray the names of the shapes and their colors. She likes to make patterns of ornaments – he likes to throw them in the air and watch them rain down around him. Either way, they are happily occupied.
In an effort to provide activity for Gray AND Becca in the same box, I have a couple of Christmas coloring books and some blank paper that either of them can enjoy, but I also have magnetic Christmas words that Becca can spell, and then write in her bare book (I found a bunch of them in the Target dollar section at one point this summer!). She also has two rhyming word wheels that she can practice with and write the rhyming words in her book. Gray loves that he’s “writing” with crayons while Sis is writing too. He feels so big and important, and it shows! We just have to watch that he doesn’t run around with a crayon sticking out of his mouth… he has that tendency.
We have some really fun building materials – you could use anything you have laying around – Legos, Duplos (for your little hands), building blocks, marble runs, whatever you have. Challenge your little ones to build a Christmas tree out of the supplies provided!! Looking for more STEAM Engineering ideas? Click Here!
We have a play Peanuts nativity set (affiliate link – thank you!) available on our low window sill for Becca to retell the Christmas story anytime she’d like. Gray also enjoys playing with the characters, and he loves to sit and listen to her act out the story. I also provided in her Christmas activity box Jan Brett’s Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends (affiliate links – thank you!) books – along with a tiny stuffed ginger baby that she can read the books to, and then use to re-inact the stories.
Not an activity for Brother, Becca LOVES making Christmas trees of various designs using green popsicle sticks, red buttons, white pom poms, and one gold one for the star on top. She has come up with some of the coolest, and also weirdest designs. Some look like trees, and some, well… don’t. But she is having a blast, it’s a great sensory activity for her that really allows her imagination and creativity to go wild.
Becca struggles with some simple things like getting dressed, and in order to strengthen her hands and fingers to work on those little things like putting on socks and shoes, I try to find lots of fine motor skill practice activities for her. I had some green colored pasta leftover from one of our habitat boxes, and also have some little Christmas jewelry pieces that I put in some little containers and let her string onto pipe cleaners to make bracelets and necklaces. She LOVES it, and it’s great practice. I even made an extension to this that stays in her room for holiday play – mini ball ornaments that she can string onto pipe cleaners. It’s fabulous for her, and I’ve seen just in the past couple of weeks her fine motor skills making some great improvements!
I programmed several index cards with a variety of patterns and addition/subtraction/multiplication story problems, and had her use these little star cards to solve them. She even said “I wish all math was fun like this!” So we’ve started using the star cards for other kinds of math too. You could use anything you have around the house – scraps of paper, fabric, cut pipe cleaners, Legos, Duplos, crayons, etc. Hands down, using manipulatives makes math more fun! (And Mr. Gingerbaby even got involved in the math, too!)
Becca has always struggled with seeing the importance behind having any numbers beyond 20. She can count to 100 now with ease, but just really doesn’t see the point. But she does love a good challenge, so I cut some 100s grids into lots of funny pieces, and she really enjoys putting them together. I also took her sensory box from last Christmas and stepped it up a notch. She loves playing with it with her balance. She has discovered that the shiny and matte ornaments do not weigh the same as each other. She has weighed the cookie cutters that are also in the box, and loves to scoop and pour the rice/split peas into and out of the balance. She gets so excited when she makes them equal, and loves trying new combinations to see how much she needs to equalize if one side has more ornaments, etc. I love seeing her creativity come out in this simple hands-on sensory activity, and I love to see her enjoying math. She’s measuring with her measuring cup each time, and getting better at recognizing the values, etc. Seeing her enjoy math is so good for me – I’m not a fan of math at all… so I try hard to make it really enjoyable for her so that she will love it.
What Christmas activities do you have going on in your house? We are also doing daily advent activities, reading lots of Christmas books, and watching lots of special Christmas shows. I’m hoping we can get out to look at Christmas lights sometime soon as well. It can be such a crazy time of the year, but when we remember to stop and focus on the Reason for the season, it is all worth while.
May God richly bless you and yours this Christmas! I look forward to hearing from you on Facebook, and I look forward to starting the new year with some new resolutions and some new post ideas!! Do you have something you’d like to see me post here on my blog? Send me an email! I’d love to hear from you!