7 Christmas Activities for Preschoolers
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday, it’s important to make sure that everyone gets a fair shake at celebrating. While most traditions are for the whole family, preschoolers can often feel left out, stressed, or just bored by most Christmas activities. Too young to sit with the big kids and too old not to be occupied, preschoolers live in a stage of life where it is useful and wise to provide them with a few activities of their own or even to add in extra help for them to enjoy the traditions the rest of the family is partaking in.
For many families, the main theme of Christmas besides reconnecting with family and celebrating religious or spiritual days is the giving of gifts. Preschoolers are beginning to learn empathy, sharing and other life lessons that make gift giving a fun endeavor for them. While it may be tempting to just give your preschooler a budget and take them to the store to purchase things for others, it may also turn into a nightmare of crowds, meltdowns, and stress. Consider swapping the shopping for a quiet afternoon of crafting. Letting your preschooler make presents for the close family is a great way to spend a few hours and also to give your child a way to express their love through gifting. Whether it’s making ornaments for relatives to put on their tree or creating unique pieces of art your preschooler will enjoy the process and the act of giving a gift to someone they love.
While doing the actual oven parts of baking isn’t a preschool activity, mixing, rolling, and decorating definitely can be. With a little prep, you can make a cookie decorating area fit for a preschooler. Make sure you cover the counter with something to protect it from stains and put your preschooler in an apron or an old t-shirt to protect them too if you’re going to let them use food dye to the color frosting. Putting sprinkles into shaker bottles can help little hands to be more accurate with their decorating, as can letting them attempt piping by using small amounts of frosting in a zippy bag with the corner cut off. The cookies may not end up picture perfect, but the experience will be a lasting memory.
Going to see Christmas lights is a tradition for many families but when you have a preschooler the typical experience of driving around to look at them may not be very fun for your little one. Between car seats not offering the best view and boredom setting in the whole ordeal can seem impossible to accomplish without tears. That doesn’t mean you have to give it up or find a sitter though! More and more now cities are engaging in lights displays at local parks that you can walk through. Be sure to call ahead and ask if there are any rules about strollers or if they have some kind of train or even carriage rides that might make everything more fun.
While decorating the tree may be out of reach for some preschoolers due to fine motor skills lacking still or even just still not being allowed to fuss with the tree, they can help decorate in other ways. Practicing scissor skills making snowflakes, or using finger paints to make a winter scene may be just up their alley. You might invest in a felt board and make decorations for them to place and remove and place again as well.
Preschoolers are the absolute best at making crafts you’ll want to keep for a lifetime. Helping them to make a salt dough handprint ornament can be a cute way to capture a snapshot of their childhood. Preschoolers are also getting into a groove with pattern recognition and their fine motor skills continue to improve so beading can be a fun way to spend holiday break time. Work with pony beads or other beads with large holes and thread them onto yarn for a garland for the tree or even small friendship bracelets they can gift to others. The old standby of making a crystal ornament using a pipe cleaner and Epsom salt is fun as well as educational. Find a jar or cup, fill with warm water and Epsom salt about a third of the way, then suspend a chenille stick over the top of the water mixture. Wait as the water evaporates over the next day and when it is finished you’ll have a crystal-type substance on your chenille stick and a cool ornament that will last for years with care.
Playing in the snow
If it snows where you live you are all set for this one, whether it’s playing outside in the snow building a snowman or bringing a bowl of it inside to explore it’s a fun way to experience the season. If it doesn’t snow where you are it’s still possible to play, but your snow may need to be replaced with a homemade version. Mixing baking soda and water at the right ratio can give you a reasonable substitute. Start with a cup of baking soda and then add water one tablespoon at a time until the consistency is similar to snow, put it in the freezer for a bit to make it cold and then start having fun. Building a snowman at the kitchen table is almost as fun as building one outside. Feel free to experiment with adding food dye to add and mix colors, or using a spray bottle of vinegar to cause bubbly eruptions once the snow has lost its novelty.
Going door to door singing carols is a tradition many have abandoned. Between urban sprawl making all your friend’s houses too spread out to neighborhoods being less walkable, caroling might seem impossible for anyone let alone preschoolers. However, with a little creativity, this might be an activity your preschooler will love. The first step is to figure out where you want to go, maybe a nursing home or other place where you’re indoors and can visit with people who would love some Christmas cheer. If that’s out of the question, technology can be your best bet. Sending a video of your little one singing a few Christmas songs to far away family or even nearby grandparents can be a welcomed gift.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that preschoolers may not be able to sustain attention for a long period of time, so be flexible and open to letting them lead the way.