Fun Holiday Activities For Little Fingers
Are your kids feeling lost in the frenzy of holiday preparations? Here are some surefire ways to draw your littlest ones into the joyful spirit, while enjoying their wonder at the season's enchantments.
Countdown with Chains
Toddlers struggle with the concept of time and can drive their parents crazy asking “Is it time yet?” daily for weeks leading up to a
holiday celebration! To ease their confusion (and your mind!), try this simple idea: a paper chain. Make paper rings out of construction paper for the number of days before your holiday begins. Use red and green for Christmas; blue and white for Chanukah; or green, black, and red for Kwanzaa. Each night at bedtime, let your child tear off one ring and count those that remain. If your child really enjoys this project, you can extend your chain-making to decorate the house.
Make and Decorate Cookies Together
Get out the holiday cookbooks and bake a batch of cookies with your tot! They’ll love helping stir and kneed dough. Or, if you don’t have time to bake from scratch? No matter! Buy ready-made dough that you can slice or try the super-simple “place and bake” dough and whip up a yummy batch of treats. Then wrap your toddler in an apron or old shirt, seat him at the table, and watch him have a blast decorating with an assortment of frosting and sprinkles.
Create Greeting Cards
A pack of colored construction paper, crayons, rubber stamps with holiday motifs, and stickers can keep kids busy for hours creating greeting cards for the rest of the family. Use up your odd envelopes to mail some of their efforts to out-of-town relatives and close friends. Include a photo of the artists at work. Grandma is certain to love it!
Record a Story Time
It’s important that parents make time to snuggle up with their kids and read to them–but if your child wants story time all the time, try this for a change! Record yourself reading some favorite children’s holiday books; there are a variety of selections available at your local library or bookstore. Ring a bell when it’s time for your child to turn the page. She can then listen to the story on CD and follow along in the book.
Design Gift Wrap Galore
Just as kids love to create cards, they’ll have a great time designing their own holiday wrapping paper. This is a fantastic project for kids of all ages. Give your crew some rubber stamps or make your own by cutting shapes out of potato halves with cookie cutters. Use ink or food coloring and let everyone stamp on plain wrapping paper. Or, get out the finger paints and let your little ones explore their inner Picasso! The results are much more economical than store-bought paper and a unique wrap kids will love to make (and friends and family will love to receive)!
Have Fun with Paper
Let children decorate paper place mats made from large rectangles you’ve cut out of poster board. Furnish yarn, bits of fabric, crayons—if you’re feeling especially brave, finger paint. When the place mats are complete, date them and put your child’s name on each masterpiece. Laminate the mats and use them throughout the holiday season.
Build a Playhouse
You don’t need to make a playhouse fancy for it to be fun. Old cardboard boxes can make for great forts. Add some costumes–old nightgowns, hats, shirts, and jewelry—and have a holiday parade!
Go Live with a Concert
If you have more than one youngster, give them musical instruments like cymbals, a drum, and a toy horn, and let them play holiday songs for you. You might need a little imagination to recognize the tune, but be sure to applaud the effort!
Sponsor a Shopping Spree
Deborah E. Thomas, author of The Bramble Thicket, suggests creating a shopping spree in your home where children can use play money to buy gifts for the other members of the family and their friends. Stock the store with soap, bandages, tooth brushes, candles, pens, notepads, hair bows, toy cars, and so on. Then let them wrap their purchases (with a little help from you). The joy of giving is a wonderful feeling!
Dr. Martin Eichelberger, CEO of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, a national organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury, reminds parents to never leave candles unattended, and turn off tree lights when you go to bed or leave the house; keep common baking ingredients such as vanilla and almond extract out of reach as they contain high levels of alcohol; never leave your child unattended in the kitchen; and keep round, hard foods and candies such as candy cane pieces, mints, nuts, and popcorn out of reach of young children as these items could cause choking.
Focus on Your Family
Most importantly, limit your holiday activities and reduce the stress. Remember that holidays are for children, too. Make sure you bring your littlest ones into the spirit of the occasion and enjoy their wonder at the season’s joys.
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