Sunday, 30 November 2014

Christmas Activities to keep your little ones busy all the way up until the big day!

Apologies for the length of time since my last post – I am in the midst of many exams at college and am spending any of that most valuable free time either studying! That being said – I have begun thinking about Christmas and therefore, have decided to make a countdown of 24 festive activities for you to try on the run up to the big day!

December 1st

Make your own Santa themed advent calendar! All you need is to draw (or print) the top half of Santa's head and then create a downwards facing triangle of the numbers 1-25 (or 24 if you are in a nursery and wont see the children on the 25th
Then on each day, a child can glue a cotton wool ball onto the correct number to slowly build up that snowy white beard! 
HINT: If you have a big-ish class, it's sometimes helpful to have 2 advent calendars on the go to ensure that everyone gets a turn

(Numeracy, turn taking, knowledge of time/days)

December 2nd

Using Christmas scents such as; nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger, make some festive smelling playdough or gloop for lovely sensory play.

If you decide on gingerbread flavoured playdough – why not add gingerbread-man cutters, googly eyes, sequins etc

Another idea is to make red and white playdough or gloop and add peppermint scent for a candy cane theme!

(Sensory, Manipulative play, fine motor, hand-eye co-ordination, creative)

December 3rd

Continuing on the sensory theme, make spice paints by adding your ginger/ cinnamon etc to PVA glue (I found watering the glue down a little helps) and paint onto gingerbread man cut outs.
Hint: More able children could even try cutting out their own men for that added challenge.

(Sensory, Creative)

December 4th

Add some Christmas themed discovery bottles to your light box area. Some ideas to go into your bottles include; pine branches tinsel, sleigh bells, small ornaments and magic snow (
and real snow (which will soon turn to water – but this is just as valuable)

Don't forget to add magnifying glasses, pencils and paper for observation and investigation!

Extend this investigation by creating an interest table or tray where children can explore some of the materials listed above! Hint: supervision is needed with magic snow to prevent eating it!

(Knowledge of seasons and celebrations)

December 5th

Provide lots of wrapping paper, scissors and tape (Masking tape works best as it is easy to cut/ tear and can usually peeled off if stuck in unwanted places) and encourage your children to wrap boxes, containers etc from your junk modelling. Once wrapped, these can be a lovely addition to your role play area.

(Fine motor, hand-eye co-ordination, problem solving)

December 6th

Get the children involved in some BIG art by laying out large sheets of paper and materials for printing (i.e. plates of festive coloured paint and sponges/duplo blocks/ shaped stampers etc) and make your very own wrapping paper.

(Creative, patterns, colours)

December 7th

Image from
Ditch those boring paint brushes and make your own by attaching stick on ribbon bows/ tinsel/ bits of pine branches to lolly sticks! (If they don't stick very well, clothes pegs can be a simple handle)


December 8th

It's time to write that letter to Santa! This activity can be adapted for children of different abilities. 

First of all, there are some lovely printable pages which are a bit more exciting than a plain sheet of paper (or you can make your own if you're feeling creative)

here is a pinterest board full of ideas

Some children may be able to write an entire letter/ list with a little support, or it may be helpful for some children to follow the guide:

Something I want_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Something I need_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Something to wear_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Something to read_ _ _ _ _ _ _

for others, it is a nice alternative to look through magazines (you'll probably have tonnes at this time of year!) and cut out the pictures of items that take their fancy. Remember to encourage them to write a few words, even if it is just “To Santa”.

(Language & Literacy, Making decisions, fine motor, hand-eye co-ordination)

December 9th

I loved this one as a child: cutting out snowflakes!

First draw around a plate or a large circle onto a white sheet of paper, then cut it out.
Then fold it in half, and again, and again until you have a small(ish) section – it doesn't need to be tiny, but the more times it is folded, the more intricate your final design will look!
Next, snip away little triangles from around the edges of your section and finally, open it out and admire your work!

I like to hang these pretty snowflakes around the room. They also make a fab starting point for discussing the way that every snowflake is different and individual – just like us!

(Fine motor, hand-eye co-ordination, patterns)

December 10th

It's time for some threading! Your shape can be as simple as a green triangle (christmas tree) or 2 circles (snowman) or you could cut out a slightly more complicated version and then use a hole punch to pop some holes all around the edges.
Then allow the children to use brightly coloured wool to thread in and out of the holes. If you don't have a chunky, child sized needle, try wrapping the end of the wool with masking tape, or you can make your own needle with a pipe cleaner!

(Fine motor, hand-eye co-ordination, concentration)

December 11th

Cut the middle out of a paper plate and decorate with either real, natural resources or a mixture of tissue paper, pom poms, glitter etc to make a pretty wreath for your door!
(Creative, choosing resources, becoming aware of traditions)

December 12th

I know some EYPs that refuse to use colouring pages, but I feel that they can be fun and helpful for children, as long as they aren't the be all and end all of your provision!
There are tonnes of fantastic festive themed colouring pages to be found – I could add a link but to be quite honest, you're just as well using Google Image search! 

(Concentration, choosing colours and materials, telling a narrative)

Image from

December 13th

Let the children make their own Salt Dough ornaments to decorate the tree!

Salt Dough Ornaments:
You only need 3 ingredients: 1 cup of plain flour, 1 cup of salt and water to combine.

  • Roll the dough out and use some Christmas cookie cutters to make the shapes
  • Don't forget to make a small hole at the top. You'll need this for threading your ribbon at the end.
  • Different recipes give different cooking times so have a look, but I tend to cook them by eye (when they turn golden brown then they are done)
  • Let them cool and harden and then decorate with paint and plenty of glitter (poster paint mixed with PVA is great as it leaves a wonderful shine – it also helps your glitter to stick!)
  • Thread your ribbon through the hole and it's ready to hang!

December 14th

I hope you've saved your Christmas cards from last year! Chop them up to make some simple, seasonal jigsaw puzzles

(Problem solving, logical thinking)

December 15th

Any scraps of wrapping paper? Let the children chop it up and stick it down for some easy collage fun. You can also chop into strips of different lengths and arrange into a Christmas tree shape!

(Creative, hand-eye co-ordination, fine motor)

December 16th

I hope by this time that we have some snow to play with! Get outside and make snow men, snow angels, snow balls...
Did you know that you can paint the snow? Watch as the colour gets absorbed and as the snow melts and changes into all kinds of interesting shapes!

(Physical, creative)

December 17th

Take a fairly large cardboard box, paint it red, add glitter and cotton wool snow and cut out a slot to create a Christmas post box. Then provide lots of blank Christmas cards and envelopes and allow the children to write messages, post them and deliver them to each other

(Creative, literacy and language, role play)

December 18th

I hope you're making good use of your role play area! Here's a few ideas:
  • Santa's workshop (pretend tools, work benches, boxes, wrapping, toys...)
  • Christmas house (fireplace, children's own tree, pretend presents, bed)
  • Christmas Post Office (envelopes, cards, stamps, boxes, post bags)
  • Christmas Shop (till, shops, bags, toys/sweets/cakes)
(Imaginative, Role Play)

December 19th

Use a simple shape to play Christmas Bingo! (Here's one I made earlier) 
Stickers or stampers to cover the number once it's called add and extra element of fun.
Don't forget to blank out a few different numbers on each child's sheet so that they are not all the same!


December 20th

Here's another very simple idea – Christmas themed dot-to-dot. Again, there are so many options for this, you could make your own but you could save time by using Google Images!

(Numeracy, sequencing)

December 21st

Now would be a lovely time to learn about Christmas around the world – the different cultures and traditions. There are many books available and here is a wonderful website with many facts and photos to explore

(Knowledge and Understanding of our own and other cultures)

December 22nd

Do your children continually want to decorate and redecorate the tree? Give them their own tree to play with – either a child sized artificial tree in the role play area, or why not make a 'fuzzy felt' version by sticking a large felt tree shape to the wall and providing all kinds of felt decorations (if they don't stick very well – velcro may help)

(Creative, Role play)

December 23rd

Go for a wintery walk. Wrap up warm and go out spotting christmas trees and lights around your area. To add another element of learning to this activity you could create a tick/ tally/ scavenger sheet for children to complete along the way.

(Physical, Observation)

December 24th

Taken from Google Images

Christmas eve at last! Why not settle down to a classic Christmas movie (Some of my favourites include; The Snowman and Polar Express for younger children, Elf and Muppets Christmas carol for older.

Also visit which allows you to track Santa on his journey around the world!


Bonus Blog hopping – with a few more fantastic ideas:

1. Another version of the advent calendar – this time cutting off sections of Santa's beard each day.  

The website is not in English but the pictures are very clear: 

2. A recipe for Reindeer food to sprinkle in the garden on Christmas eve 

3. A selection of wonderful “Jingle Bell” activities

4. And finally, some Snowman activities
(I especially love the melted snowman pictures) 


Wishing you all a wonderful festive period! May all your Christmas wishes come true!

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