3D Christmas Tree – simply cut out two Christmas tree shapes from a cardboard box, paint both sides green or cover with green paper, and then decorate! We used sparkly pompoms, Christmassy sequins and glitter, you could also use tin foil, milk bottle tops, tissue paper (screwed into balls to make baubles), sweet wrappers etc. K loved this activity and it took us 2 days to complete (as we had to allow time for the paint to dry before painting the other side, and then wait for the glue to dry on each side) and it now has pride of place in her bedroom.
Customising Christmas Baubles (inspired by Learn with Play at Home) – I set up an invitation to create with baubles, sequins and other sparkly bits, glitter glue, and glue with a cotton bud. We placed the bauble in a cup to stop it rolling around while K decorated it. It’s a very open ended activity and K particularly liked putting glitter glue on the baubles (she has a slight obsession with putting glitter on things, but who can blame her!). Squeezing tubes of glitter glue is great for strengthening muscles in the hands and fingers, and putting on the dots of glue and placing the sequins helps to develop fine motor skills. K has asked to do it again 3 times so far this week – our Christmas tree is looking a bit full now!
Christmas Present Wrapping Game (inspired by Montessori Mischief) – I filled a shoe box with some offcuts of wrapping paper, scissors, a small sellotape dispenser, ribbon, bows, gift tags and a pencil. Then we played a game of wrapping toys, putting them under the tree and opening them. K thought this was great fun and decided she was an elf, she spent a good hour playing with it. It’s the first time she’s used a sellotape dispenser so I had to teach her how to use it properly. It’s also a good way to learn about and practise social skills as we talked about giving presents to others and saying thank you as we received presents.
Making Gingerbread Biscuits – a traditional Christmas activity but one that I was excited to try this year as I recently discovered you can make a reindeer by turning a gingerbread man upside down! I have to be honest, I find cooking with K a bit stressful sometimes as I tend to be quite precise measuring ingredients which is difficult with an enthusiastic 3-year-old. It’s also quite messy and I get frustrated when she tries to eat all the ingredients as we go along. This is something I need to work on as cooking is a fantastic activity for young children, because not only is it fun and you get to eat something tasty at the end, but it also covers so many different areas of learning including maths, science, health and so on. Decorating the biscuits was really fun, K helped me put the eyes (raisins) and buttons/nose (smarties) on the gingerbread men and reindeer, and I let her have free rein with the stars and some silver balls to keep her occupied while I piped on the other details.
I think the best thing about all the craft activities we have done this week was that it was all done using bits and bobs that we had around the house anyway. We used some things that would otherwise have gone to waste, like leftover pieces of wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, and extra baubles that we hadn’t put on the tree. I love doing crafts (can’t help it, used to be a primary school teacher!) and so I always tend to pick up crafty bits like pompoms and glitter glue whenever I see them. And I always make sure I have some tubes of writing icing and decorations in the kitchen cupboard for a rainy day. So all of this fun hasn’t really cost us anything this week.
We also had our playgroup Christmas party this week with another visit from Santa (that’s 3 presents from Santa already!) and K’s first preschool nativity. She was an angel and was a total superstar, normally when there are lots of people around she’s quite reserved but she joined in with all the singing and dancing, and even worked her way to the front! When she spotted us she waved at us with a big grin on her face, and just carried on dancing! We were very proud parents. We’ve also had the Christmas themed playdough we made last week out again several times, listened to lots of Christmas music and done some Christmas colouring in sheets.