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8 Unplugged Holiday Activities for Toddlers

It’s a festive time of year, and your little one will enjoy seeing the decorations around your home and city. Special gatherings of friends and family allow our children to celebrate with those they love. Help your little one feel connected to the season by including them in different activities centered around your family’s holiday traditions. Toddlers love contributing and gain confidence and joy from feeling included! 

Indoor Christmas Activities to Do With Toddlers

This sweet video from @OurMontessoriJourney shows a fun idea: a paper tree on her wall with repositionable hooks allows her daughter to have her very own tree. A basket of ornaments on the floor invites her to change the ornaments on the edges of the tree as she likes.

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Holiday Cards

If your family sends holiday cards, there are a few ways a toddler can participate: 

  • Include your child in the preparation of the envelopes. 
  • Enable your child to “sign” the cards by adding a small decoration. Here’s how: Give them one card at a time with just two or three pencils so they do not become overwhelmed by the process. You can talk about who the card is going to and show them where to draw their design. They may spend a long time on each card, or they may simply add a few scribbles. The purpose here is for them to feel included, so it is important that you do not have any expectations about how the card will look, or that every card will have the same contribution. They may choose to decorate only three cards and that’s OK!
  • Invite an older toddler to help you stuff the cards into the envelopes. You can show them how to fit the card in and then put the envelope into a pile. Again, it can be meaningful to discuss who the cards are going to and how happy the recipient will be. You’ll probably need to stick the envelope closed and apply the stamp.
  • Display them on a wall at your child’s eye level. As cards start arriving from your family and friends, display them at your child’s eye level. Using twine or ribbon can create a nice display. Even young babies will enjoy gazing at the friendly faces, and you can discuss your loved ones, both near and far! 

Ornament Posting

Emily from @MadetoMontessori used a thrifted wooden plate rack with some mini-wreaths found at Target to create this posting activity for her toddler. Watch below to see how he used it and look around at your existing toys to see how you might use tree ornaments with them.

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Homemade Gifts

Your little one can also contribute to the gift exchange tradition if you choose to do this in your home. Here’s a simple homemade project.

  • Purchase a few plain, clear ornament balls whose tops open up — and some pipe cleaners. These ornaments can be used on a tree or as a festive winter window hanger.
  • Your child will sit at a low table with one ball in front of them.
  • Place two or three sheets of colored paper on the table.
  • Show them how to rip up the paper and insert the pieces into the top of the ornament.
  • Once the balls are filled, you can show them how to insert a pipe cleaner into the hole at the top of the ball and then twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together so the decorations can hang. Your child can give these decorations to family members and loved ones for festive adornments. 

Creating Decorations 

The gluing set (in the Monti Kids Level 8 subscription box for toddlers) provides ample opportunities for decorating in your house. Depending on your family’s tradition, you can cut out several snowmen, trees, stars, or wreaths in white or winter colors.

Christmas tree craft for toddler

Let your child choose which they would like to use and then allow them to decorate one paper at a time. This is always an important point in the Montessori curriculum because children become overstimulated by too many choices very quickly. Limiting their options aids in concentration and contentment. Once they have chosen, you can offer the gluing set with various shapes cut out.

  • Let your young child select shapes, apply glue, and then put the shapes on the paper cut-outs.
  • Let them decide how many shapes to use and where to put them.
  • Then when they are done, and the glue is dry, let your child decide where to hang the decorations. You can admire them all season long and thank your little one for their contribution to your home!

Bow-sticking

Another one from @MadetoMontessori, this time using vertical space: Emily placed contact paper on the wall and provided her little one with a basket of bows to decorate with.

The target she created with the rectangular border provides him with a motor skills challenge. An older child might enjoy a series of lines because they would have to aim more carefully.

christmas toddler activity

Transfer Activity: Scooping Cranberries

Transferring is a motor skill activity that you can have a lot of fun DIYing with different themes. @BringingUpBabe used cranberries floating in water with a large container and a small-mouthed bottle. If this activity is new to your child, start with transferring into a bowl.

Wrapping Gifts

Your little one can be included in wrapping the gifts that they made and also the gifts that you are giving as a family. Tell them that they will be your special helper and invite them to be your assistant. This is an activity in collaboration where you will both engage in the activity together. Here are some ways to involve your toddler:

  • Offer two or three choices of wrapping paper so that they can partake in the decision of which paper to use for each present. Making choices that have a tangible impact builds their confidence in a genuine way.
  • They can place the gift on the paper while you hold the roll open.
  • Ask them to hold the paper in place while you get a piece of tape. Then they can apply the tape while you hold the paper.
  • They can also use scissors to cut the ribbon while you hold it taut, and then use their finger to pin down the ribbon onto the paper while you tie the bow around it.
  • Then they can help pull the bow tight and move the present to the finished pile.

In this work, it will be important that you manage your own expectations. The gifts will not be wrapped beautifully in the usual way. They will beautiful because your little one helped! Be sure to thank them. It will be even more meaningful if they are present when the recipients open the gifts, and you can thank them again for their contribution!

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