These simple preschool Christmas activities can help keep little ones occupied and hopefully out of your hair while you are busy. And best of all, they can help your preschooler practice some essential skills that will help them get ready for formal learning.
I am not even going to try and compete with the super-creative blogs out there that have sparkly end products... I just wanted share some ideas that you can incorporate into your preschooler's day with the aim of building skills while having Christmas- themed fun!
Some of my suggestions have very small objects in them, so please do be aware of choking hazards with your little one(s).
For your convenience, I have linked to products on Amazon (marked #Ad) that are similar to the ones I use myself - I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through these links, which helps support this site. However, you are under no obligation to purchase anything!
Matching and sorting activities can help your child develop visual discrimination and matching skills. The ability to sort according to shape and color can also help to lay the foundation for spatial perception and math skills.
Here are some ideas that can help keep preschool kids busy during the Christmas holidays.
As with all activities involving small objects - take care that your child does not choke on any!
Children usually love making something that will be useful - and friends and family members usually appreciate the handmade gesture. Christmas gift bags and gift tags are inexpensive and easy for kids to make. With a bit of prep and planning, you can do this with a small group of kids as well.
These kid-made gift tags will help your child practice basic scissor cutting to snip the tags to size. Using a single hole punch and craft punch is also good to help strengthen those little hand muscles!
1) Prepare your paper by cutting it into strips along the length of the paper.
I used a ruler's width, which is enough for novice cutters to snip once or twice to get across the width.
If your child is confident enough to cut on the line, you can draw the lines and have your child cut the strips.
2) Have your child snip across the width of the paper.
I marked the strips into thirds, so we got 3 tags out of each strip.
Hint: make your life easier by pre-marking the snipping lines before you cut the long strips!
3) Have your child use a hole punch#Ad to punch a hole for the string to go through
You can make it easier by marking where the hole should go.
Marking the spots where your child should punch will help your child use eye-hand coordination to place the punch over the hole.
4) Have your child use a craft punch#Ad to punch out a shape on the opposite end of the tag.
This is an optional step, as your child can decorate the tag any way they like. But using a craft punch as shown adds a little bit of hand strengthening to the activity.
5) Finish off with some twine or ribbon - your child's simple gift tag is done!
Push string or twine through the small hole and your tag is done!
You can use the shapes that have been punched out as table confetti, or use them to decorate cards and gift bags (see the section below) - have fun!
Simple gift bags that preschool kids can make are always a hit with recipients. I often use lunch sacks as they are cheaper and more readily conform to the size of the gift as a substitute for gift wrap.
If you make tiny dots on the bag to show where the glue or stickers should go, then your child will be using eye-hand coordination to put the glue and stickers in the right place!
Got lots of punched out shapes from making the gift tags above? Use them to decorate the gift bags as shown below!
1) Have your child use a glue stick to place dots of glue where the shapes should go.
If your child is putting glue on the spots that you have marked out, this will help work on eye-hand coordination.
However, it is also good to let your child be creative, so you can also give your child free rein on some bags!
2) Have your child place the shapes on the dots of glue.
The dots of glue should easily be visible on brown paper lunch sacks.
It is a good idea to make all the glue spots first, and then place all the shapes in one go. This helps prevent shapes from sticking to the fingers!
Preschool kids need lots of opportunity to strengthen their hand and finger muscles. So, instead of coloring with crayons, cut lots of small pieces of crepe or tissue paper for your child and have them crumple the paper with their tripod fingers to make little balls.
Then use the balls to decorate a Christmas picture instead of coloring.
You can get a free tree template here, or check out my Fine Motor Christmas Activity Pack, which has over 30 printable pages to help kids work on their fine motor skills, including lots of pictures to decorate!
Using tripod fingers to crumple paper balls
Using paper balls to "color in" a picture
Find out how to make the most of this activity to exercise your child's finger muscles (as well as more detailed instructions on how to cut rolls of crepe/tissue paper to a good size).
Tearing and snipping strips of paper can help strengthen little fingers to get them ready for writing.
If your child's fine motor skills are weak, then coloring can be very tiring or unsatisfying. But making a collage from snipped or torn paper can give a sense of achievement.
And as a bonus, it actually works to improve fine motor skills!
For snipping, show your child how to hold the scissors correctly, and then demonstrate how to snip across a strip of paper as shown.
Some kids take a while to master the grasp-release motion of scissors - take a look at the tips on this page if your child needs some help with this.
Cutting with scissors is such a vital part of preschool development, and lays the foundation for good fine motor skills.
There are some lovely preschool Christmas activities in my nativity-themed Christmas scissor skills pack .
In this pack, you will find a range of activities that are suitable for kids who are just learning to cut, as well as more advanced activities for your child to try next year!
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