Sure, there's lots to do in the weeks leading up to Christmastime. From baking to shopping to wrapping, it seems like every minute is filled with something related to the holiday. To increase your holiday fun, make sure you include your preschooler in any Christmas activities. Not only will she feel like she's part of the action, it will help build her excitement and enthusiasm as December 25 approaches.
Inviting your little one to join you in the kitchen accomplishes many things. First off, you get some special bonding time, just you and your preschooler. Second, cooking teaches kids many important life skills including math, following directions, order and logic and more. Finally, when the fun is done, you get to nosh on some delicious treats!
It's easy to forget the reason for the season amid all the hubbub that December brings. And for a small child, let's face it, their main focus is going to be on the presents they get. That's OK to a point, but it's important to explain to your child how the holiday originated and why it is so special. Depending on the age of your child it can start of simply and become more complex each year. Attend church services every week and explain the different parts of the mass. Talk about Jesus and his birth and how the Three Wise Men came to visit him. If you need assistance, your local priest or clergyman will undoubtedly be more than happy to help.
Embrace the sweetness of the Christmas season by either making a gingerbread house or simply decorate them. There are lots of pre-made kits you can buy (compare prices) or, if you are feeling particularly crafty, you can make your own from scratch. To really involve your preschooler in the process, bring her to the grocery store with you while you are shopping for supplies.
Grab some friends and family and warm up your vocal cords -- December is Christmas caroling time! A fun activity for groups of all ages and sizes, Christmas caroling can be done outside throughout your neighborhood or indoors at a local nursing home or hospital. To make sure all goes smoothly, plan out your route and song list ahead of time. Explain to your preschooler what is going to happen and go over some basic rules -- never knock on a door alone and never enter the house of person they don't know. Then it's all about the "fa la la la la"s!
Looking for a way to give your Christmas tree that special, homespun look? Try adding strands of popcorn garland. The best part is that your preschooler can get involved too, even if you are nervous about handing over a needle (probably a job better for kids ages five and up). To let your preschooler get in on the act, you push the pin through the corn and then let her pull it through. She can also hand you the corn (and if you choose, berries) and then put the finished strings on the tree when you are finished.
The tedious task of writing, addressing and mailing Christmas cards can be a lot more fun if you include your preschooler. Make a list of who she'd like to send to -- families, friends and neighbors and then let her get to it. The cards can be any design you like, from simple crayon creations to more elaborate designs that include cut paper, glitter and stickers. When you are finished, play mailman and deliver close greetings in person and take the rest to the post office.
Give your tree the touch only a child can give it with personalized decorations courtesy of your preschooler. You can buy Christmas balls and let her decorate them with markers or tempura paint or make your own ornaments either with a kit of some kind or using these great ideas from About Family Crafts site. No matter which method you decide on, be sure to date the ornaments so you can look back on them every year.
Paper bag puppets are fun any time of year. At Christmastime, have your preschooler make ones inspired by the holiday, from Santa Claus himself, to elves to each and every reindeer. Keep supplies like glue, pom pom balls, googly eyes, glitter, yarn, pipe cleaners and stickers on hand so your characters can be varied and fun. After the puppets are made, let your child stage a holiday puppet show for family and friends.
Get your house and windows decorated while your little one practices her scissor skills by creating paper snowflakes. While there is a slight learning curve in the beginning, both you and your preschooler can experiment with shape and size by varying the way you fold the paper and the different cuts that you make. Make a bunch and then hang on the windows for a blizzard that doesn't require any shoveling.
When your little one needs some downtime (and she will) set him up with some homemade play dough that you've dyed green and red. Encourage her to make some familiar Christmas shapes such as a tree, cookies, Santa and more. Take photos of her creations or let it air dry so you can hold on to it for a while. (Note: check specific recipes to make sure it is OK to let dry and that the dough will not go bad and spoil.)