Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas for Preschoolers - Part 3

Wow. I didn't realize we did so much during these two weeks of Christmas activities. This warrants a THIRD post on the subject. I guess in a way, it makes up for not writing any Christmas posts for the last few years, right? Enjoy and pin away for next Christmas!

Ornaments and stars matching
This was very easy to put together and fun to do for my daughter. She counted the ornaments on the trees and then added the star featuring that number on top of it. Simple and educational. Thank you Erica for this free printable!

Homemade Christmas card/art
I originally saw these as beautiful Christmas cards in a GREAT Red Ted Art article about buttons (loved SO many ideas there) and thought it could easily be turned into a simple gluing activity. Glue sticks are easy to maneuver but liquid glue in a squeezing container can be harder because little hands need to control the pressure and the movement. For this, I pre-draw the lines and bows and greeting. My preschooler simply had to choose buttons, apply liquid glue and press the buttons in. She quickly realized that too much glue would show through the button holes and that too little would mean the buttons wouldn't stick.

Roll a Santa
Big dice (a Learning Resource product) are a big deal here. I originally purchased them for my first grader to do math subtraction and stuff like that but they come in handy for my youngest too. Who doesn't like giant foam dice after all? Donna Glynn at Teachers Pay Teachers made this cute game where each number on the die will help you build  a Santa. My daughter loved it and highly recommends it!

Nativity Craft - Stained Glass Window

I always hesitate when it comes to craft. Don't get me wrong, my kids love crafting BUT, I find it hard to turn crafts into Montessori-type crafts where the child can simply follow a few easy steps just looking at a progression chart. On top of it all, many crafts are not developmentally appropriate for preschoolers (think: you do most of the work or prep). The craft pictured above did require me to cut several openings prior to my daughter doing the work but as for the rest, it can be done by a child. Cutting silk paper squares (or even tearing them up for that matter) and sticking them on a piece of contact paper is doable. My daughter loved the nativity scene and the colorful squares sticking. She did it all herself and was very happy with the result. Thumbs up from Zahavah and kudos to Housing a Forest for sharing this idea! P.S. I found the image on Pinterest!

The result of the craft in our window

Jingle bell bracelets
Using the biggest bells I had and of course some sparkly pipe cleaners, I showed my daughter how to make her own jingly bracelet. It looks easy but it's actually a tight fit. The bells don't have a big hole and the sparkly pipe cleaners bend and have so much "sparkle" that they are thicker than the average pipe cleaner...I wanted to put out another sound matching activity with the bells but until I get more glass containers, I'll wait. It was hard to match the sounds with the plastic containers I thought.

Patterning with Christmas stamps
Ah...Patterning is still completely escaping my daughter. We tried and put it away again. In time!

Gingerbread play dough cookies
Like I said, I skipped making gingerbread cookies this year so this was the closest the kids came to decorating some. I made a batch of brown play dough, provided a small play dough cutter (where in the world are my gingerbread cookie cutters anyway?) and some decorations: beads, buttons, gems, glass pebbles, small Santa hat, etc. This was a great tray that came out many times over the two weeks it was out there.

Pattern Blocks - Christmas Themes
I promised myself I would remember the existence of those this year. I remembered seeing them during the year and had made a note of downloading these from PreKinders when Christmas neared. Aren't they neat? Head over to PreKinders for your own set of Christmas pattern cards. Younger students like to put the tiles (made mine with foam) on top of the picture. Older kids like to make their own next to the picture.

1:1 present and bow
For years I've had a decorative sleigh with "fake" presents in it. This year, the children were happy to finally get their hands on them despite the fact that they are nothing more than wrapped boxes. The activity was quite simple...Each present needed one bow on top! 1:1 correspondence at its best.

Decorating a Christmas tree
Here is something my kids love to do. You'll see many versions of these in Montessori schools as well. I was fortunate enough to buy a mini tree a few years ago back in Denmark and kept it as a family decoration. We usually put tiny glass ornaments on it but if a preschooler is going to decorate this itty bitty thing, it had better be with some unbreakable ornaments. Not wanting to invest in plastic ones, I relied on a big "seller", namely, the sparkly pompoms and sparkly pipe cleaners. My daughter of course reminded me that a star was needed on top of the tree so I'll be handcrafting one for next year I guess! :)

Nutcracker clip cards
I looked and looked for a printable like this but didn't find anything I liked, so I made my own using clipart. I only had tiny clothespins so we used those for this activity. My daughter was not thrilled. The tiny ones are hard to work with and required a lot of patience. Note to self: must buy big Christmas clothespins! :)

Measuring with red rods
I am not sure why but some classic Montessori materials rarely make their way out. I think my kids love thematic activities so much that they forget/don't like the classics anymore so I have to get inventive. For this activity, Zahavah had to measure Christmas presents. Mind you these were straight from under the tree so getting to "touch" her presents was already a big deal to her. She did have fun measuring the length and width of each present. Sometimes she also measured the height. 

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  1. Ah yes patterning...start with only two shapes-after the hand is strong enough,,,the metal insets are a good place to start.

    1. That's what we've been doing actually. I think it's just too early for her to catch onto the patterning concept of what comes next. I'm not worried at all. Every child progresses at their own rhythm! :) Thanks for stopping by Laurie!