Winter Week 1: December 5-9

Art

Foot Christmas Tree

With this craft you are going to help your child make a Christmas tree with the stamp of their foot, and then they can fingerpaint it to decorate. I find it easiest to brush the green paint onto the bottom of their foot, and then guide it to stamp onto the construction paper. It’s a Christmas tree, so the widest part of the foot should be towards the bottom of the paper, leaving room for the stump if you like. Let the paint dry, go do another activity, play in the snow, read some books… When it is dry your child can use their finger tips to dot Christmas balls onto the tree, add a stump if you want, and maybe Christmas stickers like a star at the top of the tree. Let them use their imagination. It’s ok if it doesn’t end up looking like a perfectly decorated Christmas tree!

Stuff to Have

1 sheet of construction paper

Green non-toxic paint plus other colors to decorate

Paint brush

Christmas stickers, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, color recognition, sensory

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Christmas Tree Sort

Make ahead: 5 to 10 Christmas trees… start with a large piece of construction paper, fold it in half lengthwise and draw half of a Christmas tree the whole length of the paper. Cut out the outer edge making sure to not cut down the middle. When you open the fold you will have your largest tree. Now repeat this making each tree smaller than the last until you have 5-10 Christmas trees for your child to sort by size.

When your trees are ready, demonstrate for your child how to put trees in order of size (especially the first time doing this activity, and for younger children). Then, let them work on putting them in order of smallest to largest. Be patient! Even if they aren’t sorting them they are processing and experimenting with the concept.

Stuff to Have

5-10 Construction paper trees all different sizes

Developing Skills

Early math

Cooking & Baking

Christmas Cookies

One of our favorite things to do at Christmas time is to make all of our favorite delicious Christmas treats. Ours usually include cut out sugar cookies to decorate, gingerbread cookies, peanut butter cookies, and delicious breads and other caramel covered sweets… it seems like we add something new each year. Cooking and Baking is a great way to get kids involved with measuring (science & math), dumping, stirring, rolling, patting (fine motor), baking (science), and decorating (fine motor and art), among many other learning objectives. The kitchen is a fabulous place for learning and is rewarded by a delicious treat! Take this time to make some of your family’s favorite treats and have fun making memories together in the kitchen!

Stuff to Have

Ingredients according to your favorite recipe

Developing Skills

Fine motor, following directions, early science and math

Add on Activities

Large Motor: As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

Music and Rhymes: Have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Books: Head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

Join us on Facebook!  For more tips about play, activity plans, large motor, music and rhymes, and book ideas check out the Real. Meaningful. Family. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/realmeaningfulfamily/

Mostly enjoy your child and happy playing!

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