Christmas Toddler Activities
Toddler years are so fun, I love watching my daughter discovering things for the very first time. In many ways I feel like I am seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child this year as I engage with my daughter in different Christmas activities.
This year, for each day in December we are doing an activity together that focuses on the Christ child and the true meaning of Christmas.
The activity is as simple as hanging up some Christmas lights, making our advent wreath, setting up the nativity set, or dancing to Christmas music or they can be more elaborate and creative.
There are so many great ideas across the web of fun things to do with toddlers during the Christmas season. My goal for these activities is to really help her to learn about the baby in the manger and to really spend the month of December in celebration of “Jesus’ birthday”.
The following are some of my favorite toddler Christmas ideas. . .
Celebrate Jesus’ Birthday
This year when I was making our advent wreath, I let my daughter helping me with arranging the evergreen and candle. She kept asking me what we were doing and I found myself at a little loss as to how to answer her questions. After all my poor efforts of trying to explain the symbolism of the advent wreath she suddenly got this big smile on her face and exclaimed, “Oh! It’s ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’!”
So simple, but so true. Yes, they’re birthday candles for Jesus!
I am quickly finding that the best way to help a young toddler to grasp the true meaning of Christmas is to really emphasis the fact that it’s Jesus’ birthday.
I came across this one blog where the writer was saying that she had run out of the traditional Christmas wrapping paper so as a last resort she used Birthday Wrapping Paper instead. I think sometimes those little “accidents” open up the doors to greater things we wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. I love the idea of using birthday wrapping paper as a reminder that it really is Jesus’ birthday.
Have a Birthday Party for Jesus
Kids love birthday parties so having a little party for Jesus can be a great way to celebrate Christmas with a toddler.
Here are a few articles that give some really great ideas for hosting a birthday party for Jesus . . .
Nativity Sensory Picture
We could have a lot of fun creating a Nativity Sensory Picture! My daughter loves to use all sorts of different textures and craft supplies in creating pictures . . . We could use popsicle sticks for the stable, grass or straw for the hay, cotton balls for the sheep, glitter glue or sequence for the stars . . . the possibilities are endless!
Popsicle Tri-Fold Christmas Scene
When I saw this Popsicle Tri-Fold Christmas Scene on DaniellesPlace.com my mind started going wild with the possibilities of turning this into a toddler craft. It could be very simple to assemble, especially if we use already made printable nativity characters. Any of these would work well . . .
(By the way DaniellesPlace.com has LOTS of other toddler Christmas craft ideas!)
Homemade Christmas Cards
We could make something similar to the “Tri-Fold Christmas Scene” above by making a Tri-Fold Christmas card!
Make it even easier by using Nativity Scene Stickers.
You can find even more homemade card ideas here . . .
Nativity “Hide and Seek” Game
On the site notimeforflashcards.com they share the idea of turning the nativity set into a little scavenger hunt with clues to solve. We might do that as our kids get older, but for now I think it will be sufficient just to have a little game of hide and seek or “I spy” with the nativity figures. Would be a great way to give the kids a hands-on experience and to have a time to talk about each character in the Christmas story.
Popsicle Stick Nativity Craft
This is a cute little craft for kids, a simple nativity scene made out of popsicle sticks!
Cut and Glue Holiday Tree
This simple Cut and Glue Holiday Tree is just about the right level for a toddler craft and actually looks really cute when completed. You could even turn this craft into Christmas cards for grandparents, if you wanted.
Button Christmas Tree
This Button Tree Project was not originally intended for toddlers, but I thought it could be turned into a great motor skill practice activity. If I fastened the buttons on the card and then let her wrap the string around the buttons. It could be fun for her!
Christmas Coloring Book Pages
There are lots of different free Christmas coloring book pages available online. Some of my favorites are found at the following sites:
To make it even more fun, I have in mind that once my daughter starts to tire of coloring I could pull out some sequence, glitter glue, stickers and other craft supplies to further decorate her pictures.
Toilet Paper Roll Nativity
I have been collecting all our empty toilet paper rolls for the last while,
having in mind that I would love to make a Toilet Paper Roll Nativity Scene
with my daughter this year.
The Christmas Angel
Debs from LearnWithPlayAtHome.com shared this great idea of helping your little ones discover the joy of giving by making Christmas cookies and handing them out at retirement and nursing homes. You could also do it at a local hospital or just with neighbors in the community. Such a great idea!
Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes
This is such a simple craft but just perfect for a toddler! I was thinking that if we made enough of them we could go and secretly “candy cane” someone’s yard with them or use them to decorate gifts to give neighbors and friends.
And yes, even Candy Canes lead to Christ . . .
Back in 1670 a choir master in Germany had the idea to give young children a hard candy stick to suck on during the Christmas service in an effort to keep them quiet. Later in 1847 a candy maker in Indiana decided to give the white stick a little “twist”. Legend has it that he wanted the candy to represent Jesus, so he added a few special touches to the candy.
*The white represents the forgiveness of our sins and our perfect & pure Savior
* The red symbolizes our precious Jesus’s blood that was shed for us
* The shape is both a shepherd’s staff (our Good Shepherd) and a “J” for Jesus
* The peppermint is meant to remind us of the new, fresh life we have in Jesus
* The hardness of the candy depicts how Christ is the solid Rock of our salvation.
You can share with your child the significance of the Candy Cane while you’re putting together this craft.
You may also be interested in this book, “The Legend of the Candy Cane”
Or this short, Christ-centered Candy Cane Poem
Candy Cane Hunt
Here’s a Christmas version of the very popular Easer Egg Hunts, it’s a Candy Cand Hunt! Hide lots of candy canes around the yard (or in the house, if it’s too cold outside) and send your kids off to hunt for them!
When they’re done finding them all you might consider getting the kids to help you Cane a Neighbor’s House. Or you could put them all in your car and take on the Candy Cane Challenge!
Printable Advent Calendar
Here’s a Free DIY Advent Calendar that would be great for toddlers to color and play with during advent devotions! Add a new piece every day leading up to Christmas.
Bible Verse Advent Cards
If you’re looking for a daily advent activity for very little ones (with very short attention spans) you may interested in these Printable Bible Verse Advent Cards.
Shepherd on the Search
Shepherd on the Search is a great alternative to “Elf on the Shelf”. Each day you hide the shepherd doll somewhere new for the kids to find. Also comes with a cute little book to read that keeps Christ at the center of this activity.
If you’ve got little ones who have a hard time leaving the Christmas tree alone, you might consider making a Felt Toddler Tree. A smaller, mini tree that they can decorate (and redecorate) to their hearts content.
Underneath the tree you can put Christmas books that are all individually wrapped. Each night the children can pick on present to open and that book gets read as a family that night (see below).
Popsicle Stick Tree Ornaments
These little Popsicle Stick Tree Ornaments are a cute little craft for kids, it really simple and you can use all sorts of textures: pipe cleaners, felt, bells, sequence, pom-poms, glitter glue, etc. A perfect craft for toddlers! I also like this similar Popsicle Tree with Buttons on it.
25 Wrapped Books
For this holiday tradition you take 25 Christmas books (or a mixture of books and DVD’s) and you wrap each one individually. Then in the evenings, on each of the days leading up to Christmas, you get to open one of these presents and either read the book or watch the movie that evening.
Here are a few listings of great holiday books . . .
Graham Cracker (or Gingerbread) Nativity
Instead of constructing a gingerbread house this year, how about creating a Gingerbread Nativity Scene instead? For toddlers you can make it simpler by using graham crackers instead of the gingerbread!
Christmas Play Acting
Young kids love playing dress up or role playing. You could supply them with some simple Christmas costumes or use these Printable Nativity Masks to inspire their imagination and encourage them to play out the Christmas story.
Christmas Bells Magnet Game
Young kids don’t need much to inspire fun and play. This simple Christmas Bells Game is perfect for the toddler discovery years. What toddler doesn’t enjoy playing with magnets. And if you add a little color sorting challenge to their play time they could be entertained for hours (well, at least for more than 2 minutes!)
The supplies are easy . . . all you need are Metal Christmas Colored Bells and Magnet Wands.
YouTube Christmas Bash
There are so many cute Christmas movies on YouTube. Here are some of our favorites for toddlers . . .
Nativity Set Toys
What better way to really engage in the Christmas story than to play with the characters of the Christmas story. I find that with my daughter, when we read the Christmas story together, she then likes to go off on her own and reenact the story in her play times.
Of course, we’re very fortunate in that our nativity is solid mahogany wood and can hold up to her playing with the pieces (with a little supervision, of course). But if you have a more delicate nativity set (or just don’t want your child playing with the decorations) there are plenty of other nativity toy options. Here are some really nice ones . . .
Find more great ideas on my Christmas Pinterest Board!