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20 Holiday Activities for Toddlers

A lot of our family traditions are great for kids. not toddlers. Well, maybe just MY toddler. She's a whirlwind of energy and has the attention span of a gnat. So I've been racking my brain of activities that she'd like to do for the holidays. Here it is!

She can't quite use scissors yet, but she loves crumpling up the scraps and helping me put them up on the windows.

Bring out the white, red and green playdough and sing "once there was a snowman" and make christmas themed shapes.

I remember making these in kindergarten, but they are a great family project. Older kids can actually make shapes, the younger ones will make beautiful smooshy circles that smell good for years.

4.Christmas Cards

Normally I'd do these myself. My perfectionist crafty side has to take a back seat and let her scribble all over them. Grandmas love to see their little doodles all over in the inside.

This is less an activity to do WITH a toddler, more for a surprise for them! You use a needle to string cotton balls onto fishing line and hang them up in a window or doorway for a fun surprise. It's quick enough to do during a nap time too.

There's lots of ways to do this, fill a sock with batting,  throw those leftover cotton balls, or heck, bring snow inside if you're feeling brave! There are plenty of tutorials to make your own snowballs, I've linked to on above.

7. Santa's Sleigh
Make a sleigh out of a cardboard box or even just line up some couch cushions and practice for the famous ride

8. Dance to Christmas Music
Does this need explanation? Just boogey down to Jingle Bell Rock!

9. Write letters to Santa!

Toddlers can practice their letters, school aged kids can work on spelling words.

10. Act out the Nativity Story

Use puppets, paper dolls or your own child safe nativity scenes. I love Melissa and Doug's wooden set we got this year. You can read the actual scripture or use a book from the library.

11. Go Caroling!
What little kid doesn't like songs? Go to friend's and family's houses and sing some favorite christmas songs! Maybe bring your mp3 player if you don't have a strong singing voice.

12. Drive/Walk around at look at your neighborhood christmas lights!
Every neighborhood has the one house that goes all out and makes a spectacular display. Our old town had information on the town website for the best displays and the decorating contest.

There are tons of ways to make ornaments, out of salt dough, popsicle sticks, foam kits from stores. My favorite is the pipe cleaner candy canes. You can makes these as fancy or as simple as you'd like.

Wrap your presents in plain brown paper and let your kids decorate the packages with stickers, ribbon and markers. Remember, keep fragile gifts away from the little ones.

15. Watch Holiday TV specials.
Rudolph, Santa, Frosty and the rest of them- Most of the classic holiday movies are less than an hour long and chock full of songs, perfect for a little one's attention span. Put one on while you cook dinner or do your own grown up craft project.

There's lots of ways to make this fun for kids. Christmas opens up opportunities for you to let kids play with toys in the photos, or snow, or heck- put them in a pretty wrapped box with bows on their heads. Why do stiffed posed shots when you can just let them romp out in the snow!

17. Christmas/Holiday Parade
So, this post may be late for some towns, but why not hold your own neighborhood sidewalk parade?

18. Do something good.

Even the littlest of kids can help out others this time of year. Whether they help you bake cookies, or write letters to soldiers overseas. Instilling the desire and love of helping people is very important, specially during the holiday season. I feel that it keeps the "commercialization" of christmas to a minimum.

19. Tell Family Christmas Stories.
Chucky Sue loves it when I tell stories about mommy and daddy. I tell her about all the fun things my mom did with me and my sister when we were little- like making snow mazes and a giant COLORED snow turtle (yeah, my mom was cool.)Every once in a while Jake chimes in with his own memories.

20. Make Cookies.
I contemplated not including this one, Chucky Sue doesn't really help when it comes to cooking. She either eats or makes such a mess that it's not fun for either of us. However, Nestle makes those awesome pull and bake cookie dough sheets. Those are perfect for her to place and count on the cookie sheet. I save the from scratch cookies for my own projects.

So there you have it, 20 free or cheap things to do with an almost two year old around the holidays. I hope you got some good ideas and will share them with me!

Come back tomorrow for our Budget Series update!


miss jen says:
at: Dec 7, 2011, 11:58:00 AM said...

I've never been able to make such beautiful paper snowflakes. I will be doing the cinnamon/applesauce ornaments w/Sofie & Anna this week! Thanks for the pictures & ideas. Love Ya!