Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

What is it about jingle bells that we love so much? No matter what activity we use with them, it is a hit. It’s hard for me to say which activity they’ve loved most, because making and using our jingle bell sticks was a lot of fun. And sorting jingle bells by color was popular, too. But when we put this jingle bell magnetic sensory bin in our classroom, it got immediate attention.

Since this was the week we were also exploring magnets, we added other items to the bin as well. Some were attracted to the magnets, some were not. A bit of science at the sensory table!

 

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

What we used:



Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

It’s always fun to see what a magnetic wand picks up. Moving it through the rice allowed some buried treasures to be found.

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

Using a variety of sizes made the bells fun to hold, too. (And then wonder why they didn’t make as much noise when the hands were wrapped around them.)

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

 

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

 

We also added small boxes and containers to place the small items in. Always a favorite with this age group!

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

Some ideas for the miscellaneous items:

  • Puff balls
  • Metal lids from containers
  • Metal rings
  • Juice can lids

You might notice those metal rectangular pieces. When I worked in retail years ago, they changed their signs’ frames and asked if my preschool could use them. They are truly the best magnetic pieces ever! The bottoms of each one have a magnetic strip that was used to keep the signs on the racks. Our toddlers and preschoolers create some amazing buildings with them!

 

 

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

And that’s it! Super easy, right?

 

Make sure to follow our Christmas pin board for hundreds of other fun activities!

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

 

Related posts:

12 Christmas Dramatic Play Activities      16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers     christmas playdough activities


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

We  love using bells year round, but especially before Christmas, when we actually devote a week to it. We have bells at the science center, bells in the sensory bin, even bells in the block corner with Magnatiles! So when I saw the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell, I knew it would be a great way to add some literacy to this theme. I thought of a way to make easy Christmas jingle bell sticks that we could use while reading the book.

Fun, right?

I’m not sure what the preschoolers loved more: making the jingle bell sticks or ringing them while reading the story. What a great addition this was to our jingle bells theme!

Click here to pin!

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

What we used:

First, paint the sticks. We gave our preschoolers a choice of red and/or green.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

Let them dry.

Then, attach the jingle bells.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

I asked each preschooler to choose 4 jingle bells.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

Then it was time to thread the bells onto the chenille stems. This can be a bit of a challenge, so I was there if some help was needed.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

After the bells were threaded on the chenille stem, it was time to secure them to the stick.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

We taped one end of the chenille stem to the stick and then wrapped it around several times.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

You can secure the end of the chenille stem with more tape, or wrap it around itself a few times.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

How we used these jingle bell sticks:

As we read the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell, we rang our bells every time I read the words “swallowed a bell”. This is a great way work on comprehension skills and figuring out what comes next.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

The jingle bell sticks can then be taken home to enjoy with family while singing Christmas carols.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

More Christmas ideas for young children:

 

Easy Christmas Ideas for Little Kids     Christmas Painting Activities      Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

Last year, when The Imagination Tree first shared their Kindness Elves idea, I was intrigued. During a season that can be focused on asking for gifts, I love the idea of instead focusing on what we can give others. So this year when I heard that the the Kindness Elves were going to be an actual product that could be purchased, I placed my order. Using the Kindness Elves with preschoolers is going to be a new tradition in our classroom.

Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

First, a bit of background about the Kindness Elves. The idea was created by Anna from The Imagination Tree. She wanted her family to focus on the sense of gratitude for what they have and the kindness towards others. She came up with the idea of using the Kindness Elves to share kindness and gratitude.

And I am beyond thrilled that she put together her own elves to sell – elves with their own house that was designed by a real architect!

Today our Kindness Elves arrived on my front porch. I could not wait to open the box! And when I did, I found the elves peeking out of their house’s window.

Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

I was beyond impressed with the quality of these adorable dolls! And their house has a working mailbox!

Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

I also purchased the accessory kit. It is packed full of amazing extra goodies to use with the Kindness Elves, such as 50 acts of kindness cards.

Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

My plan is to place one of these cards somewhere in our classroom each morning with the elves. What a great lesson on doing something for others!

Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

The accessory pack also comes with mini postcards for the Kindness Elves to write to the children. These will be on our preschoolers’ sitting stools when they arrive each morning.

Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

There is also a kindness resource pack for teachers. You will see all of this when you click on the link later in this post.

Here’s a video that will give you a better idea of how cute they are:

 

Good news! Because I love these Kindness Elves so much, I’ve decided to help sell them by being an affiliate! Here’s your link to order or get more information: http://bit.ly/2gPQU9J



 Using the Kindness Elves with Preschoolers

 

Related posts:

12 Christmas Dramatic Play Activities      16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers     christmas playdough activities

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




21 Fun Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Inside: 21 fun Christmas sensory play activities that toddlers and preschoolers will love!

I just love this time of year. I always have! There is such a wide variety of Christmas sensory play activities for toddlers and preschoolers!

While my co-teacher and I were planning our December curriculum, I was thinking about how we could add some sensory in more areas than just the sensory bin. You caught a glimpse of this when I shared my collection of 5 senses activities.

So, I went to my Pinterest page. (Yeah, I’m just a little bit addicted. Okay, a lot.) I thought I would share with you some fun ideas that I think all preschoolers would love this month!

 

A Collection of Christmas Sensory Play Activities

 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

21 Fun Christmas Sensory Play Activities

 

1. Add silver and gold watercolors instead of food coloring to make festive silver and gold play dough. (Craftulate)

2. Involve your sense of touch and hearing by painting with jingle bells.

3. Experience different textures while creating paper mache Christmas ornaments for the tree. (Buggy and Buddy)

4. Use painters tape to make a sticky sensory tree. (How Wee Learn)

5. Dye rice red and green and add some peppermint extract to make a fun Christmas sensory bin. (Stir the Wonder)

Sensory Play Activities Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds 1

 

6. The hands will love the feeling of  Santa slime! (Growing a Jeweled Rose)

8. The room will smell so yummy when you make a batch of gingerbread play dough.

9. Strengthen fine motor skills with this peppermint writing activity. (Kids Play Box)

10. The room will sound like Christmas after making jingle bell noise makers. (Meri Cherry)

11. Involve the nose by making Christmas sensory cards. (A Little Learning for Two)

 

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

12. If you have bubble wrap available, make some sensory trees. (Mummy Musings and Mayhem)

13. Gold food coloring and glitter make a sensory delight for the hands and eyes. (The Imagination Tree)

14. Learn with Play at Home has a shivery snow sensory bin that truly is cold!

15. Read the book “The Sweet Snow of Christmas” and fill a tray of items that smell like Christmas. (Teach Preschool)

16.  Delight your sense of touch by making a foam geoboard tree. (Fun-a-Day)

 

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

17. Create a Christmas sensory book for younger children. (Baby Centre)

18. Add some science to your sensory play with a melting Christmas tree baking soda activity. (Little Bins for Little Hands)

19. Make some Santa binoculars so you can enjoy the sights of Christmas! (Meri Cherry)

20. Put together jingle boxes for some fun Christmas listening games. (Nurturestore)

21. Explore peppermint scented paint with your fingers. (Growing Hands-On Kids)

 

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Ready for some more Christmas Play ideas?

Simple Fine Motor Snowflakes

Felt Button Tree Ornaments

Over 700 Christmas Ideas for Little Kids!

Christmas Sensory Play Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


 

I’m so excited to be selling  these darling kindness elves!


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Easy Gingerbread Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Inside: You will love this easy gingerbread sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers! Super easy to put together, lots of fun to play with. Win, win!

I was minding my own business, sipping hot coffee while wasting time on Amazon, when I saw them.

Boxes with lids, shaped like gingerbread people.

Without hesitation, I put them in my cart and clicked ORDER.

My mind starting spinning with the possibilities. What about painting them and using them as gift boxes? Or, using them as a 1:1 correspondence activity? They’d be a great color sorting activity if I painted each one a different color. They’d be loved in the block corner, too!

After allowing my mind to come up with lots of possibilities, I knew just how I wanted to use them.

In the sensory bin!

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Easy Gingerbread Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

So, here are the little darlings that caught my eye on Amazon.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

Gingerbread boy shaped paper mache boxes. 

I fell in love immediately. Our preschoolers love any containers with lids. But gingerbread men? I had never seen these before. I got all giddy, just like when I found the pumpkin jingle bells. Fellow teachers, please tell me I’m not alone here! And so then I knew we needed little gingerbread men bendables to put inside the gingerbread containers. And we already had a gingerbread house.

My mind was spinning, I tell you! When my purchases arrived over Thanksgiving break, I was in the kitchen dying rice red and green. While the turkey was defrosting and I needed to get the table cleared and set for guests. Just being real here!

But, I did have some restraint. I did NOT go into my classroom during the break. I actually waited until that Monday morning before the preschoolers arrived.

 

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

I got everything set up before the classroom door opened. We read our first gingerbread book before opening centers time.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

When it was centers time, this Christmas gingerbread sensory play activity was an immediate hit. First they wanted to fill the gingerbread house with rice.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

And then they started playing with the little gingerbread figures.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

They decided to see if they could fit all 12 in one of the gingerbread man boxes. They counted them as they placed them inside.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

They couldn’t all fit inside, so then they placed one gingerbread boy figure inside each cardboard gingerbread boy box. 1:1 correspondence!

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

Then I noticed the preschoolers lining them up along the edge of the sensory bin. More counting and figuring out that they all weren’t completely the same.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

 

You can see a video of our preschoolers actually playing with this on Instagram.

Playing with our gingerbread sensory bin. . . #childhoodunplugged #earlychildhood #earlylearning #ece #preschool #preschoolteacher #blogcreate #kbn #iteachtoo #instakids #instateacher

A post shared by Teacher Sheryl Cooper (@teaching2and3yearolds) on

We will expand on this activity with some gingerbread man cookie baking tomorrow!

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

Related posts:

12 Christmas Dramatic Play Activities      16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers     christmas playdough activities


Gingerbread Theme Activities

We love starting the Christmas season with a gingerbread theme! There are so many fun activities out there, just perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

See them all here: Gingerbread Theme Activities

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




12 Fun Christmas Dramatic Play Activities

Christmas is a fun time for pretend play, isn’t it? There are so many great ideas out there for your classroom dramatic play center or in your family’s home. If you are looking for ideas, you will love this collection of 12 fun Christmas dramatic play activities!

I recently wrote about the benefits of dramatic play over on Melissa & Doug’s blog. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know how passionate I am about children learning through play. You will find those benefits in this Christmas dramatic play collection, too!

12 Christmas Dramatic Play Activities

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

12 Fun Christmas Dramatic Play Activities

 

Toy Store: Put together a toy store where customers can shop for Christmas (with free printables). (Pre-Kinders)

Cookie Shop: Bake and sell pretend cookies at this fun cookie shop! (Play to Learn Preschool)

Hot Cocoa Stand: Offer pretend hot cocoa in your dramatic play area. (Pre-K Pages)

Gingerbread Dramatic Play: A fun way to act out the story! (Fun-a-Day)

Christmas Pretend Play

Christmas Post Office Writing Center: Write letters and cards and send them in the pretend  mail. (The Imagination Tree)

Holiday Gift Wrap Station: Pretend to shop for family and friends. (Pre-K Pages)

Pretend Cinnamon Roll Shop: Have fun wrapping boxes and adding stickers. (Childhood 101)

Snow Cave: Gather some sheets and make a cave during the Christmas season. (Sun Hats and Wellie Boots)

Christmas Pretend Play

Santa and Rudolph Puppets: Easy to make using wooden spoons. (Messy Little Monster)

Reindeer Antlers: Download the free printable and make your own antlers. (Kids Craft Room)

Santa’s Wrapping Station: Create a small space for children to wrap small objects. (Childhood 101)

We Play Nativity Scene: How to retell the Nativity scene using a small world pieces or a puppet stand. (Planet Smarty Pants)

christmas dramatic play


 

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Christmas pin board! Over 1,000 Christmas ideas for toddlers and preschoolers, for the classroom, childcare center and home!

Related posts:

16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers      christmas playdough activities     Christmas fine motor fun with jingle bells


 12 Christmas Dramatic Play Activities

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers

Science activities are a wonderful way to engage preschoolers in active, hands-on learning. If you’ve done science experiments with young children, you’ve most likely seen the look of wonder in their eyes as the activity unfolds. Because my goal is to add more science to our daily schedule, I am always searching for great ideas. For the month of December, I found 16 Christmas science activities for preschoolers that are just plain fun!

16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers

 

Christmas Glitter Eruptions: Set out to catch the fizz with this fun sparkling activity! (Little Bins for Little Hands)

Peppermint Oobleck: Put a little twist on a classic science experiment with this 2 ingredient Christmas science experiment. (Little Bins for Little Hands)

Borax Crystal Ornaments: Bend pipe cleaners into holiday shapes for this fun crystal experiment. (The Craft Train)

Grow Your Own Christmas Tree: Have you ever grown your own Christmas tree using a sponge? You’ve got to try this! (Gift of Curiosity)

christmas science for preschoolers

 

Engineering an Ice Lantern: This is a fantastic opportunity to see what happens when water changes states. (STEAM Powered Family)

Minty Reindeer Toothpaste: A Christmas spin on the popular elephant toothpaste, and so much fun! (Playdough to Plato)

Dissolving Candy Canes Science: Watch how candy canes dissolve at different times depending on the type of liquid. (Lemon Lime Adventures)

Dancing Jingle Bells: What happens when you add bells to carbonated liquid? (Modern Preschool)

christmas science for preschoolers

Christmas Fizzy Painting: Learn what happens when you combine baking soda and paint! (Gift of Curiosity)

Grinch Slime: Make this green sparkling slime and make it stretch and grow, just like the Grinch’s heart. (Schooling a Monkey)

Jingle Bell Train Coupling Activity: What happens when you use jingle bells as coupling chains for your toy trains? (Play Trains)

Salt Crystal Tree Ornament: A fun crystal science activity that works well for younger children. (Go Science Girls)

christmas science for preschoolers

Soft Circuit Christmas Ornament: Use a LED pin light to put at the top of your felt Christmas tree ornament. (Teach Beside Me)

Bubbly Christmas Lights: Use a mixture that includes Alka Seltzer to create cheery bubbly Christmas lights. (Schooling a Monkey)

Christmas Bell Game:  Learn about magnetism  while attracting colored jingle bells. Can even add some counting! (Teach Beside Me)

How to Bend a Candy Cane: Why can you only bend a candy cane when it’s warm? (Preschool Powol Packets)

Christmas Light Science: Separate a string of Christmas lights and turn them on by touching the wires to a battery. (Pre-Kinders)

christmas science for preschoolers


16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers

More Christmas ideas for young children:

 

Easy Christmas Ideas for Little Kids     Christmas Painting Activities      Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




20 Easy Gifts Made by Kids

Every December our preschoolers make Christmas gifts for their families. When thinking about kid made Christmas gifts, we want them to be something that will either be a keepsake item, or something that the receiver will enjoy using now. When I did a search on Pinterest for kid made gifts, many that I found were too complicated for little hands. As I searched deeper, I found 20 easy gifts made by kids that are appropriate for this age group. Yes, they do need adult assistance, but they all allow the children to add their touches as well. The more the child can do, the better. (This is easier for older preschoolers, of course.)

 

20 cute and easy gifts made by kids

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

20 Easy Gifts Made by Kids

 

1. Decorate a picture frame ornament and insert a photo of the child. It will be treasured by the receiver for years and years.

2. How about a little pampering gift for an aunt or grandma? These yummy smelling bath salts are so easy for kids to make. Even toddlers can mix it up easily!

3. For moms, aunts, and grandmas, how about a handprint apron? (Simply Kierste)

4. If Dad loves baseball, he will love this “my heart belongs to Dad” baseball plate. (All Fired Up)

Kid Made Christmas Gifts

5. Grandparents love keepsakes! This handprint poem can be framed and enjoyed for many years. (Living Montessori Now)

6. Do you know someone who loves birds? These shaped bird feeders are easy for little fingers to make, and hang nicely outdoors for our feathered friends. (Messy Little Monster)

7. Instead of just sending photos to someone special this Christmas, add a kid-made photo holder with them. (Teach Me Mommy)

8. Let your toddler put stickers on baubles for a pretty Christmas ornament gift. (My Bored Toddler)

Kid Made Christmas Gifts

9. Show the love with these fingerprint heart ornaments. (Mum in the Mad House)

10. Sharpies and white ceramic tile make a nice coaster gift. (Paging Fun Mums)

11. Kids love to make jewelry for special people! How about letting them make salt dough necklaces and bracelets? (One Perfect Day)

12. An office is not complete without a painted rock paperweight, especially when made by a little special person. (Happy Hooligans)

Kid Made Christmas Gifts

 

13. Draw on fabric and secure in an embroidery hoop for a special wall art piece. (Mama Papa Bubba)

14. Adults can help kids make glycerin soap to wrap as Christmas gifts. (Gift of Curiosity)

15. Mom or Grandma would love a ring dish made by a child! (Mama Papa Bubba)

16. Craft sticks glued around a can make a nice personalized pen holder. (My Little Bookcase)

Kid Made Christmas Gifts

17. Recycle broken crayon pieces to make colorful melted crayon rocks. (Red Ted Art)

18. Do you know someone who loves their garden? Make a wind chime from an old gardening pot! (Sugar Spice and Glitter)

19. Remember Shrinky Dinks? Kids can make cute keyrings with them! (Messy Little Monster)

20.  These DIY hand painted votives are so easy that even toddlers can make them. (Rhythms of Play)

20 handmade gifts kids can make

Make sure to wrap your child’s gift in a handmade gift bag!

Christmas Wrap Made by Kids

 

What have been your favorite kid made gifts? Please share in the comments section!

20 cute and easy gifts made by kids

More ideas for young children:

Easy Christmas Ideas for Little Kids     Christmas Painting Activities      Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




How to Teach Kindness to Children During the Christmas Season

Inside: Learn how to teach kindness to children during the Christmas season with The Kindness Elves! Our world needs kindness now more than ever. Let’s build a good foundation for our kids!

The Christmas season can be such a “I want that” time of year.

It seems like as soon as we’ve said goodbye to our last trick-or-treater, the holiday ads begin. For real. Don’t get me started on the lit Christmas trees adorning our department stores before we even carve our pumpkins.

Imagine how young children interpret all of this. It really can feel like a season of “gimme this, gimme that”.

I have good news for you! While we cannot control how the media and retail companies handle the holidays, we can control what we choose to focus on in our homes and classrooms.

And last year I made a change in my classroom that was amazing.

So amazing that I kept the tradition going long after we packed up our Christmas ornaments.

I added kindness to our preschool curriculum.

How to Teach Kindness to Children During the Christmas Season

Disclosure: I was given some of The Kindness Elves pieces as part of my partnership with the program. Affiliate links are provided for your convenience.

How to Teach Kindness to Children During the Christmas Season

Let me back up a bit. I have always been a firm believer in focusing on kindness and empathy in our toddler and preschool classrooms. We work hard on modeling how to be kind to one another, how to help a friend who is sad or who got injured during school time. It doesn’t take long before being empathetic comes naturally to them.

Last week, for example, one of our 2 year olds fell while we were running outside. A second later 2 little friends were at his side, asking him if he was okay.

It touched my heart, and I knew that our hard work was paying off. All those moments we had spent modeling how to be kind to our friends was working.

And it does every single year.

So, when Anna from The Imagination Tree asked if I wanted to be a partner in a new idea, an idea that would reinforce focusing on others during the Christmas season, I jumped at the invitation. How could I not? It would be the perfect addition to what we were already teaching in our classroom.

How to Teach Kindness to Children During the Christmas Season

Starting the Tradition

Anna has made it super easy for parents, grandparents and teachers to begin the tradition of using The Kindness Elves with young children.

  • You can buy 14 different color options and combinations – multi-cultural, too!
  • There is a beautifully illustrated, hardback story book to accompany the tradition.
  • An amazing accessories pack is available to make it even easier to add The Kindness Elves tradition to your home or classroom.
  • You can now buy bundle sets which offer a nice discount on the total price.

How to Teach Kindness to Children During the Christmas Season

A Great Alternative to the Elf on the Shelf

While the traditional Elf on the Shelf loves to be naughty, the Kindness Elves love to spread love to everyone they meet and encourage children to do the same.

And as we all know, the world truly needs kindness now more than ever.

Using The Kindness Elves in the Classroom

It was super easy for us to add kindness to our curriculum with the help of The Kindness Elves. I turned one of our shelves into a Kindness Area. I displayed The Kindness Elves on the shelves along with their home, some pieces from the accessory pack, and a Kindness Mail Box that I simply made out of a shoe box.

Creating a Fun Camp Kindness with the Kindness Elves

I also painted a heart on a small stone that we would pass around during circle time, sharing nice words about our friends.

You can read more about that here: How to Create a Kindness Classroom

 

Spreading Kindness Throughout the Year

While originally I thought we’d only use The Kindness Elves during the Christmas season, they ended up being a part of our classroom the rest of the year. After all, kindness in ongoing, right?

Once school was finished, I let our preschool families know that they could continue the kindness tradition during the summer break with Camp Kindness.

Adding kindness to our home or our preschool curriculum is important now more than ever. By providing activities that teach our young children how to spread kindness, we are building a platform that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Kind is the new cool.

Are you ready to join the kindness challenge with your children?

I strongly suggest you order your Kindness Elves early so that you allow enough time for them to be shipped from the UK. You can join the “12 Days of Kindness” on December 13th, or you can begin on December 1st. (Since we have no school for 2 weeks during our winter break, I have chosen to start our Christmas kindness lessons on December 1st.)

Creating a Fun Camp Kindness for Preschoolers

How to Order The Kindness Elves and Accessories

Here is your link to take a peek at the different Kindness Elves and accessories and place an order: thekindnesselves.com

Once you start using The Kindness Elves, make sure to leave a comment letting us know how it’s going. You can also share photos on my Facebook page!

Watch it on my You Tube Channel:

 

How to Teach Kindness to Children During the Christmas Season

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




27 Christmas Playdough Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We love using playdough for strengthing fine motor skills! It’s a staple in our toddler and preschool classrooms. Playdough also invites creativity. It’s a fun open-ended activity where there are no specific outcomes. During the Christmas season, we love to add some snowman building, making gingerbread ornaments, and building trees. But wow, there are so many more great ideas out there. And I found them in this collection of 27 Christmas playdough activities for toddlers and preschoolers.

Yep, 27. You are sure to find a few ideas here to try in your classroom, childcare center, homeschool, even during a play date.

Included in this collection you will find playdough recipes, free printables, hands-on activities, and more. Ready for some Christmas playdough fun?

christmas playdough activities

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

27 Christmas Playdough Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Let’s Build a Snowman Activity: Provide white fluffy playdough and accessories to make an indoor snowman!

Gingerbread Dough Ornament: Add gingerbread boy cookie cutters and make ornaments!

Build a Christmas Tree from Playdough: This STEM activity challenges the preschooler to figure out how to build a Christmas tree out of play dough and beads. (Schooling a Monkey)

Christmas Tree Play Dough Activity: Build your own Christmas tree and adorn it with loose parts. (Messy Little Monster)

Vanilla Mint Playdough: Think of candy canes while enjoying this playdough activity! (Mama Papa Bubba)

Quick and Easy Playdough Activity: This recipe is so easy, even toddlers can make the dough! Add accessories and you have a quick and easy activity. (Living Montessori Now)

Christmas Playdough Activities

Christmas Lights Color Sorting: Sort colored Christmas lights and place them on the matching color of playdough. (3 Dinosaurs)

Candy Cane Playdough Soap: Mold the dough into candy canes and use for your bath. Would make nice gifts! (Steam Powered Family)

Snowman Playdough Activity with Free Printable: Make snowmen with sparkly white playdough and adorn them with accessories. (Messy Little Monster)

Christmas Tree Playdough Math Mats: Use these mats to help with counting and number recognition (free printables). (Pre-Kinders)

Christmas Counting Playdough Mats with Free Printable: Add some math to your Christmas playdough activity with these fun counting mats. (Simple Fun for Kids)

Christmas Playdough Activities

Count the Reindeer Noses: Roll the playdough into small balls and work on 1:1 correspondence while counting noses. (The Preschool Toolbox)

Fine Motor Christmas Activity: Use tweezers to remove small items from playdough. (Little Bins for Little Hands)

Reindeer Letter Matching: Match letters while making reindeer out of chocolate playdough. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Aliens Love Panta Claus Playdough: Create the characters from this fun book! (Adventures of Adam)

Cookies for Santa Activity:  Kids will be having fun making pretend cookies and writing their own letter to Santa with the provided free printable. (Pre-K Pages)

christmas playdough activities

Salt Dough Recipe: Salt dough is super easy to make (only needs 2 ingredients plus water) and you can make ornaments and other Christmas items with it. (The Natural Homeschool)

Gingerbread Baby Playdough: Retell the story of Gingerbread Baby while molding this sweet smelling gingerbread playdough. (Kitchen Floor Crafts)

Peppermint Salt Dough: This is an easy no-cook recipe to use with Christmas cookie cutters and other pieces. (Little Bins for Little Hands)

No Cook Natural Peppermint Playdough: Your classroom or kitchen will smell wonderful after making a batch of this dough. (Natural Beach Living)

No Cook Cranberry Playdough: Super easy to make and would make a nice quiet indoor activity. (Natural Beach Living)

Gingerbread Playdough: A pinch of ginger, cinnamon and allspice to give it an authentic smell and make the house smell lovely too. (The Gingerbread House)

christmas playdough activities

Candy Cane Playdough: Let the children make this themselves to strengthen fine motor skills. (KC Edventures)

Christmas Playdough Gift: Create cute playdough packages that would make nice Christmas gifts. (Non Toy Gifts)

Christmas Jello Playdough: Using Jello to make playdough creates a nice vibrant color! (Play and Learn Every Day)

Cinnamon Playdough: Explore patterns with this scented Christmas playdough! (Mama Smiles)

Build a Snowman Playdough Kit: Everything needed to build play dough snowmen in small locking lid containers for some holiday fun on the go. (Mama Papa Bubba)

10 Christmas Playdough Mats: These would be fun as an independent activity or with a group of children! (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Christmas Playdough Activities

You can find so many more ideas on our Christmas pin board!

christmas playdough activities

 

Here are some more favorites for preschoolers:

 


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Top Toys for Preschoolers

Christmas is coming and I wondered if I was out of the loop as to what the top toys for preschoolers were. It’s been quite awhile since we’ve had young children in our home. Our oldest is 25 and our youngest is 18. (And YES, it does seem like yesterday that they were running around our home in footed PJs and sippy cups!) I was curious. Are the new favorite toys that much different from when my children were preschoolers? Well, I knew who to ask. I posted this question on my Facebook page.

Parents, what are your kids’ favorite toys right now?

And after reading 135 or so responses,  I smiled. Yes, there are some new toys out there. (When were pedals removed from bikes? And what happened to Barney?). However,  many were very similar to what my kids enjoyed many years ago. Perhaps new packaging and a few more details, but not much different. I loved that these favorites tapped into the children’s creativity. That they helped develop skills. That, when played with other children, would inspire communication and cooperation. I loved that so many of them did not need batteries.

Some of my favorites are not pictured here.

That’s because they cannot be bought. But they definitely are very important. Playing with boxes. Playing with sticks. Running outside. Playing with buckets of water. I love that my readers included these!

About this list.

The pictures and the affiliate links might not be exactly what my readers suggested. They might be different brands, since I did not ask them to specify. I did my best when researching on Amazon to try to find what I felt was very close. You are in no way obligated to purchase any of my suggestions. These are affiliate links for your convenience.

 

 

Top Toys for Preschoolers

As you look through this list, please take note if I missed anything. What are your preschoolers’ favorite toys? Please share them in the comments section!

 

Top Toys for Preschoolers

 

toys for preschoolers

Marble Runs

Bristle Blocks

favorite toys for preschoolers

Duplos

V-Teach Swipe Phone

kitchen

Kitchen Playset

Play Food

Princess Dress Up

Wood Puzzles

medical kit

Medical Kit

Play Dough

Dolls

toys for 3 year olds

Doll Houses

Hot Wheels

Fireman Sam

Wood Train Set

gifts for preschoolers

Plasma Cars

Magnatiles

Wedgits

Frozen Dolls

 

toys for preschoolers

Monster Trucks

Megablocks

Instruments

Construction Trucks

 

toys for 3 year olds

Balance Bike

Kinetic Sand

My Little Pony

Sand Toys

toys for 3 year olds

Easel

Paw Patrol

Fisher Price Little People

Foam Puzzles

toys for preschoolers

Shopping Cart

Hungry Hungry Hippo

Dinosaurs

Boats

Playmobil

toys for 3 year olds

Cash Register

Gears

Vacuum

Mr. Potato Head

 

Top Toys for Preschoolers

 

Here are some more favorites for preschoolers:

 


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Good Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers

We love stocking stuffers, but with younger kids it can be a challenge to find items that aren’t candy or cheap plastic toys that will break. What are good stocking stuffers for preschoolers that they will use and love? Obviously, being an early childhood educator, I prefer toys that are educational. Those that  foster creativity, strengthen fine motor skills, can be used at home or on the go, and can grow with the child. This collection of stocking stuffers includes all of those and can be used long after the Christmas decorations are put away.

 

Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers - Non-edible, educational, fun! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Good Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers

 

Washable Markers

We love washable markers because they wash off skin easily. And yes, markers do end up on skin! (And sometimes tabletops and walls, too.)

 

Matching Games

Matching games are a fun way to build memory skills. They also teach young children about playing with others and taking turns.

 

Egg Shakers

These little percussion instruments fit nicely in young children’s hands. Use while singing or listening to music.


Wikki Stix

Wikki Stix adhere to most smooth surfaces and are easy to store and take on outings. We use ours for creating shapes, numbers, letters, or any doodle we care to create.

 

Mini Magna Doodle

The Mini Magna Doodle is a fun activity for any time of the day, and portable to take on a trip. Simply draw on it using a magnetic pen and slide to erase.

 

Play Doh

Play Doh is a classic gift, and these small containers fit nicely in stockings.

 

Fine Motor Tool Set

This fine motor tool set strengthens hand muscles for writing. They can be used in sensory bins, water tables, for transferring activities, and even in the bath!

 

Tangle

Once you pick a piece of Tangle up, it’s hard to put down! It twists and turns and has different textures. Especially useful for children who need to hold a fidget to keep their fingers busy.


 

Bubbles

Little kids love bubbles, and these being no-spill makes them easier to handle.

 

Watercolors

Watercolors are another favorite. We can put these out on the table any time and we have a group of preschoolers absorbed in painting.

 

Stickers

Stickers are a great way to strengthen fine motor skills. This particular type is reusable which means they will last a lot longer!


What are your kids’ favorite stocking stuffers?

 

Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers - Non-edible, educational, fun! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 

More Christmas ideas for little kids:

 

Kid-Made Christmas Gifts - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     Christmas Sensory Play Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     20 Christmas Snacks Kids Will Love - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

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Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Easy Yarn Wrapped Christmas Tree Activity

 

We have a lot going on in our preschool during December, so we wanted an easy yarn wrapped Christmas tree activity at our fine motor table for our preschoolers.

I’ve seen very similar activities all over the internet, so I won’t take credit for it. In fact, it was my wonderful co-teacher who thought to add it to our fine motor table. (To see similar yarn-wrapped Christmas activities, scroll down towards the end of this post. You will love them!)

On this particular day, we had a birthday treat being prepared at one table and the start of a new ornament going on at another table. Adding this calm, quiet activity to the fine motor table was just what we needed. So, if you are looking for something similar, you will want to try this. It requires 2 materials. Yep, that is it.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Easy Yarn Wrapped Christmas Tree Activity

All you will need for this easy yarn wrapped Christmas tree activity is some yarn and some paint swatches. We used white yarn and red yarn and let the preschoolers decide what color they wanted. We had red and green paint swatches, but after taking the photo we decided to just use the green for this particular activity. I am saving the red for some candy canes or stockings later.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

 

I cut the green paint swatches into triangles and then used scissors to create fringe up and down.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

I then cut yarn and pushed it through the first cut in the triangle and showed the preschoolers how to wrap the yarn from one side to the other.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

It took great concentration.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

When they were finished, I made sure the end of the yarn was tucked into the last slot. A wonderful fine motor activity for preschoolers that is simple to put together.

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

More yarn-wrapped Christmas ideas:

Yarn Wrapped Christmas Tree Ornaments (Easy Peasy and Fun)

Yarn Wrapped Reindeer Craft (I Heart Crafty Things)

Yarn Wrapped Pinecone Ornaments (Paper and Glue)

Yarn and Bead Christmas Tree Craft (The Imagination Tree)

Yarn Wrapped Candy Cane Christmas Ornament (Paper and Glue)

Yarn Wrapped Paper Plate Christmas Wreath (The Interested Parent)

 

easy christmas activity for preschoolers

 

More Christmas activities:

christmas yarn-wrapped trees


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




32 Free Christmas Printables for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Free! Who doesn’t like to get something free? When I shared my 67 free printable activities for preschoolers post, it took off like crazy. So then I put together a collection of free fall printables. That, too, became popular as soon as I hit the publish button! So, guess what I put together for Christmas? Come on, you see it coming….32 free Christmas printables for toddlers and preschoolers.

Yep! And these are all from my fellow kid bloggers!

32 Free Christmas Printables for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

32 Free Christmas Printables for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Christmas Printables Pack: Download these fun Christmas pages and use them for letter recognition, tracing, sizing, coloring and more. (Best Toys 4 Toddlers)

Christmas Tree Pack: Visual discrimination, literacy, math, and more! (Totschooling)

Christmas Puzzles: Have your preschoolers help cut on the lines for extra fine motor fun! (Simple Fun for Kids)

Christmas Memory and Matching Game: Put these in a busy bag for on-the-go fun! (Powerful Mothering)

Santa Says: This would be a fun large motor game for circle time or a kids’ Christmas party. (The Resourceful Mama)

Gross Motor Christmas Bingo: This can be done inside or outside, with a group or individually. (The Inspired Treehouse)

Do-a-Dot Countdown: Start counting down the days until Christmas! (The Resourceful Mama)

Printable Advent Calendar: Mark off the days until Christmas day! (Fun-a-Day)

12 Days of Christmas Dot Marker Pages: These would make nice Christmas countdown pages, too! (3 Dinosaurs)

Advent Calendar Coloring Page: Color one square a day or color them all in the same day and use stickers as you countdown to Christmas. (Simple Fun for Kids)

Christmas Placemats: Let your little ones color these placemats for Christmas dinner! (Sunny Day Family)

Paper Angel Craft: Looking for something quick and easy to make today? Try this angel craft! (Red Ted Art)

Christmas Fortune Catchers: Kids will love to make these and play with them! (Red Ted Art)

Christmas Light Table Fun: Use loose parts on these free printables on top of light. (Where Imagination Grows)

Magic Reindeer Food: Download the free printable with step-by-step directions. This would be fun to make in the classroom or in your kitchen with a few friends. (Messy Little Monster)

Santa Letter: Your child can let Santa know what he wants with this fun printable. (Messy Little Monster)

Christmas Tree Counting Mats: Add some counting to your play dough table! (Simple Fun for Kids)

Gingerbread and Gumdrops Grid Game: A counting game with the sweetness of gumdrops. (Stir the Wonder)

Christmas Play Dough Mats: 10 Christmas-themed mats that work well with play dough. (Totschooling)

Counting Christmas Lights Activity: Practice counting while also working on 1:1 correspondence. (Powerful Mothering)

Christmas Rhyme Games: These fun games can be adapted for toddlers and preschoolers. (Let’s Play Music)

Gingerbread Cookie Numbers: Work on number recognition and counting skills with this fun set. (JDaniel4’s Mom)

Which One is Different: These Christmas cards are perfect for practicing comparing and developing early analytic skills! (Preschool Powol Packets)

Nativity Pre-Writing Practice: A nice way to work on prewriting skills at the writing center. (3 Dinosaurs)

Gingerbread House Alphabet Matching: Includes both uppercase and lowercase letters for a fun letter matching activity. (Totschooling)

Christmas Letter Tile Sheets: 20 pages of printable Christmas words for use with letter tiles. (Fun a Day)

Reindeer Alphabet Bingo: A fun way to practice letter recognition and sounds with a Christmas flair. (Growing Book by Book)

Christmas-Themed Tracing Worksheets: Strengthen fine motor skills during quiet time. (Powerful Mothering)

Mommy and Me Christmas Coloring Pages: Two levels of difficulty! (Twitchetts)

Christmas STEAM Activity: Help Santa get out of the chimney! (Handmade Kids Art)

Montessori Inspired Christmas Activities: Printables for Christmas tray activities. (Natural Beach Living)

Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt: Take the family on a drive while playing this fun game! (Twitchetts)

32 Free Christmas Printables for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Looking for more Christmas activities? Check out our Christmas pin board!

Related posts you’ll love:

18 preschool christmas fine motor activities        Easy Christmas Ideas for Little Kids

 

Now available! 30 Festive Ideas of Christmas Ornaments – 35 pages of creative fun for the whole family! From the creative Red Ted Art blog. Buy ebook now for only $7.99.

Christmas Ornaments a Delightful ebook 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Gingerbread Theme Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

The gingerbread theme is one of my favorites, and our toddlers and preschoolers love all the activities provided. After reading several versions of The Gingerbread Man/Boy/Girl, we put together several gingerbread dramatic play ideas in our classroom. During the same time, we create gingerbread art activities, use gingerbread mats at the playdough table, and provide gingerbread matching games for the children to enjoy. Here is a collection of gingerbread theme ideas for toddlers and preschoolers. Enjoy!

 

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Gingerbread Theme for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

Gingerbread Dramatic Play Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Gingerbread Dramatic Play Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Gingerbread Dramatic Play

Each year we seem to find more gingerbread items to add to our dramatic play area. This year my co-teacher’s mother found these stuffed gingerbread people at Goodwill. They were adored by our toddlers and preschoolers! They carried them on trays to serve to all their classmates. Oh, and to their teachers, too.

Gingerbread Dramatic Play Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

We also added our Christmas slice and bake cookies that I found on Amazon last year. (Seriously, this is worth every penny. It is loved THAT much. And it doesn’t have to be limited to Christmas. Kids would have fun with it year round!)

Gingerbread Dramatic Play Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Manners were practiced as the children asked if we wanted a gingerbread cookie.

Gingerbread Dramatic Play Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Language skills were strengthened as the children role-played.

Gingerbread Dramatic Play

Gingerbread Dramatic Play Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Gingerbread Theme Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

And now, here is my favorite collection of gingerbread theme ideas. If you have gingerbread theme posts, please share the link in the comments section!

 

Gingerbread Theme for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 


Make sure to follow our Christmas pin board for lots more toddler and preschool activities!

 

Related Posts:

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

12 Fun Christmas Dramatic Play Activities

 

Bonus!

gingerbread literacy pack

53 pages of fun, hands-on gingerbread literacy activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.

Lots more information here: Gingerbread Literacy Activities

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




How Kids Can Make Gift Wrap Using Paper Bags

Inside: Learn how kids can make gift wrap using paper bags – super easy and fun!

During December we make several ornaments for our preschool families.  We love handmade Christmas wrap for kids, so another activity in December is making gift bags. After all, if you are going to give someone something you made, isn’t it even more special when it’s delivered in handmade wrap? We think so!

This Christmas wrap is super easy and can be adapted for toddlers as well. Simply find some of those colored paper lunch sacks (red or green is so festive) and choose how to decorate them.

Our preschoolers stamped the word JOY down their bags, while our toddlers used kitchen utensils to stamp white paint and glitter on theirs. As the parents were picking up the bags during dismissal, they loved that the bags were obviously made by their children.

Ready to invite your children to make their own Christmas wrap?

Christmas Gift Bags Made by Kids - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

How Kids Can Make Gift Wrap Using Paper Bags

 

What you will need:

Alphabet stamps (we use this set)

White tempera paint

Red paper lunch bags

 

Getting started:

Since we were spelling “joy”, I filled 3 small trays with just a bit of white paint. I placed one letter in each tray. I did this activity in small groups of 4 children. We started with the J, passing it to the next child after stamping on the paper. When everyone had stamped the J, we moved on to the O, and then the Y.

 

Kids Christmas Wrapping Paper - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Kids Christmas Wrapping Paper - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Kids Christmas Wrapping Paper - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Kids Christmas Wrapping Paper - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

After letting them dry thoroughly, I punched a hole in the top of the bag. We placed our ornaments in the bag and tied raffia through the holes to close the bag. I also made simple name labels.

Kids Christmas Wrapping Paper - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Kids Christmas Wrapping Paper - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Christmas wrap made by toddlers:

Instead of adding letters, our 2 year olds stamped white paint on the bags using kitchen gadgets. We then sprinkled some silver glitter on the wet paint. (Add glue to the paint so it won’t flake off as easily.)

Kids Christmas Wrapping Paper - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

And that’s it! Simple, festive and fun!

 

Christmas Wrap Made by Kids

Over the years, here are some of the ornaments we put in our Christmas gift bags (click on photo for link):

Kids Christmas Angel Ornaments - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Gingerbread Suncatcher Ornament for Kids - Add some fine motor fun! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     snowflake ornaments

handmade fillable ornaments for kids         Homemade Tree Ornament

 

Looking for more Christmas ideas? Check out this fabulous resource:

pinterest christmas activities for kids

Some of our favorite Christmas songs:

Jingle Bells

Deck the Halls

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Must Be Santa

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Up on the Housetop


 

What are your favorite Christmas activities? Share them over on my Facebook page!

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds