Inside: The jingle bell theme is the perfect opportunity to add extra music and movement to the toddler and preschool classroom, as well as magnetic activities. Check out all the fun activities we did!
We kick off the holiday season with a jingle bell theme that also includes magnetic activities.
This year I found some fun new items to add to our toddler and preschool classroom that encouraged the children to explore through play.
The highlights for this jingle bell theme were dropping jingle bell balls down a gutter, using magnetic wands to pick up jingle bells, ring bells while singing Jingle Bells, and wearing elf hats that were trimmed in bells. We also got a head start on our ornaments!
👉 Make sure to scroll down towards the bottom of this page to get all the free printables we used with this theme!
Setting Up the Jingle Bell Theme for Toddlers and Preschoolers
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, and in my videos, we do a variety of activities during each theme, and not all of them are related to that theme.
In this jingle bell theme we also started our ornaments, our Christmas cards, and had fun with other Christmas activities.
Take a tour here:
When I found some jingle bell balls on Amazon (actually, they are pet play balls!), I knew they’d be fun in the sensory bin with a rain gutter!
I will be writing a separate post on how this was put together, so stay tuned!
As soon as Thanksgiving is behind us, I like to start our first ornament.
Giving ornaments is something special our children make so they can wrap them and give as gifts to their families.
Each year I like to do one keepsake ornament that has the child’s photo on it, so that families can enjoy them for years.
Call me sentimental, but as my own children get older (all in their 20s as I write this), I cherish their homemade ornaments more and more.
This week we started our wooden picture ornaments, adding sparkly paint and Christmas buttons.
I will include a link to a separate post on this activity as soon as it’s published, so stay tuned!
As soon as the children realized these hats were in our dramatic play area, they popped them on their heads and wore them much of the morning.
I also had our wooden Christmas cookies and small trays. The children loved placing the cookies on the trays, walking around the classroom and passing them out to friends. I think I was served about a dozen or so of those cookies. Good thing they weren’t real or I’d have to spend more time at the gym!
Music and Movement
Hands down, every single year our favorite Christmas song ends up being Jingle Bells. In fact, they still ask to sing it long after Christmas! I gave the children wrist bells and we rang them while singing the song.
Some books we read during our jingle bell theme:
We explored magnets at the light table using some fun magnetic rectangles (shape of the month) and magnetic wands. I asked my followers on Instagram if they could figure out where I got these rectangles.
View this post on Instagram
LIGHT TABLE MAGNETS 👍🏻 Learning about rectangles and magnets at the light table! You cannot buy these magnetic rectangles in any toy department. Any guesses where I got them? ☺ . . . . . #teachertips #teaching2and3yearolds #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #preschool #prek #toddler #lighttable #science #classroom
I think I stumped them because I got very few answers. So I revealed where I got them in this video.
And truly, these should be marketed as toys because our toddlers and preschoolers LOVE them. They’ve built structures out of them, made roadways, hung pieces off of them … so many creative ways to put them to use! (And I got them for FREE.)
Iron shavings remind me of that toy I had back in the day, Wooly Willy. Anyone else remember that activity? You move the magnetic wand around Willy’s face to give him facial hair.
Okay, I just went and checked Amazon and it’s still around!
I feel nostalgic now.
Anyways, we had these sealed cases of iron shavings in our storage room, so I brought them out and added magnetic wands.
At first the children didn’t really know what to do with it, but once I moved the wand and they saw how the shavings moved, too, they wanted to try it out.
Once again, one of our favorite toys was brought back into the classroom since we were also learning about magnets.
Our 2 year olds are just learning how to make paths and boxes with them. They also love to categorize them by size and shape and then stack them.
I brought some of our jumbo jingle bells to the table and showed them how they could stick to the Magnatiles, too. They thought that was pretty cool!
Because we were adding magnets to our jingle bell theme, I put some Magna Doodle – type drawing boards on our writing table.
I put our large magnetic white board in our reading area along with jumbo magnetic letters for some fun literacy.
Felt Christmas Tree
Last year I purchased this sturdy felt tree and I couldn’t wait to bring it back to our classroom!
The ornaments are made of stiff felt and each one has a velcro piece that is sewn onto it.
There are then velcro squares that are sewn onto the tree.
The (good) challenge is figuring out how to make the velcro on the ornament line up with the velcro on the tree.
Even our 2 year olds were able to figure it out and had great fun putting them on the tree, removing them from the tree, putting them back on … well, you know how this goes. Toddlers love to do things over and over again!
A great fine motor activity!
Christmas Tree Card
I found some fun felt circles on Amazon and decided they would be a fun addition to a paper Christmas tree, looking like lights.
Picking up the circles and pressing them into the glue is a great way to work the fingers!
You can read more about it here: Bright and Cheerful Christmas Card
Each month we feature a different shape, and in November (we started this jingle bell theme at the end of that month) the shape is the rectangle. In addition to all of our other activities, we also included some rectangle activities.
👉 You can find the free rectangle printable packet in the Free Printables section of this post.
Click on each photo to get the link to the pdf download:
More toddler and preschool themes:
Looking for winter lesson plans?
I helped create these lesson plans for teachers and homeschoolers.
Click on the photo below to learn more:
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