It’s the time of year when early childhood educators begin setting up Christmas activities for early learning.
This year, why not ditch the usual stress and mainly teacher-led Christmas activities and instead try a few of these simple but fun ideas from our wonderful Empowered Educator Facebook community.
If you’re looking for less ‘adult required’ activities and more child led Christmas experiences this year then this post has what you need.
Let the Christmas creativity begin! (Many of these activities can be easily modified to instead become holiday/nature/tree/colour themes if you also need to include some children in your care whose families do not celebrate Christmas).
For even more inspiration (and to keep things simple!), take a look at some of our other Christmas activity ideas too:
Environments & Invitations With Christmas Activities For Early Learning
While I’m certainly not saying that you need to set up your area like the examples shared below to encourage festive early learning, I’m definitely inspired by them and thought you might discover and element or 2 that gives you an idea to try in your own learning space.
Christine came up with the interesting idea to use a projector to set a Christmas scene.
Marg went all out for Christmas this year - lots of Christmas magic to inspire imaginations here!
Karen set up an Elf Workshop invitation - love it!
Christmas invitations and environments don’t need to only be indoors.
Why not turn your mud kitchen into a Christmas kitchen for the last few months of the year like Little Mini Lighthouse Family Day Care shows us below?
Or set up a craft activity in a corner of your garden/yard - love the use of tyres from Desi here!
Loose Parts Christmas Activity Ideas
I’m a huge fan of loose parts play and there are so many ways to add a festive Christmas vibe to your loose parts materials.
Amanda set up this Christmas tree outline using masking tape and invited children to decorate using their own selection of materials.
Karen set up this colorful invitation to play - it’s sure to ignite the senses with all those different textures and colours!
Little Mini Lighthouse Day Care left out some lovely loose parts and other materials on a tuff tray to invite some tree decorating.
Christmas Ball Balancing - A simple STEM activity from the always creative Little Mini Lighthouse - pop over to Desi's Family Daycare Facebook page here for more Christmas themed inspiration!
This is one of my favourite Christmas upcycle ideas this year! This activity was shared by Carinya Early Learning Centre Chermside and it looks like everyone was excited to join in and add their own creative touch.
*Carinya Early Learning also let our Facebook community know that they did not use acrylic paint to decorate so when the play is done the egg cartons can still be recycled and eventually used to create new egg cartons
Use my Cornflour Paint recipe here if you'd like to make your own eco friendly paint - also suitable for use with babies and toddlers.
You know what would go well with this activity? My colourful baked cotton balls - see how we made them here.
I think they’d make fantastic ‘baubles’ for the egg carton tree!
Kimberley made her own adorable mini wooden loose parts for this Christmas tree invitation. So creative and wood is always fun to play with!
Sai Family Day Care took upcycling to a new level with their Christmas tree made from recycled bottles and other materials destined for the recycle bin.
Karen set up a different take on the ‘decorate your Christmas tree’ activity using a large tree shaped board (tip: you can get wooden boards like this at Kmart if in Australia)
More invitation to play inspiration using natural and recycled materials from Little Mini Lighthouse Family Day Care
If you keep your selection of materials simple children will add their own elements and creativity...
Easy Christmas Activities for Early Learning
Educators in our Facebook Group have even more ideas to share with you - too many to fit into one blog post so here are a few of my favourites.
Karen set up this pinecone decorating station - simple yet so many opportunities to express their own creative style.
Libby made these ‘trees’ out of pinecones for her children to decorate too. So clever and I bet they smelt beautiful!
Little Mini Lighthouse Family Day care set up a group invitation to paint the Christmas tree. I like the idea of using the tuff tray to frame the experience.
Sonya upcycled and old tyre rim, added a few shiny materials and invited the children to decorate - I love the festive and colourful finished product!
Can you decorate a snowman? A fun activity idea to accompany storytime shared by Karen.
Another playful idea to accompany storytime with a snowman. Shared by Desi.
Linda provided real canvases (the dollar stores sell these inexpensively) for children to create their own colourful art pieces.
What a lovely gift these would make for family and friends!
Desi encouraged children to use their hand eye coordination and and explore spatial awareness by throwing balls through the holes in this fun (and budget friendly) Christmas ball game.
Karen also challenged fine motor muscles and hand eye coordination with this upcycled cardboard Christmas tree threading activity.
I’m getting the idea that Desi from Little Mini Lighthouse Family Day Care loves this time of year!
Here they added some natural elements to their crafting with a Christmas tree nature weave - a beautiful sensory experience and unique end result!
Decorating a simple star is always a favourite, no matter what time of year and Isabella invited children to collage their stars - perfect for hanging on the tree or from a window to pick up the light as they turn.
Gail made these cute Christmas photo baubles - she added the photos and the children added their choice of fillers (glitter, sparkles, pom poms etc). I know parents and carers would love to receive these as a personalised gift.
This Christmas tree mosaic activity was enjoyed by the toddlers through to the after school age children in my family day care and was the perfect way to use up bits and pieces leftover craft materials and let each individual express their own creative self.
Cut out your tree from old cardboard, snip up some old paint sample cards to use as mosaic pieces, add a clothes peg to hold and you’re ready to decorate!
Desi decided to use something a little different for this 'collage a Christmas star' invitation to create.
By providing a different selection of sensory collage materials I also gave younger and older children the chance to express their creativity and imagination in different ways with this sensory tree activity.
This is an easy experience to set up for multi age groups as it's so easy for children to modify to suit their current skill level - there is no 'rule' to how the tree must look at the end, the tree is simply a frame or canvas, it can be whatever they want it to be.
Christmas Activities With Playdough
Who doesn’t love playdough? Invite play with these Christmas themed ideas.
Amanda set up a ‘make your own rudolph’ playdough invitation to create.
Amanda also set up this inviting Christmas cookie decorating station out of play dough.
Karen made a gingerbread play dough station. Hands on creative fun - a classic that never gets old...I can almost smell the ginger...
I challenged children's fine motor skills with this Christmas bauble dough activity (we have also done this exact activity using bread dough - we just left out the colouring and of course you don't need to wait until Christmas!).
We started out with plain playdough and I provided edible cachous for the children to hide inside the dough (lots of poking and pinching for fingers to do here) I then added some coloured edicol dye powder and then they had to knead and roll to start changing the colour of the dough...as they did this the balls were also spreading out through the dough.
Then it was time to create! See how we setup and played here.
What activity would your children enjoy? I'd love to see your own Christmas activities and ideas. Pop over and join my Empowered Educator Facebook group so you can share your ideas and inspiration with our educator community and perhaps see your work featured here on The Empowered Educator blog.
A Little About Me
Jodie Clarke is an early childhood professional supporting educators who want and need to stay passionate about the work they do! She has 30 years hands-on experience in the early childhood and human services sectors across many different roles.
Jodie is mum to 3 in Australia and has already helped thousands of educators with their work through her popular blog posts, activity ideas, online training and e-books.