We have recently brought our tuff tray back into the house for some much needed sensory play time. This has led to thinking of ways to entertain my littles and to encourage some playtime together, as well as independent play and fun festive easy baby and toddler Christmas activities! This post has some sensory, creative and everyday ways to entertain young children at home or in childcare settings.
I will start off with sensory play. I tried out some tuff tray activites, as I’m currently building on my preschooler being able to have more independent playtime. Playtime where I sit close by and play/support when necessary but can also get a few jobs of my own achieved at the same time. Sensory play helps stimulate children’s senses and by providing sensory activities children can learn more about the world around them in a natural way, through their senses. They can help release pent up energy and also allow children to master new skillsets.
We added dried red kiney beans, white canellini beans and green lentils to a tray. Make sure you wash and throughly dry the beans and pulses first, as if they’re not rinsed and you little put In their mouth they contain toxins in the beans. Simply rinsing them makes them safe for play. I added some pine cones, spoons, scoops and pots. You could also add in tongs, dried cranberries and even weighing scales to extend the play further.
Another sensory tuff tray play. This is a simple recipe of cloud dough with the addition of ginger and marshmallows for some texture. Throw in some cookie cutters, scoops and pots to help make Christmas sandcastles. You can also add in cinnamon sticks to extend the play further.
Simple to make using:
2 Cups of flour
1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
Mix together and the consistency should be not too dry or wet so adjust accordingly with more flour or oil as required. You should be able to shape the dough and also be able to crumble it easily.
I sourced all the items for this sensory tuff tray from our home and so cost me nothing to produce. We used a Happyland Christmas set, Happyland Fairies and other figures, schleich animals, a wooden farmhouse, foil blanket, fairy lights and threw some aircraft and a playmobil postbox. If you haven’t these items then I recommend investing in some Christmas figures that can be brought out each year for play.
Its hard to think up painting ideas that babies can actually do. This simple way was perfect as it made 2 in 1 masterpieces. A pine cone rolled into white paint is easy for little hands to grasp and then roll on a piece of black card. This made a simple snowy scene to give to a grandparent and then the cone can make a pretty decoration once hung up with twine.
This easy recipe is great for letting older toddlers and pre-schoolers to help you. A baby can explore the texture of the dough and enjoy playing with spoons, pots and tupperware in the kitchen whilst they’re baking. A toddler / preschooler can be involved in the measuring process with cups and then rolling out and cutting.
Simply pop some cheap battery fairy lights into a Tupperware box for your baby to enjoy the lights safely. If needed tape up teh box for safe use.
One for when the cold weather hits and temperatures in the minus figures. Here we went outside and looked at the frosty grass and found some ice in a bucket. This activity was very brief as I soon had to take them back indoors as their fingers were quickly frozen. You could also pop some ice into the tuff tray and do some ice play and watch it melt, bringing in some basic scientific learning.
Using a teepee, play tent or homemade den. You can create a sensory chill out area using fairy lights around the tent. Fill the den with festive cuddly toys and books for a nice quiet chill out area. You can also play some festive tunes whilst they play inside.
I hope that these simple Christmas activities for baby and toddlers give you some fun play ideas for your litles. I really love incorporating seasonal play to our home activities, it makes for fun theming across the different types of activities.