christmas fun with your preschooler
Merry Christmas! It’s that time of year when you’re shopping for the perfect gifts, baking treats, prepping for parties, and trying to create the most magical memories with your family. In the midst of it all, you also want your preschooler to be learning about the true meaning of Christmas. You want them to know that we are celebrating the birthday of Jesus!
Here are 10 ideas that will help you create fun and meaningful experiences for your preschooler this Christmas season. Keep it simple! If you only pick one or two, that’s GREAT!
(We have included an Amazon idea list at the bottom of this article to make it easy for you to pick up the supplies you might not have on hand.)
1. Basket of Books
Designate a special basket that sits by the Christmas tree and fill it with a variety of Christmas books. Be sure to include several about the story of Jesus! I used to take my kids to the bookstore every Christmas and let them pick out one book to add to the basket. Through the years, our collection of Christmas books has grown.
Before bedtime, snuggle up in front of the tree and read some books together. Make a few nights extra special by drinking hot chocolate and wearing your favorite Christmas jammies.
2. Birthday Cake Bake
Bake a cake for Jesus and celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve. Together, frost your cake and decorate it with sprinkles, gumdrops, and candy canes. You can even pick up inexpensive party hats, paper horns, and banners to turn your kitchen into a birthday party with your cake as the centerpiece.
Take turns telling the story of the night Jesus was born and then sing “Happy Birthday” to him.
3. Marker Fun
Using washable markers, draw the outline of a stable on a sliding glass door or large window that your preschooler can easily reach. Talk through the Christmas story and encourage them to fill in the scene with all of the characters, animals, and even the Christmas star.
Their drawing won’t be perfect, and they may add some interesting things to their scene, but letting them draw on the window and create while you discuss the Christmas story will make a big impression!
4. Play Dough Press
Press several thick circles in different-colored play dough and set them along a table. In the center of the table, place small paper plates filled with sequins, dry pasta, jumbo beads, and other fun things you have around the house. Encourage your preschooler to press the items into the dough to create imprints or decorate the circle to make it look special.
Talk to them about how special Christmas is because Jesus was born and he was a very special baby. What makes him so special? Jesus is God’s Son, and he came to be our very best friend.
5. Christmas Carol Call
Help your preschooler call or FaceTime a friend or family member to say “I love you” and to sing them a favorite Christmas song. Singing phone calls will be fun, and family and friends on the receiving end will love them.
Before every call, talk about who you are calling and why you love them so much. Remind your child that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and let them know that Jesus loves everyone just like we do!
6. Hide & Seek Manger
Pull out a toy nativity and hide one piece somewhere in the room. Tell the Christmas story with your preschooler and let them put all of the pieces into the scene. When you get to the part of the story that involves the missing piece, go on a hunt through the room to find it!
7. Paper Chain Countdown
Help your preschooler make a paper chain to count down the 12 days before Christmas. On each link, write one phrase that reminds you of Jesus and why he is such a special friend. Hang the chain in your child’s bedroom, remove a link every night, and pray about the phrase on that link. Thank God for Jesus and the special things about him.
Here are some ideas of things you could write on the chains. Feel free to repeat them!
· Jesus is a good friend.
· Jesus will help me.
· Jesus loves everyone.
· Jesus cares about me.
· Jesus is my friend forever.
· Jesus loves me.
· Jesus loves my family.
· Jesus is with me.
· Jesus will help my friends.
8. Christmas Show
Gather simple props and let your child reenact the Christmas story. Find a place in your home that can be their stage and help them narrate the story. Make it fun by gathering the family, passing out popcorn, and announcing the start of the show.
Prop ideas could be a towel to wrap around them like Mary’s or Joseph’s robe, a stick to ride like a donkey, a baby doll, a basket for a bed, a star on a stick, a stuffed sheep, or angel wings.
9. Dance Party
Make a playlist of your favorite Christmas songs. Purchase some simple jingle bells or bring out items from your kitchen to be shakers and drums. Have fun singing and dancing to the music.
10. Snowflake Extravaganza
Fold up white printer paper and teach your preschooler how to make snowflakes. Show them how every single snowflake is different. Let your child cover their bedroom windows with them or hang them from the bedroom ceiling.
At night, give your child a flashlight when you tuck them in. Let them shine the light around the room and talk about how special and unique every snowflake is. Talk to them about how special Jesus is and how he loves each and every one of us. Pray together and thank God for sending us such a special friend in Jesus.
Kendra Fleming is the mother of four grown kids and two grandkids. She works with our Children’s Ministry teams and helps create teachable moments for preschoolers.
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