These are some fun activities that you can do with your toddler during this Christmas season, even if they have a short attention span
We know that toddlers don’t have a long attention span, but these activities can be done quickly, for the most part, and repeated throughout the day and over the entire season. My toddler already has her favorite things to do and makes sure we do them every day, if not multiple times a day. A short attention span does not have to inhibit Christmas activities this season at all!
Make Christmas cookies. Making cookies are one of my very favorite Christmas memories and traditions from growing up. Every year, we would make cookies with my mom, starting with mixing the ingredients from scratch. We would then roll the dough out, choose from a plethora of cookie cutters, place the cut cookies on a cookie sheet, and wait. Once they were baked, we got to decorate them with as many sprinkles and as much homemade frosting as we wanted. It was a lot of work for my mom, but I am so grateful for the time and effort she poured into that for us. Lily didn’t last the whole time in the kitchen with me, but pouring ingredients kept her occupied, then I scooped them onto a cookie sheet. We made some oatmeal/applesauce/peanut butter cookies so we did not decorate these, and she was not interested in eating them, but I enjoyed them. I’m planning on making some sugar cookies with decorations next week.
Take a walk or drive around your neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Lily loves looking at Christmas lights in our neighborhood. One Saturday in particular she kept talking about how when it gets dark we’ll see Christmas lights. Thanks to Daniel Tiger, she even knows and recognizes snowflakes and snowmen already.
Decorate the Christmas tree. I made sure to place all my breakable ornaments high up where she can’t reach, but she loves rearranging the ornaments. For her, I have several felt ornaments and a few soft stuffed ones, as well as some non-sharp metal and paper ones. She also discovered how to reach more by climbing on the chair this year, so I had rearrange the high ornaments to be even higher. Next year, we will go pick out a real tree with her but we decided to stick with our fake one again for this year.
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Play with a nativity playset. We bought one in an after-Christmas sale after her first Christmas (she was two months old so she didn’t need it that first Christmas), and she’s played with it both last year and this Christmas season as well. She even says “Baby Deez” for baby Jesus. I think it’s a great way to integrate the Christmas story into daily life during this holiday season.
Read Christmas books. This year I bought a few different Christmas board and lift-the-flap books because I want to start introducing the Christmas story to Lily. We have one in Spanish and a few in English, and will probably add to the collection each year. I especially love reading Who is Coming to Our House because I grew up on that story being read at Christmas time.
Do some Christmas crafts. They don’t have to be complicated or Pinterest-perfect. Here, Lily is placing stickers on a sketched Christmas tree with my best friend. We are also planning on attempting Pinterest crafts such as turning painted handprints and footprints into reindeer, snowmen, etc. We also do an annual handprint that we laminate to save as an ornament every year. There are lots of easy and low-effort crafts, if that’s your style (like me!), and more intensive, complicated crafts to save to decorate with every year. The most important thing about doing these crafts is the time spent with your toddler and the excitement of doing things during the Christmas season. Pinterest has a ton of ideas for toddler crafts, no matter what you’re looking for.
Make and play with a felt Christmas tree! I bought ours on Amazon, but my friend recently told me just how easy it is to make your own felt Christmas tree! Lily loves playing with hers; we got it last year when she was only one year old, and she still loves playing with it this year when she’s two. I can see this tree being a consistent Christmas decoration in our house for many years, lasting through all of our children. Tip: you can use command strips to try to keep it still on your wall but we found a nail on the top to do the best job still. I love how hardy and resilient the tree and ornaments are, and how it doesn’t take up any play space in my living room while still providing a lot of entertainment.