Are you looking for preschool Christmas learning activities to keep your preschooler busy and learning in December? Check out seven amazing activities you can easily set up today.
But then reality hits. It’s December 14 and not only have you not finished your Christmas shopping, but your preschooler is still doing apple and fall leaf activities because you can’t even think about adding on anything new right now.
I get it. I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. That’s why I came up with seven super easy and inexpensive activities that you can create for your preschooler today. Keep reading to check them out!
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Everywhere you turn in December, someone is fighting for your attention. It’s hard as a homeschool mom to focus on the school work, especially for your preschoolers. They are just so excited about the upcoming holidays.
So use their interest to create Christmas-themed activities for them. Activities that not only tie in the holiday, but also keep them learning this month.
I know you don’t have a lot of time to put together a bunch of activities for your preschooler to jump around to this month. So I’ve come up with seven simple learning activities for your preschooler that will keep them learning, yet not take much time, or money, to put together.
Preschool Christmas Learning Activities
Do you want to know the very best thing about these activities? Every one of them is something your preschooler can do alone! That gives you time to teach your older kids, especially those old enough that they need to continue with their regular learning and can’t really take much time off. It also gives you time to plan or start Christmas preparations.
You can check out the video below to see just how easy many of these activities are to create. Be sure to let me know in the comments which activities your preschooler enjoys or will enjoy the most!
1. Christmas Playdough
I love using playdough as a learning tool with my preschoolers. First of all, it’s a fun sensory experience. Not only that, it also is a wonderful tool for strengthening hand muscles your preschooler needs for writing and other fine motor skills.
I can’t stand the smell of store-bought playdough, so I make my own at home. It takes maybe 10 minutes from getting out the ingredients to ready for play. One idea for Christmas playdough is to add peppermint extract to white or red playdough. Another idea is to dye the playdough red and green. Since my homemade playdough lasts so long, I cheated and used the red playdough I made this fall. Shh!
Along with the red playdough, I also decided to try some gingerbread playdough this year. I played around with the amounts of spices I added until it was a color and consistency that worked. So use the recipe below as a guide, but you may need to adjust the spices a little to see what works best for you.
Gingerbread Playdough Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat for a few minutes. Once the ingredients form a ball, remove from heat and let sit until it’s cool to the touch. Then knead the playdough on a flat surface until it’s nice and smooth.
If the playdough seems too stiff or breaks apart when you try to knead it, you may need to add a little more water or rub oil on your hands and knead again. If the playdough seems too wet or runny, then add more flour. There’s no need to add coloring because the cinnamon and ginger give the playdough a nice color.
You can store the playdough in a sealed container. I simply use ziptop plastic baggies. You could also use plastic storage containers as well. The more air you can keep out, the longer the playdough will last. If it starts to harden a bit, I’ve found that kneading it will soften it back up easily.
Gingerbread Playdough Mats
Playdough is great for preschool Christmas learning activities. My preschooler loves using our rolling tools on playdough. I also keep some small cookie cutout molds with our playdough as well. These are a perfect addition to the gingerbread playdough as it smells and looks like cookie dough.
Another activity preschoolers can use with the gingerbread playdough is playdough mats. I have some gingerbread shape playdough mats that my preschooler enjoys. He can roll or push the playdough out to cover each shape. Then an added bonus is that he can use a dry erase marker on the laminated mats to trace the name of each shape.
Not Christmas related, but you might also enjoy these number playdough mats too.
2. Christmas Salt Tray
Yes, when I first thought about using a salt tray with my preschooler, I worried about the mess it could make. However, I really haven’t had that problem so far. I found a salt tray set in the Target Dollar Spot at back-to-school time, but many different containers would work. If you use Melissa and Doug, many of their products come in wooden trays. The boxes that the smaller magnet sets come in work great as a salt tray. You could also try plastic containers that aren’t very high.
But you don’t have to just use salt in them, though. You can also use uncooked rice, sand, or even candy sprinkles. I found a container of sprinkles half-off at Hobby Lobby in their baking supplies and poured about half of the container in our tray. You could also dye salt or rice red or green as well. Then add some alphabet, number or shape flashcards and the activity is ready to go in just a few minutes (maybe a few more if you need to dye rice or salt).
Sensory Bins for Preschool Christmas Learning Activities
I’ve used sensory bins with all of my kids when they are toddler or preschool age. They are super simple to make and kids can spend so much time with them. When my kids are 2-3 years old, I come up with a theme and simply add in items that fit it. You can see examples of some of these with my Christmas sensory bins. My focus at this age is developing fine motor skills, so I try to add items that they can scoop, pour, transfer, etc.
Once my kids are around 4-5 years old (or older if they still enjoy playing with these), then I try to make them educational as well as working with fine motor skill development. So I try to add in items that can be counted or sorted, for example. See below for three that I created for Christmas this year.
You know your child best. If they still put things in their mouths, then you’ll want to sit with them while they play with sensory bins.
3. Christmas Sensory Bin for Patterns
Creating a Christmas sensory bin to practice patterns is extremely simple to do. For the one pictured above, I used a container I found at a local dollar store. Then I added in red shredded paper, also from the dollar store, and some wooden Christmas pieces I found at Hobby Lobby on sale. The set came with nine different designs. For younger children, consider adding just 2-3 designs. I also added a couple of sheets with blank squares to create the patterns on, but that’s not necessary. You can also add in a set of tongs to pick the wooden pieces up.
Your child can make patterns with the pieces, count them, or just play with them.
4. Christmas Sensory Bin for Sorting
Another fun idea for Christmas sensory bins is to create one to practice sorting. To create this bin, I again used a container from the dollar store and added in some fun red mesh tubing I found there as well. I simply cut the tubing into a variety of sizes. I put in three plastic bowls (again from the dollar store) to use for the sorting. Then I combined some red and green ornaments and some white jeweled filler. I like having at least three items to sort.
Your kids can pick up the different pieces and sort them into the plastic bowls. They could make patterns with them as well. Or they could use the mesh tubing pieces for measurement or sorting activities. They can sort them into piles of small, medium, large or lay several out in size order. They can also grab one piece of tubing and then try to find another one the same size.
5. Christmas Sensory Bin for Counting
A final Christmas sensory bin I made this year was to help my preschooler practice counting. This one again uses a container from the dollar store. I try to find as many items as I can there to keep the cost of these down. I also store the pieces when I’m not using them in plastic baggies that I keep in a basket. Each month when I make a new bin, I can look through what I already have first.
In the bin, I added some colorful pompoms, some unpopped popcorn kernels that I dyed red and green, a few plastic stars that I found at the dollar store and a pair of dice.
Many counting activities can be created with this bin. First, your child can roll the dice and put pompoms in those amounts in the stars. They can then add them. They could compare which number is larger or figure out how many more they need in the smaller star to equal the larger one. Skip counting works well here too. Five pompoms can go in each star half, then have your preschooler count several stars by fives. Combine the star halves and count by tens instead.
The stars are also fun to use as scoops for scooping up the popcorn kernels.
6. Using Clip Cards to Practice Skills
I started using clip cards with my preschooler this year, and they’ve been a hit with him! They can cover so many different skills, like counting, letter recognition, shapes, and colors. They also are extremely easy to theme for different seasons or holidays. Children simply use a clothespin to clip the correct answer. Alternatively, children can cover the answer with a small eraser. If the cards are laminated, then they could circle the answer with a dry erase marker. I like to make these self-checking by adding a small sticker to the back of the correct answer.
7. Christmas-themed Pipe Cleaners for Letter Formation
To round out the preschool Christmas learning activities mentioned here, you’ll need some pipe cleaners. I found these adorable red and green twisted ones at Hobby Lobby. You could also use regular red and green or white ones, twist some together yourself, or use fun metallic ones. I left some long and cut others in half, thirds, and fourths. Then I added some alphabet flashcards for my preschooler to create letters with the pipe cleaners. In addition to the letter flashcards, you could use number or shape ones too. Instead of flashcards, you could use puzzle pieces or magnetic letters or numbers. So simple and fun!
As you can see, creating Christmas activities for preschoolers at home can be simple, inexpensive, and quick. Playdough, clip cards, salt trays, sensory bins, and pipe cleaners all make great additions to your preschool Christmas learning activities. You can use them to practice preschool skills such as letter recognition and formation, counting, shape formation and more. You don’t have a lot of extra time or money this month. So create these simple and inexpensive Christmas learning activities to keep your preschooler learning.