What’s in the box? Christmas activities for preschoolers part 2


Today is the second instalment of our planned “What’s in the box?” activities for advent as we count down to Christmas. Our hopefully very excited toddler will search the house for this sparkly Christmas box each morning which will contain his morning table activity. Previous activities will be available in his “school” cupboard for use while his siblings are working on their Blessing Buddy act of kindness for the day.


Day 6

Using tweezers to transfer stars into an ice cube tray will be new to him so I’m not sure whether he has the dexterity for the tweezers or not. The tweezers can be easily swapped with small tongs if need be.


Day 7

Pretend cooking play is always popular, especially if I come over for a taste of Christmas cookies now and then. These large coloured glass stones and oversized marbles are from our local discount variety store. A mini muffin tray and tea bag tongs promote one-to-one correspondence practise and transferring skills.


Day 8

Dotting with bingo markers inside do-a-dot pictures is a semi-controlled way to present a painting experience. I am quite certain however that dotting in the circles will not be satisfying enough and that the final product will be well and truly smeared with paint! (Better cover the tray with newspaper for this one.) Free printable pictures to dot are here and here or google do-a-dot for hundreds.


Day 9

Decorating playdough Christmas trees with beads and tiny bead strings will be fun. Toddlers find it very difficult to roll out dough though and may also need assistance with the cutter. Be prepared to cut a bunch out for them if necessary.



Day 10

This toothpick Christmas tree is great for fine motor skills. The child pokes toothpicks with coloured ends into holes in the top of the box lid (use a skewer to poke them through.) I used coloured contact for the tree and punched holes with a single hole paper punch before sticking it onto the box lid as I know from experience that poking holes through contact on cardboard can be difficult and doesn’t always leave a nice clean hole.

How is your Christmas planning going?


2 Responses

  1. Wow!! Truly beautiful!!! I have to make all these mental notes of what to do when the time comes for my littlest one! How do you store all of the done activities after the novelty runs out without taking up too much space in the house? And how long would his concentration span hold for in terms of searching for the hidden box and actually doing it without assistance as a 2 year old? Lastly, what do you do with him for the rest of the time when he’s over with his project and you are still working on more difficult crafts with the older ones? Also, do you have any ideas what I can do with a 13 month old who doesn’t have any ability for fine motor skills or the self control of not throwing things off the table onto the floor yet?




    • Hi Liza, I think this post: https://angathome.com/2013/04/02/montessori-style-practical-life-tray-activities-for-toddlers/ will answer some of your questions. Items that are specifically Christmas related will be stored with the Christmas decorations but the many household items will just go back to their usual place around the house. As each “What’s in the box?” activity is introduced, it will be added to his highchair activities cupboard so that even if a new activity only keeps him going for 10 minutes, he can just pack up and have another tray to last the 45 minutes to an hour he will be sitting in his highchair. After that he goes to room time which can last for around an hour as well. So between the two, I will have 1 1/2 to 2 hours of time to work with the older children. (This is how I do school every day anyway so he is very used to this as our daily routine, it’s just that the activities are now specially “Christmas.”) Check the ideas for baby activities for the 13 month old – posting activities are usually favourites at this age. Tokens, pegs and other large items through a slot into a formula tin etc

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