This December packed a big punch at Crozet PlaySchool. We had something up our sleeves in every corner of the room, and it was so fun to watch the play unfold this month. Above is one of our many sensory tubs this month. It was filled with Peppermint Cloud Dough! I made a huge batch of green cloud dough, added peppermint extract, and lots of fun Christmas people, baking cups, and spatulas for pretend play. This was by far the favorite tub of the month, and I actually didn’t change it because there were children playing with the dough every day!
Below is another tub that was filled with pretend snow (plastic type from the craft store) and lots and lots of festive finds tucked inside the snow. The children loved to take the mini boxes and fill them with items and give gifts to each other.
The last week before Christmas we made “Christmas Fluff.” I found the recipe from Sow Sprout Play, and it was fantastic!
I am definitely going to make this again using different colors and bits and bobs, because the kids loved it! You can see from the collage below how many hands were digging into this sensory bin.
This table might look like a wrapping station gone wrong, but it was actually one of the most popular table invitations this month. I left out mini boxes, jingle bells, squares of paper, table, and ribbons. The results were lots of wrapping, cutting, taping, measuring, and creating pretend presents for our friends.
You can see in these step by step photos how much work went into each child trying to wrap their own gift. B fills his box with jingle bells…
Then he uses the tape to wrap up his box…
Below are a few of the wrapped presents I found on the table later that morning. B’s present is in the middle, wrapped with lots and lots of ribbon and tape! There is so much fine motor work at this station, but the children saw it as a fun seasonal activity. I know as a mommy, that often we get in a hurry this season and our children want to “help” us wrap, but we don’t have time to allow them to help (or maybe that is just me waiting until the last minute!). This was a great way to allow them to help and do all of the fun wrapping activities they love!
D hard a work cutting her wrapping paper.
Another table invitation was playmobil Santa and his friends in the snow. I created this table invitation using fake snow (white pebbles) and two different playmobil sets. The children loved the little parts to the tray and acting out different holiday stories.
Another wonderful table invitation was the light panel, jingle bells, and a magnetic wand. A few of the boys above H and D spent a great deal of time taking turns picking up jingle bells with the magnetic wand. They tried to see how large of a jingle bell shaker they could create if they collected them all!
Below is an activity I have done in the past, and I pulled it out again this year. It is a Light Brite cube! I made my own paper drawings on each side of the Light Brite. The children could stick in the pegs and make ornaments on the tree or details for the gingerbread men. Some of the children loved to just see the light come through the holes once they had been created. They spent a great deal of time just punching row after row of holes into the paper. This is such a great sensory (light) and fine motor activity!
The last table invitation was left out on the train table the week before our break. I put a large pile of Christmas colored pom poms, tree blocks, snowy trees, and ornaments for the children to play with. They created different scenes including the one below by setting the wood blocks up in different ways and using the pom poms and trees as a way to “decorate” their creations. I love seeing loose parts played with in the classroom!
This invitation to play wasn’t on a table, but it was located near our dramatic play area. I set up a little tree for decorating, books for reading, and different hats/headbands for acting out Christmas stories!
This month we continued talking about numbers using snowmen! As a group I would call out a different number, and they had to make their snowman that many snowballs tall! Then they each tried to write the corresponding number next to their snowman. (And yes, that is a random sock on the floor next to M’s work!)
Some more of their hard work in their journals! They added details to their snowmen including arms, faces, and hats!
We also wrote our names on circles and created our own snowman using our name!
The children created this beautiful Christmas Tree on our window at the entrance of the classroom. Ms. Brittany and I unrolled the contact paper so the sticky side would face the kids. Then we offered them a variety of pipe cleaners, gems, and popsicle sticks to create a Christmas tree. The results hung on our door for most of December!
This month we also did a lot of “crafts.” Most of the activities were pre-planned for the children to participate in during the month of December. I always prefer process based art for little children, but I do feel that it is nice to do crafts that can have a specific outcome. These Christmas tree ornaments are a good example! Each child completed the project in their own way, but they still could be hung on the tree at home! Lovely indeed!