Looking for something to keep the little ones entertained? Need some suggestions of Christmas crafts for toddlers and younger children? We’ve put together a list of eight fabulous festive activities, ideal for small hands.
We’ve done the hard work for you and created all the printables you’ll need; you’ll find all the details below and everything is FREE to download.
What’s more, we asked a Paediatric Occupational Therapist to help us prepare the list. So you can double-down on the parent wins; enjoy some fun festive craft-time with your little one safe in the knowledge that you are also creating opportunities to build their developmental skill set for the future. Hurrah!
1. Playdough Mats
These are so simple to use and provide heaps of fun. Little ones can design their own baubles, decorate the Christmas tree, give Santa a beard and much more with these free printable playdough mats.
This activity is great for building hand/finger strength, in hand manipulation skills and bilateral coordination, as well as refining grasp patterns, .
2. Stuff The Turkey
This is a fabulously versatile game, with little ones feeding objects into a turkey mouth (a festive post box!)
Firstly, create a turkey out of whatever you have at home. Make a mini turkey from a toilet roll centre, or a large turkey from a bowl or bucket topped with a cardboard cut-out face. Adjust the size of the turkey’s mouth depending on what your little one can manage and, of course, to match the ‘stuffing’.
In terms of what goes into the turkey, again the options are virtually endless. Use dried pasta and a spoon to develop those all important hand-eye co-ordination skills. With a larger turkey container, grab some small soft toys or cotton balls, and encourage your little one to throw them in. You can use up some extra energy by hiding the items around the room first!
Alternatively, you could even write some numbers on pieces of card and work on number recognition, or for slightly older children simple sums, as you encourage them to feed the correct answer to the turkey!
This activity is great for hand-eye coordination, upper extremity strength and stability, visual perceptual skills.
3. Puffy Paint Snowman
Create a textured fluffy paint for your little one to use to make a fabulous 3D-effect snowman picture.
Use 1 part white PVC glue to 2 parts shaving foam, and mix together in a small bowl. If the mixture appears too ‘thin’, add a little more glue.
Then, either let your little one create their own snowman from scratch, or use our free printable outline to start them off. They can use a paintbrush but, puffy paint is ideal for finger-painting so prepare for a little mess!
Once the snowman shape has been created, use food items to decorate – raisins for eyes, cloves for buttons, a small carrot piece for the nose, etc. Leave to dry (warning: it will take quite a while) before proudly displaying your little one’s masterpiece!
This activity is great for tactile discrimination opportunities and refining grasp patterns.
4. Turkey Sensory Art
Next up in our Christmas crafts for toddlers & young children is this really simple, fun activity.
- Print out our free turkey outline.
- Use crayons and pencils to colour in the body of the turkey.
- Decorate the turkey’s feathers with as many different textures and materials as you can find around the house and garden (e.g. buttons, feathers, glitter, cinnamon, dried herbs, scrunched up leaves, pipe cleaners).
This activity is great for refining grasp patterns and provides opportunities for tactile discrimination, hand/wrist strength & stability and hand-eye coordination.
5. Christmas Tree Finger Painting
Your little one can enjoy decorating their very own Christmas Tree with finger paints and this printable tree outline.
Add different coloured baubles to the branches and a star to the top of the tree. Dip pieces of string in paint and press them onto the picture to make fairy lights and tinsel. (You can either let the painted string dry in position for a 3D tree, or lift it straight back off to leave the coloured line on the picture).
This activity is great for finger isolation, arch development and honing hand-eye coordination.
6. Clothes-Peg Ornament Counting
This activity provides a great opportunity to work on that dexterity! Our Christmas trees are looking a little bare! Print them out and ask your little one to add the number of baubles in the star to each tree.
Children can use their fingers to add the ornaments. However, it’s more fun to challenge them to use a clothes-peg or tweezers instead. Cotton buds, pom-poms, or even cheerios, work well as the ornaments.
This activity is great for finger strengthening, refining grasp patterns, hand-eye coordination and pre-academic skills.
7. Stocking Lace-Ups
Another great activity in our line-up of Christmas crafts for toddlers and young children: help your little one learn how to weave with these stocking cut-outs.
- Download the stocking printable and print on card (paper is prone to ripping for this activity).
- Use a hole-punch to add the holes to the edges of the stockings.
- Let your little one weave wool or ribbon through the holes to create a pretty edging to their stocking.
- Glue cotton wool to the top of the stocking for a really festive look.
Sunhats & Wellie Boots have a great extension to this activity – make a double-sided stocking which can be filled with little treats to gift to a friend.
This activity is great for bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination and finger/hand strength.
8. Cookie Decorating
Last, but by no means least, cookie decorating is a perfect activity for little hands!
Make things as easy as you wish. Buy a packet of rich tea or digestive biscuits, or make your own. Buy some ready-made white icing, or get busy in the kitchen.
For inspiration on how to decorate your cookies, check out our Ideas for Easy Christmas Cookie Decorating.
Get your little one to help you stir in any food colouring and spread the icing over the biscuits.
Then lay out a selection of festive sprinkles and let the creativity begin! A perfect addition to a North Pole Breakfast!
This activity is great for bilateral coordination, utensil use and refining grasp patterns.
Did you enjoy our Christmas crafts for toddlers & young children? Let us know in the comments below. For lots more family festive fun at home, click here.