For many of us adults, holiday celebrations are one big thing we fondly remember from our preschool years. As the holiday season arrives, Eden Prairie Montessori is excited to share new ways to incorporate Montessori teachings at home while doing holiday related activities with our own children. The beautiful thing about Montessori at home is that practical life work really doesn’t require many bells and whistles. You can use what you have on hand to create a unique educational experience for your child!
Today we would like to share with you some enticing ideas to inspire your child, all while helping develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and awaken their senses, just like we like to do here at Eden Prairie Montessori. We hope you enjoy our ideas and have fun creating new holiday memories with your family in the process!
DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE – Have baskets of age-appropriate ornaments and decorations readily available to your child. Present it to them and encourage them to decorate the tree at their level as they wish. For smaller children, consider a mini-sized tree: either a real one, a branch of a larger tree placed in a large jar of water as a base, or a cute tiny tree from your local craft store. It takes concentration with hand-eye coordination to open the looped strings on the ornament and then carefully hang it up. A real confidence booster, and your child is sure to love having a Christmas tree of their very own!
MAKING GINGERBREAD COOKIES – Ways your child can help are: measuring ingredients and pouring into bowls, mixing wet and dry ingredients, rolling dough, using a cookie cutter to cut out the cookie shapes. And don’t forget the really fun part… icing & decorating! Create a new sensory experience using seasonal spices they might not yet be familiar with~ cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves. Yummy!
CREATING HANDMADE GIFTS – Homemade gifts are the perfect way for a child to exercise their motor control and learn new skills while also building a connection with creativity not consumerism, habits we also encourage at Eden Prairie Montessori. There are countless items that a child could make as a gift for a friend or relative. Handmade items should reflect the child’s interests, abilities and creativity as well as relating to the needs of the recipient. Have the child decide what they would like to create!
WRAPPING PRESENTS – This requires fine motor control, spatial reasoning and the use of multiple tools. Cutting wrapping paper with safety scissors, wrapping and folding paper around the gift, taping, tying ribbon, and sticking on bows are all fun tasks children can do. Writing on gift cards and tags is a chance for your child to work on learning letters of the alphabet and spelling their name.
HELPING PREPARE CHRISTMAS DINNER – inviting children to join you in the kitchen helps them gain confidence and develop important skills such as hand-eye coordination, reading, and math.
Ways they can get involved are: washing & peeling vegetables, mixing, stirring, pouring, carrying ingredients, cracking eggs, ripping bread for stuffing, measuring ingredients, helping follow a recipe, peeling onions and garlic, rinsing dishes in the sink, using an egg beater or whisk, mashing potatoes and whipping cream.
SETTING THE TABLE – After a child has helped to cook part of a Christmas meal then he or she can also help to set the table – by placing the plates and cutlery or by decorating it by arranging unlit candles or vases of flowers.
HOLIDAY WINDOW TRACING – Draw Christmas-themed shapes and tape up to your windows at a child’s eye-level. Throughout the day the children can stop by and trace. Set out thin paper and markers for the children to use as they wish.
CHRISTMAS BOX COUNTING – Using a marker, write numbers 1-5 on the inside of small box tops. Put the corresponding number of items into each box. Let your little one open each box, count the items, and then draw their attention to the number on the inside of the box top.
ORANGE & CLOVES – Put out a tray with cloves and clementines for making pomanders: children can push the cloves through the soft peel of the clementines and it smells delicious! A great fine motor activity and a wonderful sensory experience.
YARN WRAPPED STARS – Put a star shape out of cardstock paper. Tape one end of a length of yarn to the back of the star to hold it securely as the other end is wrapped around it. Have your child hold the star with one hand and wrap with the other, and when finished tie the end around some of the wrapped yarn.
WEAVING WITH CHRISTMAS RIBBONS – Using a raised wire kitchen rack, children can weave colorful ribbons between the spaces and create pretty patterns.
Happy Holidays to all of our families and friends, from Eden Prairie Montessori Learning Center! May you have a warm, wonderful family-filled holiday season!
Does Eden Prairie Montessori sound like it might be a perfect place for your child to thrive? Give us a call at 952-260-0120 to book a tour and come see for yourself what a Montessori education is like!
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