How do you introduce your toddler to the most wonderful time of the year? Here are our favourite ways to get that festive feeling with your little one...
Ahhhh, Christmas. Magical memories of that special first Christmas with your baby are still fresh in your mind. But your baby is a baby no longer.
While you might think the first festive year is hard to beat, things just get better and better. Toddlers and Christmas go together like turkey and sprouts – believe us. Here are some fun ideas to try with them:
1.Make the easiest DIY advent calendar
Hold onto your Christmas cards from this year, as here’s an idea for using them next year.
"You might not want to give your toddler the conventional kind of advent calendar with the daily chocolate fix. One of the handy alternatives is creating a homemade one – it could be easier than you think."
Cut out a selection of bright and colourful festive pictures from Christmas cards and write the numbers on the back. Use paperclips or clothes pegs to attach them (numbers facing forward) to a piece of string or wool.
Hang your strung advent calendar on a wall making sure it’s well out of reach. Et voila. Your little one will delight in helping you reveal a new picture each day.
2. Seasonal sensory box and small world
Ever noticed how Christmas trees are toddler magnets? All those shiny, colourful, jingly jangly things.
But you can help your child share in the joy of Christmas decorations without letting them at your tree.
Just gather some toddler-friendly Christmassy things into a sensory box. Bells, soft material decorations, plastic baubles, bits of wrapping paper and bottles containing glitter all work well here. Christmas characters and animals will add a small world element and allow your little one’s imagination to get going.
3. Find the craziest Christmas lights in your neighbourhood
Every town has at least one or two streets where the residents pull out all the stops when it comes to decorations. You’ll want to make the most of this free light display because your small person is going to ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.
Take a stroll after dark. Or admire them from the warm comfort of a car or bus to avoid getting numb fingers pushing that buggy along.
4. Make a Christmas postbox
Every parent is familiar with that disappointment when a child is far more excited about the box a gift came in than the gift itself. The moral of the story? Never underestimate the power of the humble cardboard box.
In the run up to Christmas, you’re likely to have a fair few of them arrive on your doorstep. A festive idea to fulfil one’s potential is to make a Christmas postbox.
All you need to do is cut a letterbox shaped slot into one side of a large-ish box, stand it up on its bottom, and give your child some ‘letters’ (just cut up pieces of cardboard) to post in the slot. Leave the back of the box open so your junior postman can find the post.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even let them paint it red beforehand.
5. Visit the library
You might like to introduce your toddler to stories and ideas about Christmas without spending loads. So don’t forget about your local library.
From touchy-feely and lift-the-flap books, to Christmas books with their favourite characters, you’re sure to find something to appeal. That way, Christmas books won’t be using precious space in your home gathering dust for the other eleven months of the year.
Keep an eye out for any Christmas rhyme time sessions your local library might be running too.
6. Get your bake on
Toddlers will love helping you mix, roll, cut out and ice some Christmas biscuits (and making a mess in the process). Oh, they’ll probably enjoy eating them too.
Depending on whether or not you have a future Bake Off star in training, you could even give them as gifts. The only thing is you just might have to do most of the hard work.
7. Go potty…in a ceramic way
Taking your child to a pottery cafe can be a fun activity for a grey day when you’re desperate to get out.
"If you’re looking to create some unique, personalised gifts, hand and footprints can be put to great use here."
Your toddler will probably enjoy the sensation of getting their hand or foot completely covered in paint too. Or try home kits as a cheaper alternative.
8. Pay Santa a visit (without going to the north pole)
We’ve all seen those photos of a slightly shell-shocked, possibly terrified, child meeting Father Christmas for the first (or second) time.
For really little ones, it’s probably not worth splashing out money on visiting a Christmas grotto, let’s face it. At least while they’re still too young to appreciate meeting the actual, real life Santa.
Instead, keep an eye out for any events at local baby groups, garden centres or libraries where Santa will be in attendance. That way it won’t cost a fortune, so no harm done if they run a mile when they see him.
9. Mini Christmas party
Your toddler might be too young to learn all the words to Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells (or Band Aid and Mariah). But they’re never too young to enjoy them.
Get some friends round, get some shakers out and stick some Christmas music on. There’s no shame in you knowing all the words.
10. Dress to impress
Not many things in this world are cuter than a small human in a Christmas costume. But costs can quickly escalate if you buy several new outfits each year.
So step away from the Christmas aisle. Instead, see if you can find any second hand bargains in charity shops or at an NCT Nearly New Sale first.
Alternatively, accessories such as Christmas headbands can be a good way to achieve a strong seasonal look for your toddler, without breaking the bank. We can’t guarantee they’ll stay on long enough for a photo, though.
This page was last reviewed in November 2018
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