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Child's Play
....sharing information & ideas!

A *Beary* Merry Christmas

Christmas Theme

Activities & Games
Songs, Fingerplays, Nursery Rhymes

Also see:  Reindeer/Rudolph Theme; Santa Theme;

Christmas From Around the World
Gifts for Parents - the Kids Can Make!
Parents:  Alternative Gifts for your Child

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Poinsettia Christmas Baskets
Children can cut out paper poinsettias out of red construction paper with yellow rounds for centers (cut from yellow construction paper with hole punch!)  Attach green pipe cleaners for stems, and tie together.  Then attach stems to plastic berry baskets.  Provide tissue paper for the children to stuff in their berry baskets around the stems.

"Hand-some" Trees
Everyone can lend a 'hand' to help with this display project.  Have the children tracae th eoutline of each of their hands onto three shades of green construciton paper and cut out.  Starting at the top, work your way down the tree, stapling one additional hand cutout in each row.  After the greenery is in place, add a brown paper trunk and child-made ornaments.  A "Hand-some" Tree!

Milk-Carton Gingerbread House
Each child will need a small milk carton and an assortment of colorful candies to decorate.  Wash the cartons; then staple the spouts shut.  To make the houses, "glue" graham cracker walls to the sides of the milk cartons using Royal Icing (see recipe).  Attach the candy to the walls using a bit of icing as well.   The royal icing will hardin within an hour so children can take their houses home to use as holiday centerpieces. 

Royal Icing:  Mix 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1 egg white.  Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water.  Beat ah high speed for 10 minutes.  Keep covered with a damp t-towel if not using right away.  (This makes enough to build 4 houses)

Holly & Holiday Candles
Have each child paint a bathroom tissue tube red.  When dry, spray the tube with adhesive and sprinkle on clear glitter.  Add construction paper or tissue paper flames.  Pre-cut (for younger fingers) holly sprigs...glue around the bottom edge of candle.  Add small red pompoms as berries!

Styrofoam Printing
Save those styrofoam meat trays!  Give each child a meat tray on which to draw a picture with a dull pencil.  Pour a little tempura paint into an aluminum pan.  With a brush or roller, each child covers his picture with paint.  Take a piece of construction paper, folded in half, and press it against the painted meat tray.  Turn it over for a few seconds.  Flip the tray back over and carefully remove the paper.  The picture will be printed on it.  Repeat the process to make as many prints as desired.  This makes wonderful invitations, or holiday greeting cards!

Hole-punched Christmas Trees
For window displays..let the sun light up the trees.
You will need:  1/2 shets of 9X12" black construction paper; scissors, small pieces of assorted colors of tissue paper, hole punchers, glue, glitter, yellow construction paper (star).
Fold black paper in half lengthwise.  Cut along open edge to resemble one side of a Christmas tree.  Leave paper tree folded in half and punch numerous holes all over tree.  Unfold tree.  On one side, glue assorted colors of tissue paper over holes.  Turn tree over.  Finish decorating with glue and glitter to make garland scallops.  Add a yellow construction paper star on top.

Mini Sleighs
These make great party favors....Cut a section from a pressed cardboard egg carton and shape it to look like the body of an old sleigh.  Paint the cup red...and glue on pipe cleaner runners.  Add several pieces of wrapped candy inside.  Decorate the outside of the sleigh with holly leaves and berries (green and red construction paper).

Light Bulb Ornaments
Turn old burned out light bulbs into colorful tree ornaments.  Have children ring in old bulbs over the year so you will have a variety of shapes and sizes by Christmas.  Make a batch of paper-mache paste (See Recipes for Crafts).  Give each child a bulb and newspaper strips.  (place bulbs in egg cartons so they won't roll)...Be sure each child attached a yarn or ribbon loop for hanging while applying paper to the ornament.  Let them dry in the egg cartons, then have the children paint them with bright colors of tempera.

Glitter Ornaments
Trace a simple star (or other design) on paper and tape the paper to the table.  Lay wax paper over top of the star.  Have the children spread glue over the outline of the design and then sprinkle on the glitter.  Dry overnight and then peel from the wax paper.  Add a ribbon to hang on the Christmas Tree.

Christmas Stocking
Draw a simple stocking outline on white construction paper.  Give the children an assortment of collage items to decorate it with.  After decorating, have them cut out the stocking. 

Pipe Cleaner Ornaments
Have the children thread pipe cleaners with tri-colored beads so that they nest together.  Bend and shape the pipe cleaners to make a wreath, candy cane, star.....tie on a ribbon loop to hang!

Snowy Pine Cone Christmas Tree
Mix together 2 cups ivory soap and 1/2 cup water.  Beat with an egg beater so the snow is nice and fluffy.  Have the children put their pine cone on a small paper plate using some of the "snow" as glue.  Children can then decorate their pine cones with more of the whipped snow and add sparkles, sequins, colored beads, or cut up glitter pipe cleaners to make the Christmas tree more festive.

Popsicle Stick Star Tree Decorations
Children glue popsicle sticks in a star shape using white craft glue.  When dry they can paint their stars with glue and sprinkle on glitter.  Glue or tape on string to hang on tree.

Christmas Wreaths
Provide paper plates with the centers cut out.  Children can decorate their wreath with colored macaroni (recipe) or fruit loop circles and bright colored yarn or ribbon for bows.

Star Ornaments
Precut star shapes out of heavy poster paper, two identical shapes for each child.  Punch holes around the edges and have children "sew" their stars together with ribbon or yarn.  Decorate with sparkle glue and glitter.  A clothespin glued onto the back clips the star to the top of a Christmas tree.

Orange Pomander
Have the children (preschool age or older) cover an entire orange with whole cloves.  Decorate the finished orange with a bright ribbon looped around the orange for hanging as a closet pomander.

Holiday Play Dough
Make a batch of regular play dough (recipe) and add the following for some holiday fun!

Glitter Dough:  Sprinkle glitter on a tabletop.  Work the glitter into the dough.
Spicy Dough:  Add ground cinnamon or nutmeg to the dough.
Peppermint Dough:  Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the dough.

Frosty Greeting Card Art
Collect a variety of greeting cards with pictures of nature scenes.  In a bowl mix one part Epsom salt with one part water.  Pour the mixture into small cups or bowls.  Give each child a cup of the mixture and a paint brush.  Let the children brush the Epsom salt mixture all over their cards to create frosty scenes.

Pretzel Wreath
A great gift for mom and dad.....look good enough to eat!

Glue five small heart shaped pretzels together in a circle.  glue on a second layer overlapping the first and spray with shellac.  Weave a ribbon, tiw with a bow, and attach a hanger.  Cut a tagboard circle a little larger that the inside of the wreath and cover with metallic paper.  Glue a child's photo to the cut-out circle; then glue behind the wreath.   Makes a great ornament, too.

Peppermint Wreath
tacky glue
peppermint candies

Cut out a circle shape from the cardboard. Then cut out the center to make a wreath form. If you don't have cardboard, you can use an empty cereal box.  Spread the glue over the wreath form. Then have the children place the candies all around the wreath. You have the option of leaving the wrappers on the candies, or taking them off. Make a bow with the ribbon and glue to the top center. Let dry. Then depending on the size of the wreath, you can place a magnet on the back to hang on the fridge, or you can tie a ribbon hanger around the top to put on the tree or display.

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Activities & Games

Christmas Cookie Cutter Match Up Table Game
On white poster paper, trace around 5 to 10 Christmas cookie cutter shapes with a felt tip marker.  Cover the poster paper with clear contact paper (mactac) to protect ~ the game will last longer! Provide the cookie cutter shapes along with the "game board" and have the children match all the shapes.

Begin playing Christmas music, everyone moves and dances until the music stops then they     must "freeze" in whatever position they happen to be in.

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Songs, Fingerplays, Nursery Rhymes

I am A Little Christmas Tree

I am a little Christmas Tree,  (make a triangle shape above head)
As straight and tall as I can be.  (stand straight and tall)
At the very top is a shiny light,   (point up)
Each little candle twinkles bright.  (hold up both hands, wiggle fingers)
We are the elves.  We work all day.
To make the toys so children can play.  (Elves pounding toys)
We are the reindeer, around we go
Prancing, prancing through the snow.  (use hands on head for antlers)
Here is Santa, delivering the toys,
He has something for good girls and boys.  (pick child to be Santa)
We are the children on Christmas Day.
We rub our eyes - and then we say, "Merry Christmas!".


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Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 bar (3 oz) white chocolate
16 pretzel rods

In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate morsels on medium for 3 minutes.  Stir.  Let stand about one minute, then stir until smooth.  Repeat procedure to melt white chocolate.  Place wire rack over sheet of waxed paper.  Dunk pretzels into one chocolate mixture.  Let set briefly, then use spoon to drizzle other chocolate over the first.  Immediately sprinkle decorations onto pretzels.  Let dry on wire rack until chocolate is set.  Wrap pretzel rods in clear cellophane, tie with ribbon to make a big bow!

3 cups peanuts
1/32 cup butter
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. vanilla
12 cups popped corn

Spread nuts in a large  roasting pan.  Bake at 350*F for 10 minutes.  In saucepan, melt butter, add corn syrup, sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Mix popcorn with nuts in roasting pan.  Drizzle with syrup mixture.  Bake at 350*F for 15 minutes.  Makes 16 cups.

Note:  Makes a great gift for parents.  Fill a small jar with Poppycock.  Attach lid, then glue on a holly sprig or bright colored ribbon on the top.

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