Looking for new ways to entertain your little rascals? Always! (Even better if it also involves getting in the holiday spirit and munching on leftover Tiny Teddies.) We hit up our resident play expert, Tara Ient (paediatric occupational therapist, mum-of-two, and renowned gingerbread hog) to give us her most fun, most festive activities to do with toddlers. Enjoy!
A very Christmassy, a-bit-science-y experiment in cause and effect.
- Bi-carb soda
- Green food colouring
- Glitter or sequins (optional, but encouraged for festive fanciness)
- White vinegar
- Squeezy bottle
- Ziplock bags or paper plates
- A bit of patience – overnight prep is required!
1. In a bowl, mix the bi-carb soda with glitter/sequins.
2. Add a few drops of green food colouring and a small amount of water.
3. Shape either a paper plate or ziplock bag into a cone and fill with the green bi-carb soda mixture.
4. Place in the freezer overnight to harden.
5. When ready, gently pop out your fizzy trees and place them in a tray.
6. Fill a squeezy bottle with white vinegar.
7. Pour the vinegar onto the bicarb mixture and marvel as the Christmas trees fizz away. Like magic! (Or science.)
Baby Sensory Baubles
Hang them on the bottom of the tree for those little rascals who pull the decorations off!
- Clear plastic DIY baubles
- Craft stuff: pipe cleaners, bells, beads, sequins, pom poms, whatever you can find!
1. Raid your local variety store or craft cupboard for supplies. Look for things that are eye-catching and will make a noise when shaken.
2. Fill up the clear plastic DIY baubles with all your crafty finds.
3. Glue the lid closed. (Important for safety!)
Perfect for adding to presents for loved ones, so they have to display them. (Ha!)
- A bunch of paddlepop sticks
- Paint and brushes
- Craft stuff: sequins, pipe cleaners, glitter, gems!
- A mess proof area and old clothes
1. Paint the paddlepop sticks. The messier, the better! (Toddlers have zero regard for fine art.)
2. If using glitter, sprinkle it on while the paint is still wet.
3. Let them dry and use glue to attach your other decorative pieces.
4. Use glue to create shapes with the decorated sticks. Try: a tree, a star or a present.
5. Use the pipe cleaners to make a loop, so you (or a very lucky recipient) can hang it from the Chrissy tree.
Melting Christmas Trees
A wonderful sibling activity! With lots of melty magic and (hopefully) no meltdowns.
- Christmas ice-cube tray moulds
- Red and/or green food colouring
- Squeezy bottle
- Warm water
- Freezer (this one needs overnight prep!)
1. Fill the ice-cube trays with water.
2. Add a drop of food colouring and any glitter/sequins you want to use.
3. Place in the freezer overnight to harden.
4. Pop the Christmassy ice-cubes out into a tub.
5. Fill a squeezy bottle with warm water and some salt. (It’ll help the ice melt quicker.)
6. Let your child squirt the water onto the frozen trees to melt them away!
Definitely not for drinking. Just for marvelling! And impressing little play dates!
- Full cream Milk
- Christmas cookie cutters
- Red and green food colouring
- Dishwashing detergent
- Cotton tips
1. Cover the base of your dish or tray with milk.
2. Place the cookie cutters into the dish.
3. Add a few drops of red food colouring into the cookie cutter shapes.
4. Add a few drops of green food colouring to the surrounding milk.
5. Dip a cotton bud into the dishwashing liquid, then dip the cotton bud into the milk and watch the magic colours as you move it around!
When the dishwashing detergent is added to the milk, those molecules run around and try to attach to the fat molecules in the milk. You wouldn't see this without the food colouring! The food colouring looks like fireworks because it's getting bumped around by the molecules.
The whole family will love these later. If there’s any left! (Unlikely.)
- Packet of Milk Arrowroot biscuits
- Chocolate icing
- Tiny Teddies (choc chip look best!)
- Decorative eyes
- Packet of Strawberries and Cream lollies
- A nap to sleep off the sugar high
1. Spread the chocolate icing onto the biscuit.
2. Place the eyes and nose, and add the Tiny Teddies for antlers.
3. Try not to eat all the ingredients before assembling.