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Baby Play at Christmas Time

Baby Elliott is absolutely fascinated with Christmas! He gravitates towards the Christmas tree almost every minute that he’s awake in an attempt to pull at tinsel and explore the shiny baubles.

To help him explore the wonder of Christmas safely, i’ve set up a number of activities for him recently and thought that you might like to try them too…

1. Christmas Basket

I put together this baby safe basket with a green, red and white theme. Included are:

  • Happyland advent calendar toys
  • A crochet snowflake
  • Grimm’s teether with ribbon attached (just make sure you double knot a tie securely)
  • A knitted Santa – made by my wonderful nanna when I was a baby.
  • An eye-spy bottle with dyed rice and pompoms.

Sensory baskets mean that Baby can explore a small range of items with an element of choice. I find that when loads of toys are out, Baby E gets overwhelmed so these little baskets are a winner.

Best for: babies who can sit up

2. Sensory Bottles

Christmas means lots of small, shiny things which can be problematic with a mobile baby around.

Help baby explore safely by putting mini baubles, beads, jingle bells and ribbon into clear bottles. These are from Innocent smoothies but Voss bottles work really well too.

Best for: babies with strong head control – this makes for a great tummy time activity.

3. Christmas Lights

Pop battery operated, LED fairy lights into a Tupperware box and you’ll have yourself an activity that will keep baby occupied for ages!

These lights are low-heat but do just check your own to make sure they don’t get too hot. You don’t necessarily have to use Tupperware either. Clear bottles and takeaway containers make good alternatives.

Best for: younger babies as a tummy time activity or for older babies who are comfortable in the seated position.

4. Bow stick

If your baby is confident in a seated position, try the ribbon stick!

Simply stick ribbons onto a door (or even a cardboard box) for baby to pull off. Aim to use the larger ribbons and supervise constantly to avoid baby putting items in their mouth.

Best for: mobile babies who can sit or stand.

5. Bauble exploration

The clear baubles that are available in craft shops are just brilliant for exploring small materials safely. Even better is the fact you can add them to the tree afterwards!

My three-year-old helped me make these so they couldn’t be easier. Simply place baubles, buttons and jingle bells into one half, then close it up. I’d also advise that you glue the halves together too.

Best for: babies who can sit comfortably.

Safety first!

As always, please don’t do these activities without constant supervision. Check items for loose parts and don’t let baby put any of the pieces in their mouths.

Need more?

Check out the Christmas section of the website for more ideas!

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Jingle all the way…

Miss almost three is just starting to believe in the magic of Christmas. She now knows who Santa is and dances and sings to any Christmas song that comes on the radio.

That’s why the idea struck to make this incredibly simple dance ribbon ring for Miss Z. I’ve been struggling with crafty inspo recently as we’re currently staying in the UK with my parents and I’m not really able to do as much crafting.

Since having Baby E in April, I’ve had to simplify a lot. In fact, it’s exactly why Heidi from The Harmony Tree House and I established Everyday Play Hacks. The dance hoop featured here uses items from around my parents house along with Christmas decorations.

You will need

  • Assorted ribbon in Christmas colours
  • Jingle bells
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Scissors

Method

1. Cut ribbon to size. I used 100cm of ribbon that was then folded I half and tied in a double knot onto the embroidery hoop like so:

2. Thread on a jingle bell and tie again in a tight double knot. You don’t want your pre-schooler to be able to pull the bells off.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have filled the bottom section of the hoop. We used 6 pieces of ribbon in total but ours is a fairly large embroidery hoop!

4. Use a large ribbon to hide the screw at the top of the embroidery hoop. However, you could always remove the large outer circle first and avoid the need to cover the screw altogether – I only thought of this after I’d tied all the ribbons on!

Safety first!

Never leave your child unattended with homemade play things. Check the knots before and after play just incase any have come loose.

Some more Christmas ideas from me:

http://www.teachinvestigateplay/Christmas

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

You might’ve gathered by now that we absolutely LOVE a good pompom craft! After going a little crazy with packs of Christmas themed pompoms recently, we really had to put them to good use! Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is one of our favourite Christmas songs, so we decided to make a door decoration in his honor!

If you also have far too many pompoms or want to go out and buy far too many pompoms, here’s our photo guide to making Rudolph. This is such a great activity for slightly older children or ‘tweens.’ My 9 year old was in his element…

You will need:

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  • Cardboard (for face, ears and antlers)
  • Coffee cup lid
  • Brown pompoms – we used approximately 160 of various shapes and sizes.
  • Red pompoms – around 20 should do the trick!
  • Googly eyes
  • Gold or brown paint
  • Christmas ribbon
  • Chenille sticks / pipe cleaners in gold or brown
  • Low temp glue gun
  • Glue stick refills – around 5, depending on the size
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors

Step 1:

Cut some cardboard into an oval shape (the hole in ours was already there, so don’t worry about that part!) Then use a glue gun to fix a coffee cup lid in place as the nose – this is so Rudolph’s nose sticks out from the rest of his face!

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Step 2:

Affix brown pompoms with the help of a glue gun. If you have an older child in your house, get them involved – my 8 year old does love to use the glue gun!*

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Step 3:

Once you have filled the face with brown pompoms, use the reds to cover the coffee cup lid. Rudolph should be starting to take shape now!

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Step 4:

Now it’s time for our all time favourite craft resource, the googly eye! Well, you’ll obviously need two of them unless you want to go for an alternative ‘Cyclops Rudolph’ look!

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Step 5:

Cut out teardrop shaped cardboard pieces for the ears and glue the pointy end to the back of Rudolph’s head.

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Step 6:

Cover the ears in yet more brown pompoms!

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Step 7:

Use a craft knife to cut out cardboard antler shapes*.

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Step 8:

Paint the antlers gold or brown and leave to dry. We opted for a sponge brush to create a slightly stippled look. Once dry, you can opt to decorate with chenille sticks (as shown in the cover image).

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Step 9:

Attach antlers to the back of Rudolph’s head.

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Step 10:

Fix a ribbon to the reverse of your Rudolph so that you can hang him up on a door or even the wall. Then stand back and admire your awesome creation!

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If you like this craft, we have plenty of other Christmas ideas on the website. Just click on the links for more….

Christmas Activities for Toddlers

Gift guide for Toddlers

Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath

*Even with older children, please always be mindful of safety. I remind Harrison every time not to touch the glue itself as even though our glue gun is supposed to be low temperature, it still really stings if you accidentally get burnt! In our house, we also consider the use of the craft knife to be very much an ‘grown-up’ job too.

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The Craftmas Project

When we were asked by the awesome craft duo, Little Button Diaries to participate in the Craftmas project with a bunch of equally awesome crafters, we didn’t hestitate to say, “Heck, YES!”

If you’re wondering what on earth Craftmas is, here’s a short video from Little Button Diaries YouTube channel

Sounds fun, hey? Read on to find out more about the Craftmas creations…

Polar Bear Snow Globe by Little Button Diaries 

Polar Bear Snow Globe

The LBD craft duo created this gorgeous snow globe featuring a cute little polar bear! For me, part of the magic of Christmas as a child was getting out the snow globes each year. I used to love imagining what was happening inside those small worlds! The craft can be found on Art Camp LA’s website.

Cardboard Christmas Tree Decoration by Creating Creatives

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Shelly from Creating Creatives made these wonderfully vibrant tree decorations. Don’t you think they’d look awesome as a centerpiece this Christmas? Plus the pastel colours make a lovely alternative to more traditional Christmas themes. A tutorial can be found on Handy With Scissors website. 

Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath by Teach Investigate Play

The awesome Smocks On team hosted my cute  pompom project over on their brand new website.  Personally, I think that pompoms and googly eyes make the world a much better place!

Kid Made Wrapping Paper by Smocks On

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Sara and Cara from Smocks On showed us how to make beautiful kid made wrapping paper. I love that this activity adds a personal touch to gift giving over the festive season. Wouldn’t relatives just be thrilled to get this as part of their Christmas present? The idea was featured over on The Art Garden Blog.

Paint Splattered Gift Boxes by Handy With Scissors

Susie from Handy With Scissors is an absolute creative genius when it comes to re-purposing recycling. She created these gorgeous paint splattered gift boxes by using cereal boxes and other items that would usually be headed for the recycle bin! You can find the idea over on Make It Your Own. 

Reindeer Headband by Oh Creative Day

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Shannon from Oh Creative Day  is Queen of the headband and topknot combination so it’s only fitting that she created this festive felt masterpiece. We love them so much that we want to make them for the whole family! The tutorial is over on Hobbycraft’s website.

Time Capsule Ornament by Momma Teaching 

Melissa from Momma Teaching and Smocks On,  showed us how to make lasting memories with a time capsule ornament. Wouldn’t it just be so beautiful revisiting special moments every Christmas? This is definitely a Christmas tradition that we want to introduce! The idea was featured over on Brainy Beginnings Network. 

Winter Tree Scene Shadow Box by The Art Garden

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Lisa from The Art Garden makes the most gorgeous nature inspired crafts and this winter tree shadow box is no exception. I just love the colours used because you wouldn’t have to keep this decoration solely for Christmas. You can find the tutorial for her winter shadow box right here on Teach Investigate Play!

Paint Scraped Ornament Garland by Make It Your Own

Finished Garland

Bonnie and her awesome children from Make It Your Own, showed us how to make a paint scraped ornament garland. The best thing about this kind of craft is the fact any age group can join in and have fun! The tutorial can be found on Creating Creatives’ website. 

Felt Holiday Garland by Art Camp LA

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Arielle from Art Camp LA makes the most beautiful creations. If you’re terrible at sewing like I am, then this is the craft for you because it’s actually a no-sew garland! You can find out how to make her felt holiday garland by visiting Little Button Diaries.

Christmas Light-bulb Characters by Hobbycraft

What happens when a group of 15 rad, creative ladies are united in their love of Christmas craft projects for kids? Craftmas.

Gemma from my favourite UK craft store, Hobbycraft,  created these super sweet light-bulb characters.  Anything that re-purposes unwanted items always gets a huge thumbs up from us! The tutorial is over on Oh Creative Day’s website.

Festive Tree Mobiles by Barley & Birch

 A Modern Layered-Patten Winter Garland (and pattern plates for toddlers!)

Amanda from Barley & Birch created these festive trees, which even includes pattern templates for younger crafters! I think the transparent aspect make this craft extra vibrant and fun. Find out how to make your own by visiting The Harmony Tree House’s sparkly new website.

Christmas Tree Wall Hanging by The Harmony Tree House

Heidi from The Harmony Tree House made this gorgeous wall hanging. I love how Heidi has integrated nature for a beautiful alternative to the more traditional Christmas tree.  The tutorial is over on Smocks On.

Festive Fox Wreath by Brainy Beginnings Network

This adorable DIY salt dough fox wreath is the perfect festive and easy holiday craft to do with kids!

Mary Alice from Brainy Beginnings Network made me want to whip up a fresh batch of salt dough – isn’t this fox  wreath just brilliant? This is another great alternative to more traditional festive offerings. There’s a tutorial for you over on Barley & Birch. 

For more festive ideas, follow our Instagram page! Alternatively check out these features:

Christmas Activities for Toddlers

Christmas Pompom Wreath

Gift Guide for Toddlers

Ideas for Winter Themed Play

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Happy crafting! x

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Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath!

It’s Craaaaaftmas!

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I probably love the Christmas build-up more than I love the big day itself, so when Little Buttons Diaries asked me to get involved with the Craftmas project, I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

I’ve gotta say, my craft sessions are usually totally random and unplanned, so actually putting thought into the project had me all of a dither! For the first time in a long time, I actually stuck to my original idea so here I present to you a Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath…

You will need: 

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  • A piece of cardboard that will be cut into an ‘o’ shape.
  • Low temp glue gun
  • Glue refills (around 5)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Felt in a variety of Christmas colours
  • Craft knife
  • Variety of pompoms in Christmas colours
  • Christmas ribbon
  • Googly eyes (if you want to make it super cute!)
  • Chenille sticks/ pipe cleaners

Step 1: Cut the cardboard base

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Cut part of a cardboard box into a ‘O’ shape using a sharp craft knife – this part is definitely a ‘grown-up’ job! Don’t stress if the cut isn’t perfect as it’ll all be covered up with the pompoms anyway.

Step 2: Get gluing! 

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This is the most time consuming part so if you have a tween or teen around, this is an ideal one for them to get involved with!

Be mindful of the fact that ‘low temp glue gun’ does not make it any less burny if you accidentally get some on your fingers – which is why it’s best to be super careful if younger children are joining in.

Step 3: Check your work

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Once you’ve filled the entire circle, gently pull off the gluey ‘spider webs.’ Double check that the wreath is covered from all angles and add more pompoms if needed. Approximately 150 green pompoms were used to make this wreath, using a special Christmas pack from Riot Art and Crafts.

Step 4: Time to get your felt on! 

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Play around with a few different iconic Christmas images to see what works best on your wreath. Featured above is our final pieces, but we also considered a reindeer, Santa and a snowman too – keep it simple if the kids are joining in!

Once the felt is cut, try blinging it up with some glittery chenille sticks and pompoms. Glue everything together with the help of that trusty glue gun. You may also want to add googly eyes for that silly/ cute factor…

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Step 5: Placement 

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Test where the felt pieces will go first. We found that the Christmas tree and stocking looked better along the vertical sides, for example. The glue sticks super fast so you don’t want to ruin your amazing craft by attempting to re-stick!

Step 6: Finishing touches

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Glue a Christmassy ribbon to the reverse of the wreath, then stand back and admire your amazing handiwork!

I hope that you all have an amazing Christmas with your family and friends. If you decide to make crafts part of the festivities, do tag me in. I absolutely LOVE it when you share your ideas and if you decide to make your own pompom wreath, send me a photo!

Sian x

For more Christmas ideas, check out the following links:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Christmas Activities for Toddlers

Gift Guide for Toddlers