The bright summer sun sits high in the sky, the air is warm perhaps a touch on the hot side, the smell of the sea drifts in and the taste of salt hits my tongue. I can hear the soft jingling of bells, smell yummy gingerbread and hints of peppermint. Excitement and happiness and a tiny bit of stress are all around. It’s Christmas!
Hi! It’s Victoria from Squiggles and Bubbles, here to share with you a fun, exciting Christmas activity perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers!
Do you celebrate Christmas with your family on the 25th of December? Or another date? Since we’ve been married, Numnut and I celebrate Christmas with my family in November every second year so that we can spend the 25th with his family. With our family Christmas fast approaching I’m beginning to introduce a little bit of Christmas to our home. Two years ago, whilst I was on placement for my diploma I delighted the children in my care with an amazing, interactive and sensorial art experience! As Squiggles (4years old) and JB (19months old) have both been showing real interest in mark making and painting recently, I decided to offer them a similar experience.
They absolutely loved it and created some amazing pictures which we are going to use as Christmas cards.
If you would like to delight your tots with a similar experience you will need:
- Jingle Bells (we got ours years ago when we created our Jingle Bell busy boxes for babies and toddlers)
- Non-toxic paint in Christmas colours (watered down so it’s 60% paint and 40% water.)
- Thick paper (card or watercolour paper work best)
- A container that the paper will fit inside (we used the drawers from our art area. You could also use a cardboard box or plastic container.)
- Essence or essential oil
To prepare for Jingle Bell Painting:
1. Pop the paint in open containers and add a drop or two of essence or oil. When I did the activity with my daycare kids I only offered them red and white and scented the white paint peppermint and the red strawberry. I did this as the kids had been exploring what happened when white was added to a colour. For Squiggles and JB, I offered them a dish of several different “Christmas” colours and scented them all peppermint because that was the only scent I had on hand!
2. Place your paper in the container. I chose to secure JB’s with a little bit of tape because I knew otherwise she’d lift it up!
3. Pop a bowl of jingle bells on the table.
The Jingle Bell experience:
Let them explore THEIR way. I didn’t give my girls any instructions at all other than paint stays on the table. Squiggles began by using the bells as stampers, dropping them into the paint and then dotting it on the paper. JB imitated her sister and then very quickly worked out that the bells made an awesome noise! She shook the bells and then somehow knew to cover them in paint, pop them in the container and shake, shake, shake! They had a ball, exploring and experiencing the paint all without being pressured by my pre-conceived ideas of how they “should” be doing the activity. They learnt so much on their own-about the colours, colour blending, the texture of paint, how much paint was just enough, their sense of smell was activated and invigorated, they worked on their fine motor skills, labelling each experience as they went, and expressing themselves through art.