It’s been a funny year for us all. Lockdown, social distancing and self isolation have become the “new normal” for everyone. As Christmas approaches, it may be hard to get motivated but if you have a toddler in the house, it really can be the most wonderful time of the year! At PACS we will of course be having some socially distanced Christmas fun at our Playgroup’s throughout December. You can also create this at home with your little ones. Here are some fun ideas!
Christmas Sensory Bin
This can be fun for both toddlers and older children. You can either put the items together in a bag, a bucket or box with a lid. Fill it with Christmas items that you already have at home so it doesn’t cost anything. Plastic baubles, ribbon, wrapping paper, a stuffed toy, pom poms and anything else you have stored away for those crafty afternoons! Toddlers love to try and guess what’s in the bag and feel different textures. You can have hours of fun!
Homemade Christmas Cards
This was always a big winner in our house. Card, colouring pencils and glitter. Because its Christmas they can make their card as glittery as possible. A great way to spread some Christmas cheer!
Jingle Bell painting
If you can’t access any small bell’s then you can use marbles as an alternative. All you need is a small tray to put some paint in, some paper and some small bells. Dip the bells in the paint. Try using a few trays for more colours. Roll the bells over some paper and the result is a beautiful Christmas picture! This activity is great for their fine motor skills and hand to eye coordination as they roll the bells around the paper.
Christmas tree decorations!
Always a fun thing to do and the more sparkle the better. One of my favourite things about my tree is the decorations that my children made when they were toddlers. Always a happy memory!
Christmas would not be Christmas without a Christmas Cooking Club!
Unfortunately we can’t operate Cooking Club at the moment. But all is not lost! Christmas time is a great opportunity to get together with your little ones and get some baking in. Here are some of PACS favourite ones to make.
Melting Snowman Biscuits
- Plain Digestive Biscuits (you can make your favourite biscuit if you want)
- White Marshmallows
- Food icing pens
- Icing sugar
- Mix together the icing sugar in a small bowl with a small amount of water. Add it slowly as it won’t take a lot and you are looking for the icing to be thick and stick to the back of your spoon.
- Dollop a spoon of icing sugar onto each biscuit.
- Take the marshmallow and add to the top of the biscuit for the head of the snowman.
- Add a couple of smarties for the snowman’s buttons and then use the food icing pens to make him some arms and a face on the marshmallow.
Mince Pie Parcels
- Ready rolled puff pastry
- Egg (beaten)
- Roll out the pastry and cut out four large square out of the pastry
- Place a tablespoon worth of mincemeat in the middle.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg and fold the top left corner over to join the bottom right one to make a triangle.
- Brush the top with the egg and sprinkle with sugar
- Repeat for the other 3 squares
- Place on a baking tray for 20 minutes at 200.
And of course we can’t forget our favourite Christmas Gift Idea….
One of our more popular sessions at Christmas time is to make a cooking craft that you can give as a gift, a “Christmas Cookie Making Jar”. We encourage the children to layer up an empty large glass jar (pickle or coffee type ones) with the dry ingredients and create a label with the details of what the receiver needs to add to make into chocolate chip cookies. Alternatively, I have personally made these with my own children and then made the cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa.
- 500g Glass Jar
- Christmas ribbons, bows, stickers and a large gift tag
- 100g Golden Caster Sugar
- 175g Plain Flour
- 50g Cocoa Powder
- 175g Chocolate Chips (Milk, Dark or white)
- Wet ingredients to be added to the label
- 100g Butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
- Take an empty 500g Glass jar. Place in the dry ingredients one at a time in layers, e.g. first the flour, then the Cocoa powder, followed by the sugar and then the chocolate chips.
- Place the lid on top and decorate the jar with Christmas ribbons, bows and stickers. Tie a gift tag onto the jar and write the following steps onto it.
PREHEAT oven to 180° C. Beat 100g of softened butter/margarine, 1 large egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Add cookie mix; mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool before eating.
We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and that the New Year brings new beginnings for us all! Thank you for your continued support this year.