This time of year fills children with awe and wonder. But for many childcare administrators, it fills them with long to-do lists and busy days as they work to wrap up the year.
To help your center get in the spirit of the season and celebrate, we’ve put together an easy list of things to do that won’t add more to your busy end-of-year list. Here are some simple, fun ways to keep classrooms festive.
10 Festive Activities for Childcare Centers
Prepare for some lighthearted fun this season. While there are certainly some educational games and activities, plenty also focuses on enjoying the season and having a good time. Here’s a look at some simple ways to bring holiday cheer to your childcare center.
- Decorate Your Childcare Center
Although there are certain decorations you can’t use due to keeping your center and classrooms safe for young children, you can still have fun with some decorations hung out of reach or child-safe decorations.
You can theme each room, which can be fun if you do a holiday parade around the rooms so children can experience each one. Maybe even make it a competition among teachers to build camaraderie and offer the winning room decorators an award.
- Decorate Cookies
Yes, young children and sugar are often a combination adults try to avoid, but decorating cut-out cookies is a great way to celebrate the season. Let children get creative in the colors and sprinkles they use on their cookies, and then enjoy a special treat. Or, if you’d rather allow parents to decide whether their child has sugar, you can send the treat home with the children.
- Invite Parents for Hot Cocoa and a Show
Put together a simple program for parents to come and see some of the great things you’ve been working on in the classroom. Invite children to serve hot cocoa to their parents and practice the manners you’ve taught them.
Prepare a few Christmas carols that young singers can remember easily. Take the time to share updates with parents even though mid-year parent-teacher meetings might only be a few weeks or a month away.
- Make Small Gifts for Parents and Help Children Wrap Them
Bringing meaning to the season can be challenging when children are so young. But you can do so by inviting children to make an art project or clay handprints to give to their parents on Christmas morning. It won’t involve the children going on a shopping trip but can create a lasting impact on the child regarding the importance of giving.
- Host a Holiday Party
You likely won’t complete much education in those final days leading up to the holiday. But that’s OK because there’s plenty of fun you can have. Host a little holiday party just for the kids. Consider including some of the following activities.
- Snowflake-making station. For those old enough to use safety scissors, you can cut out classic snowflakes; for younger children, ask them to decorate or color them.
- Ornament decorating station, which you can use to make the center more festive or send home for children to hang on their tree.
- Cookie/cupcake decorating if you haven’t already decorated cookies.
- Invite children to wear holiday apparel and maybe do a little show and tell about the characters or scenes displayed on the apparel.
- Share Information About Various Winter Holidays
More than likely, all the children in your classrooms won’t celebrate the same winter holidays. Be sure that you don’t center all festivities around Christmas only. Talk about other winter holidays that people celebrate around the world.
- Go Caroling
Invite older children to go caroling from one classroom to the next. These children can lead the younger classrooms in holiday classics and get them up and moving. Be sure to capture photos and videos to share with parents through your iCare Software mobile app.
- Host a Pajama Day
There are so many great holiday pajamas out there. Invite your students to wear their favorite PJs for a day. Think of cozy things to do, such as reading snowy books, even if you live in an area that is unlikely to have snow this time of year. Drink hot cocoa (or, in the case of young children, lukewarm cocoa) and enjoy a slower day where your students choose more of what you do instead of planned learning activities.
- Make Holiday Cards in Art Class
While parents will certainly appreciate a special gift to open on Christmas day from their child, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other loved ones will enjoy getting handmade holiday cards. You can make holiday cards in the art class. Invite children to use a stencil to trace popular holiday shapes, such as a Christmas tree, gingerbread man, or stocking. Or create marbled Christmas cards that are a bit more abstract using holiday colors.
- Make a Handprint Christmas Plate
Get plain white dinner plates and use brown paint to capture the child’s handprint. Rotate the plate, so it is palm up and fingers down. Add antlers, a red nose, an eye to the thumbprint, and a tail on the opposite side of the palm. Put some dabs of black paint for the hooves and allow children to decorate around the reindeer handprint.
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