Activities for the festive season

Child holding snow

The festive season is upon us! Have a go at these wonderful wintery activity ideas at home to make the most of the new season with your little one.

Sharing books and stories

Read or listen to a book in our winter book list, such as Snowball by Sue Hendra. Emphasise the rhyming words and talk about the story. You could play a memory game and see if your child can remember all the things the snowball runs into.

Top tip

When sharing books you don’t always need to read the words. Looking at and talking about picture books is a great way to encourage your child to enjoy stories. If you speak another language at home, talk about the pictures and story in your own language.


Sing songs and rhymes

Watch and sing along to Jingle Bells below, then try more Christmas songs!

Top tip

Don’t worry if your singing voice is rusty or out of tune, it doesn’t matter and the more you sing with your child the more confident you will become.


Play together

  • Talk to your child about the different clothes we wear for each season and why. Gather a selection of clothes for both you and your little one, then have a race to see who can put on their hat, gloves or scarf first!
  • Create a sensory basket of Christmas items such as tinsel, wrapping paper, tree decorations and a pine cone. Allow your child to explore and talk about what each item feels like, looks like and if it makes a sound.

Top tip

Learning to share, take turns, communicate, be comfortable and become friends with others are life-long skills but take some time to learn! You can help your child practise learning these important skills by playing together.

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Play with letters

  • Make your own Christmas cards or write a list for Santa and encourage your child to sign their name. You could do this by talking about the letter at the start of their name and drawing the letter in bubble writing or as an outline. Your child can then decorate inside the letter using glitter or colour it in with crayons.
  • Pour some glitter and salt in a tray. Use the end of a pencil or a paintbrush to make marks in the mix. Encourage your child to try letter like shapes and try to mark-make some of the letters in their name.

Top tip

To encourage your child’s early reading, use letter sounds instead of alphabet letter names. Using letter sounds will help them sound out words as they learn to read.


Get out and about

  • Go on a winter walk and try to spot signs of the new season. When you get home, draw a picture or use magazines to cut and stick pictures of the things you have seen, for example robins, trees with no leaves, evergreen trees, pine cones, ice, holly and people wearing winter clothes.
  • Talk about the Christmas story and how the three wise men followed the star. Look up at the stars when it gets dark and talk about what you can see.

Top tip

The world is full of exciting words and pictures and things to do, feel and explore, from cereal packets and street signs to splashy puddles and fallen leaves. Encourage your child to explore the world around them.


Paint and draw

  • Use cotton wool balls and glue to create a snowman picture. Talk about what your child is doing as they create their snowman. You could add materials such as tin foil for the scarf and draw on some eyes and some buttons.
  • Paint or draw a Christmas or winter scene using black paper and white paint or chalk. You could label the things that your child has painted or drawn.

Top tip

Painting and drawing help your child develop their concentration, creativity, and the skills they will need for writing. Use different mark-making materials– chunky crayons, pencils, shaving foam and paint. It’s fun to use water and a paintbrush on paving stones in the garden.