Fostering Age Appropriate Activities During Christmas!!

All holidays, as well as Advent and Christmas can cause us to adjust our schedules, routines, and rituals. Decorations, scents, and lights bring life into the landscape that is entering a seemingly dormant state. Our homes, schools, and businesses become transformed by an array of inviting decorations. So, how do children make sense of this? Early childhood theorists such as Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget contended that children learn by doing, and they learn in social contexts. One tradition I could always count on when my son was in preschool, was that he would want to redecorate the Christmas tree on a daily basis. When he was four years-old, I began inviting him to decorate his very own tree in his bedroom!

Christmas decorations lend themselves to numeracy-type activities as children explore one-to-one correspondence, manipulate loose objects, and group objects that form the basis for quantities, or “how many.” When children have the opportunities to wrap gifts, they are getting a hands-on experience with geometry, measurement, and geometric nets. Christmas and holiday characters can be paired with books, or used alone to tell stories that children will want to revisit. Children can be engaged in early literacy activities such as writing cards to friends and family, writing wish lists, and reading the environmental print on catalogues that come in the mail. Scientific investigations can take place during baking and cooking; “What will happen to this flour if we add some eggs?” Science can also be as simple as gathering materials and an inexpensive magnifying glass. Ask your child to describe what they see! This is the first step toward identifying the properties of materials. As all of these numeracy, early literacy, scientific, and motor control benefits join together, the end result is the hands-on experience of engaging in holiday traditions.

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