Pediatric Physical, Speech, and Occupational Therapists Inspiring Play

Keeping it Simple: The Holiday Edition

Keeping it Simple: The Holiday Edition

Let’s face it, the holidays somehow sneak up on us every year! Between baking, gift gifting, and end of the year commitments, we are all exhausted and broke. To keep things festive (and frugal), the gals at WTP wanted to share some of our favorite simple activities and crafts to make the season Merry and Bright for you and the little people you love!

Pinecone and Wine Cork Winter Trees

Who doesn’t love a no-spend, cutie craft?

First things first, go burn off some energy by taking the littles for a winter walk to find and collect pinecones! Once you are ready to get crafty, find an old plastic tub/bin/bowl and drip in some paint. Then, roll those pinecones around to get some bilateral coordination practice. Have two kiddos? Try some teamwork and coordination to each hold one side and roll back and forth. Too tricky? Have kids take turns by practicing counting to 10 rolls each. If you want your pinecones to be more colorful, use small paint brushes to get paint in all the nooks and crannies of the pinecones. Bonus: it is more fine motor practice in a vertical position. Next, get those little finger muscles working with some graded control to sprinkle on some glitter, because holiday crafts need some sparkle (insert picture of me doing jazz hands). Let these babies dry, and then grownups can use a hot glue gun or another strong glue to mount those trees onto their wine cork stands! Get creative with your trees; add some pom pom ornaments or make a rainbow colored tree. You could even add miniature presents (yes, please) or some ‘snow’ with shaving cream for a pretty winter scene!

World’s Best Fake Snow!

Whether you live somewhere that will get lots of real snow, or somewhere that will get no snow (like the WTP ladies), this is the best, and easiest, play snow recipe (and bonus: it won’t melt!).

Head to the dollar store (Ms. Amanda’s happy place) and get some hair conditioner. Grab some bowls and mix part hair conditioner with part baking soda and start squishing. Somewhere out there on the interwebs there is an exact recipe for how much to use of each part, but where is the fun in that? Plus, this is a great opportunity to work on building language skills. Start with a little of each ingredient and then have your kiddo tell you what they need. Give them some descriptors, for example, “Do you need more wet or more dry?” Then, keep squishing and mixing until it is just right. As with most holiday projects, we added some glitter to make our snow shimmer!

Keep the play going by adding in some winter or holiday cookie cutters. Have a Frozen obsessed kiddo (we know a few)? Add some of your favorite Frozen or Arctic animal figurines to make a winter wonderland. 

This snow is the right amount of sticky to make some snowballs, but easily brushes off for kiddos who are newer to messy play or prefer to get hands clean quickly. As a bonus, it is a great exfoliator for grownup dry, winter hands. 

DIY Gift Wrap 

The anticipation of the holidays coming is part of the fun! DIY gift wrap is a great way to get your kiddos involved in the season of giving. Use large butcher paper or old grocery bags and have your kiddos stamp and draw on the paper. 

Our friend Hudson is a pro at making patterns by creating green and red rows. 

Little fingerprints with paint make great Christmas lights when you add some squiggly lines. 

Hudson added some circle bodies to his snowman and reindeer stamps to get some practice with pre-writing skills. 

Use your DIY paper to wrap gifts for the special people in your kiddo’s world. Your kiddos will love seeing these gifts under the tree!

Kid Friendly Menorah

We wanted to create a beautiful menorah that would be both kid-friendly and interactive. We used our gorgeous Wild Dough in Pacific Blue as a base, squished some dough around 9 cut straws, then stuck glow stick ‘candles’ in the straws. This is a great activity to target fine motor skills (while cutting, squishing, molding, decorating, etc.) and language development (while describing items, actions, textures, etc.). We love that this project can change and evolve for each night of Hanukkah. Add some jewels or gems to make it festive!

Don’t forget that for our young friends, the joys of the simple things are what they will remember about the holiday season! So climb in the boxes, pop the bubble wrap, and eat all the cookies. Happy Holidays!

Salt Dough Ornaments

We were on the lookout for a salt dough recipe and @psimadethis posted the perfect one!! We followed her directions to make these cute ornaments for our Christmas Tree.

Here are the steps:

  1. Mix together 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and 1.5 cups of warm water in a bowl.
  2. Once the mixture is combined, take it out of the bowl and have your little ones knead the dough with their hands.
  3. When fully combined, flatten with a rolling pin and use your holiday cookie cutters to make the shapes (use a straw for the hole on top).
  4. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour.
  5. After they have cooled, get creative with paint and jewels

Perform activities recommended by Walk, Talk, Play at your own risk with appropriate adult supervision provided. Walk, Talk, Play is not responsible for any injury caused while performing these play activities. 

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