Keep Your Elf Busy: 10 Holiday Activities for Toddlers


Christmas is approaching fast and it can be easy to get swept-up in an endless list of things to do. If you have a toddler this holiday, like everything else, it gets even more crazy! If we aren’t careful we can can get so bogged down with moving that elf on the shelf that we  miss out on enjoying the holiday season with our own little elves! Slow down and soak in the simple joys of holiday parenting with one of these simple seasonal activities for toddlers.

10 Holiday Activities for Toddlers

  1. Moonlit Holiday Stroll: Take an after dark walk through your neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights, or just the moon and stars! Bring a flashlight or make a toddler sage lantern by placing a battery operated tea-light in a clear plastic cup.Hot chocolate is (not) optional.
  2. Plant paperwhite or amaryllis bulbs in pots indoors, and watch as they rapidly grow and bloom.
  3. Bake Christmas Cookies: Roll out cookie dough and let your toddler use cookie cutters to shape them and sprinkles to decorate. Bake first and once cooled frost and decorate them together if you wish!
  4. Winter Sensory Bin:  Combine pinecones, cinnamon sticks, cotton balls (to approximate snow) and small seasonal decorations that are safe for your child to handle in a lidded container or plastic storage bin. Sensory bins are endless fun for toddlers and can be varied to use whatever you have on hand.
  5. Make a collection of winter and holiday books that you pick from each day to read.
  6. Start an advent calendar tradition to count down to Christmas, if you celebrate.
  7. Pick a night to introduce your child to a classic holiday film, and make it a “sleepunder,” where you set up sleeping bags or blankets on the floor of the living room for the movie, then transfer to bed.
  8. Pick a date to have breakfast for dinner, then take a drive in PJs to look at holiday lights.
  9. If it snows where you are, set a bowl outside to collect it, then bring it in to explore with spoons and maybe some watercolors and a paintbrush.
  10. If you celebrate Christmas, make a felt Christmas tree for your toddler to decorate as they like. The same effect could be achieved with a felt menorah or even snowflakes on a winter scene.

I’d love to hear the ways you have celebrated the season with your little ones!

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Alana DiMario
A transplant from southeastern Massachusetts by way of Wells College and Bridgewater State University, Alana has been in Rhode Island long enough to feel the loss of 95.5 WBRU and Benny's, and to give directions based on where things used to be. After living in Providence, Woonsocket, and Lincoln, she happily planted her toes in the sand in Narragansett almost a decade ago with her husband Eric, a Rhode Island native. Two sons and a daughter came along afterward, and she transitioned from working full time at an intensive behavioral health clinic in Providence to her own private practice in Peacedale, Essential Parenting of Rhode Island, in 2010. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Alana focuses on helping parents navigate the transition to parenthood, supporting families with young children, and assisting people across life stages with anxiety and other mood issues. To further her mission to get families off to the best possible start, she also leads groups for new moms and developmental play groups for babies and toddlers at Bellani Maternity in Warwick. (As a mom, Alana tries to take her own advice at least 85% of the time). She is an avid reader, totally addicted to podcasts, never says no to trying out a new restaurant, and is always DIYing some type of home improvement project. She would also like to say she enjoys running, but believes it's important to be honest. Along with her family, Alana loves exploring Rhode Island's many public parks and natural areas, gardening, cooking, and - to the surprise of many who know her - going to visit a certain mouse's house on the regular.