The kids have officially been on summer break for over 3 weeks now. Since we’ve had our fair share of lazy summer days, I decided it was time to start our “preschool at home” lessons. Each week I am choosing a different theme. We started things off with an ocean theme last week, which I thought was the perfect way to kick off the summer!
Looking for a summer boredom buster for your toddler or preschooler? This little birdhouse project actually kept my kids occupied for more than 60 seconds AND it gave us a cute little keepsake for the backyard. Win, win! This simple craft involves almost no prep time and is a great project for all ages, especially the toddler group!
A few weeks ago I hosted a Christmas cookie decorating party for a few of our neighborhood friends. Noah is always asking to decorate cookies, so I thought it would be the perfect time of year to host a cookie decorating party. Not to mention, it’s a great indoor activity for these rainy, chilly days we’ve been having here in SC as of lately. The party was fairly simple to set up, and all of the kids had such a fun time decorating and personalizing their cookies.
To make things a bit simpler, opt for store-bought refrigerated cookie dough. My personal fave is Nestle Toll House’s Rolled & Ready Cookie Dough Sheets! I used the sugar and gingerbread flavors, and both were delicious! These make life so much easier (and less messy), trust me! Just dig out those cookie cutters, stamp, and you’re ready to bake.
Get creative with your toppings! I kept things simple, while still providing the kids with several different options to choose from. Some of the toppings we used – mini marshmallows, M&M’s, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and mini candies. And of course we had icing, too!
Set up individual place settings for each child. I set up our party at our kitchen table, which worked out great. I also had a small coloring table set up as well, so that kids who finished early would have something to do while we waited for everyone to finish decorating.
Turn on some Christmas music or even a Christmas movie, and you’ve got yourself a kid-friendly cookie decorating party!
Sugar cookie cut-outs
Toppings (icing, sprinkles, etc…)
Paper products – plates, napkins
Festive table cloth + decorations
- Bake your cookies ahead of time! I baked all of the cookies the night before, and then stored them in an airtight container so they would still be fresh for the next day.
- Designate the number of cookies each child can decorate at the start of the party, so that everyone gets an equal amount of cookies. 6-8 cookies per child is a reasonable amount. For smaller children, opt for 4 cookies.
- Keep the party small, especially if you have toddlers/preschoolers.
- Use a muffin/cupcake pan for your cookie toppings and then provide each child with their own spoon for scooping.
- Ask your guests to bring their own take-home containers for their cookies.
- Read all ingredient labels carefully, especially if you have any guests with food allergies.
Happy December, y’all! I am finally back today with a new blog post! The start of the school year has proved to be quite busy for our family, so unfortunately my blog took a back seat the past couple of months. I have lots of new posts scheduled for the holidays, and today I wanted to kick things off with some of my favorite toddler-friendly holiday activities.
Visit Santa Claus. I know this activity can be hit or miss for some little ones, but this is always a must-do on our holiday bucket list every year! My oldest, Noah, has always loved Santa; however, his little sister on the other hand, is clearly not a fan! The photo above was taken last weekend and is basically an exact replica of last year’s photo. But, despite London’s tears, I still love having this memory of my kids because it shows their personalities so perfectly in this exact moment. If you are heading out to the mall to visit Santa this year but are dreading the long lines (and toddler meltdowns), my best advice is to go first thing in the morning when Santa first arrives for the day – that way, everyone is well rested and in the best mood possible. Bonus – our local mall now offers appointments for photos with Santa, so be sure to check online ahead of time to see if your local mall does the same!
Make a handmade ornament. Every year since my kids were born, I have tried to make a point to sit down and make a handmade Christmas ornament together. Despite the mess that it makes, it is always something the kids & I enjoy doing together. Now that both Noah & London are in preschool, they come home with quite a few handmade ornaments they’ve made in school. I always love seeing what they bring home! Anyone else a huge sucker for all of the adorable preschool crafts?! They are currently displayed all over my house! We haven’t gotten around to making ornaments together here at home quite yet, but I hope to do a few crafts during Christmas break. Later this week I will be sharing one of my favorite ornaments London & I made together last year – a salt dough Rudolph ornament!
Decorate Christmas cookies. I grew up baking and decorating cookies with my Mom and younger sisters, so this is a tradition near and dear to my heart. If you don’t have time to make your own dough from scratch (or don’t want to deal with the mess!), then check out your local grocery store for pre-made cookie dough. My favorite is Nestle Toll House Rolled & Ready Cookie Dough Sheets. Perfect for baking with toddlers & preschoolers! Grab your favorite cookie cutters, icing & sprinkles, and you are all set!
Give them their own mini Christmas tree. This is something we started this year with our 4 year old, and I’m so glad we did. A few weeks ago we were out to lunch when Noah randomly asked for a Christmas tree in his room. So, on a whim, we ventured out to Target to look for the perfect mini tree to put in his bedroom. He opted for a 2-foot tree, which is the perfect size to put on his dresser. I then let him pick out his own mini ornaments for him to decorate his tree. We even found a mini star to go on top, too! It turned out absolutely perfect and he loves having his very own tree right in his room! To make this tradition even more special, take each child out to the store individually to pick out their own tree & ornaments.
Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Grab a cup of hot cocoa, hop in the car, and set out with your little ones to check out the lights in nearby neighborhoods. We always make a point to do this every year, and it is so much fun to see how everyone decorates for the holidays. The kids love looking at the lights and it makes for a nice, quiet family activity. The best part about this activity is that it is completely free!
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions to do with your little ones? I’d love to hear what memories you love making in your home!
It’s been 95+ degrees pretty much every day here for the past month or so. Most days playing outside past 9 AM isn’t even an option and the kids ask to come in after only a few minutes of being outside (hello, summer in SC). Finding ways to keep a toddler and a preschooler occupied inside all day isn’t always easy. Now that London is getting older, I’ve been trying more arts & crafts with the kids. My oldest isn’t always a fan of art projects, but I try to encourage him to color or paint at least a few times a week. Yesterday, I remembered I had been saving these ceramic flower pots that I got on clearance last year at Target. So, I decided to bring them out for a fun little project.
I was pretty surprised that both kids seemed to enjoy painting their flower pots. I just loved watching them sit and work on their projects together. As you can see from the mess she made, London really got into the painting (this was actually her 1st time painting with a paint brush)! We let their flower pots dry overnight and then took them to our local nursery to pick out flowers for each of them to plant.
London is still a bit too young to help with the planting, but Noah enjoyed helping me plant his flowers while little sis took her afternoon nap.
And here’s the final product! I’m so happy with how these turned out. I’m planning to have Noah help me water the flowers every morning in the hopes of teaching him about how we take care of plants.
Have you done a similar painting project? What is your favorite craft project to do with your little ones?