Round 2 of baby bin Christmas fun was a blast! I can't wait to share all of these awesome ideas that had Aubrey busy while this mama was checking things off of the Christmas to do list.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here are the details for each of our second week of Christmas activities:
Eight Jolly Reindeer:
Eight Jolly Reindeer was a fun board book for a little counting practice.  I only wish it counted up instead of down since Aubrey is still learning to count. Aubrey is Santa obsessed and the jolly old guy had her yelling "santa" on each page, so I'd say it was a hit regardless.
 Christmas Theme Sensory Bin:
In this bin: snow fluff, star lights, little people advent calendar toys, fake trees

Christmas Play Dough:
On this tray: green play dough, dough roller, tree cookie cutter, foam shapes, buttons, sequins

Christmas Tree Light Box:
This light box was so mesmerizing, it had my girls busy all week long.  First I always save any giant boxes we get for projects like this.  (You know how kids always want to play with the box right?) This was a box from one of the girls' car seats.

To make the tree, I laid the box down so the opening was on the side and drew a large triangle on the outside of the box.  Then I measured and poked holes with a screwdriver for each light. If you are a little OCD like me and want things all measured out evenly, here were my measurements:

9 inches across at the base and 18 inches tall
I used a string of 60 LED lights.
I started at the base with 10 holes across 1" apart.
I made the next row 2" above the first and poked 9 holes, again 1" apart.
Then I repeated with each row 2" above the previous one and light holes 1" apart with one less each time.

After I poked all of the holes I pushed the lights in starting at the top so any extra lights and the plug were at the bottom. Then I added mini 3M hooks for the girls to hang mini ornaments on while playing inside.

Christmas Tree Sensory Bag:
While decorating Christmas cookies I had this bright idea. Our clear decorating bags were the perfect triangles to make into trees! So I made this little tree sensory bag for Aubrey to squish and explore.

I started out with a clear decorating bag. Next, I filled it with clear hair gel and a few drops of green food coloring.  Then, I added a few colored sequins and buttons. Finally I folded up the bottom a tiny bit and sealed it with clear packing tape.  I added clear tape around all of the edges just to reinforce it a little more, but the bag is pretty thick so that probably wasn't even needed.  Last I used a dot of super glue to attach a foam star at the top.

Aubrey squished the green food coloring all into the hair gel to even out the color while she was playing, then we played I spy and she tried to find and name the different colors she saw inside.
Cookie Cutter Stamping:
Our last activity of the week was easy cookie cutter stamping.  Mix up a batch of your favorite taste safe paint (or use tempera paint if your little one has learned not to put paint in their mouth.) Pour red, green, and brown paint onto paper plates then use cookie cutters to stamp lots of Christmas-y shapes.


If you are looking for all of the plans and printables for this week's theme I will be posting them soon! If you'd like to be notified as soon as they are available please subscribe to my newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) and/or join our Tot School and Preschool Facebook group here:

Check out all of our Baby Bin themes here:
September:

October:

November:

December:

January:

February:
TriangleRectangleValentines

The past two weeks have been overloaded with holiday fun! Something about a Christmas theme just makes learning so magical. I hope you have as much fun as we did with all of these holiday themed learning ideas!
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for Christmas week 2:

And here are the details for each activity:
Dream Snow Characters:
Our first story this week was a simple Christmas favorite of mine, Dream Snow by Eric Carle. After reading Madelynn drew and labeled the characters in the story.
 Christmas Retelling:
We love all of the Splat books, so our next story was Merry Christmas Splat by Rob Scotton. After reading Madelynn drew pictures to show what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story.
 Santa Comprehension:
Next, we read How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagan. After reading, we talked about all of the ways the kids tried to catch Santa. Then I asked Madelynn if she thought they would work or not.  Finally she drew to show what she thought would be the best way to catch Santa. Madelynn said she would lasso Santa, and leave carrots for the reindeer.
 Pout Pout Fish Setting:
Our last Christmas book was The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. Before reading we discussed and defined the setting as the time and place that a story happens. After reading, we talked about each part of the setting and Madelynn drew the time that the story took place (Christmas) and the place (in the ocean.)
  Tracking Print:
Our last book was this letter M alphabet reader. Madelynn identified the picture then pointed to each word as she read. Afterwards she colored all of the pictures in.
 Read and Color Tree:
This week we focused on beginning sounds so we started with this color by code activity. Madelynn identified each picture, then decided what letter it started with. Knowing it was one of the 5 listed on the left side of the page helped with some of the trickier sounds, then she followed the directions to make each spot the correct color.  
 Mitten Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make an M for mitten. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase M's in the mitten, stamp them and make the "M" sound each time. 
 Santa's Syllable Sacks:
For a little syllable sorting, I printed Santa sacks with the numbers 1-4 on them. Then I also printed pictures of toys. Madelynn chose a toy, and clapped the syllables to figure out which sack it belonged in. I showed her how to count the syllables by putting up one finger for each clap, and she added it to the correct sack.
 Christmas Tree Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created this cute Christmas tree.  First Madelynn cut the tree pieces out. Then she wrote the letters in her name on each ornament. After she finished writing, she glued the tree pieces together and added the ornaments in order to spell her name. 
Reindeer Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw what she would like to give someone as a gift. She decided that she wanted to give her friend Meredith a doll. So sweet :)
 Christmas Lights Sand Tray:
Our first math activity this week was a Christmas themed writing tray.  I filled our clear tray with green sand and placed it on top of 2 light pads. Then Madelynn used small light number cards as a model to write numbers in the oats with her finger.
 Christmas Bow Measuring:
This week we had a little fun with measurement.  We started out measuring length with nonstandard units.  I printed a Christmas bow measuring recording sheet and Madelynn chose an object to measure. After she found the item, she lined up present bows end to end to measure the length of the item, then recorded her answer.
 Weighing Presents:
Our next measurement activity had Madelynn exploring weight and using a balance scale.  I filled 8 small boxes with objects of various weights. Then Madelynn weighed 2 boxes at a time on the balance scale. On the recording sheet, she circled the present that weighed more then, opened each box to see what was inside.
 Christmas Capacity:
Capacity is always a fun measurement concept for preschoolers, because they love to fill and dump things.  For our Christmas themed capacity exploration I filled our sensory bin with red and green water beads. Then I added various sizes of plastic fillable ornaments, measuring cups and spoons. Madelynn explored capacity by seeing how many water beads fit in each container. I helped her to make predictions and check to see how accurate they were as well.
Roll, Count, and Decorate Trees:
Four our last math activity of the week we focused on number identification and counting. First, I cut out green triangles and brown rectangles from tissue paper. The I laid them on top of a clear tray and placed a light pad underneath. Madelynn rolled a 1-20 die, identified the number, and counted out the correct number of clear Christmas table scatter for ornaments.
Washi Tape Christmas Trees:This adorable little forest of trees was super easy for madelynn to make, and she loved them because she is always asking to  play with my stash of washi tape. First she cut out triangle trees in various sizes.  Then she covered each one with strips of washi tape. I helped her to cut off the excess tape.
She cut and glued a brown rectangle to the bottom and added pom pom ornaments.
Christmas Play Dough:
On this tray: green play doughdough rollertree cookie cutterfoam shapesbuttonssequins
 Christmas Tree Light Box:
This light box was so mesmerizing, it had my girls busy all week long.  First I always save any giant boxes we get for projects like this.  (You know how kids always want to play with the box right?) This was a box from one of the girls' car seats.

To make the tree, I laid the box down so the opening was on the side and drew a large triangle on the outside of the box.  Then I measured and poked holes with a screwdriver for each light. If you are a little OCD like me and want things all measured out evenly, here were my measurements:

9 inches across at the base and 18 inches tall
I used a string of 60 LED lights.
I started at the base with 10 holes across 1" apart.
I made the next row 2" above the first and poked 9 holes, again 1" apart.
Then I repeated with each row 2" above the previous one and light holes 1" apart with one less each time.

After I poked all of the holes I pushed the lights in starting at the top so any extra lights and the plug were at the bottom. Then I added mini 3M hooks for the girls to hang mini ornaments on while playing inside.
 Stamp Wreaths:
I can't be the only one that loves finding random things in our house to use as stamps right? Well for this easy craft we used a ice cream cone to stamp wreaths all over a sheet of paper.  Then Madelynn glued on a few yarn bows and pom pom holly for a pretty little decoration.
Tradition Tree:
We finished off our Christmas theme talking about traditions.  We discussed how many families have special ways of celebrating holidays that they do every year.  Then we made a fun craft to show our learning.
First, Madelynn painted an entire paper plate green. After it dried, I cut it into 3 equal pieces. Madelynn glued the pieces together to form a tree and added the star to the top.
Finally she drew one family tradition on each ornament and glued them to the tree as well. To add a little extra color she glued a few colorful pom poms on the tree too.

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:

And that's it for this week. I can't wait to share all of our learning and fun with you this year! Here are our tentative plans for weekly themes if you want to follow along!
September:

October: 

November:
It's finally time to share our ideas for one of my favorite themes of the year...CHRISTMAS! We had so much fun with this theme I had to split it into 2 weeks. Check out our first week of baby approved ideas!
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here are the details for each of our first week of Christmas activities:
 The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer:
Sometimes getting miss Aubrey to sit down for a story is more like herding cats. She is so full of energy especially during these cold winter months, that I have to pull out all the stops to slow her down.  This week's story was successful in taming the crazy with a fun song.  The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer by Jeffrey Burton is a cute story that follows the tune of the itsy bitsy spider and it is short and sweet.  Just how we like our baby books. 
 Christmas Present Theme Sensory Bin:
In this bin: shredded christmas wrapping paper (I just cut up strips and ran it through our paper shredder, easy instant sensory bin filler!), small boxes, present bows

Aubrey filled and dumped and filled and dumped, a babies dream! Of course there were paper shreds everywhere afterwards, but nothing a good handheld vacuum couldn't take care of :)

Red and Green Magnet Play:
n this bin: jingle bellsMagnatilesmagnet wands, mini ornaments, pipe cleaners, pom poms

 Candy Swirl Painting:
These paintings were super easy to do. First, I filled a shallow tray (thanks Target dollar spot!) with shaving cream (you could use foam soap too). Then I added a few dots of red/green watercolor paint. (Note this is NOT taste safe so keep a close on on those curious little hands!) Aubrey used a paintbrush to swirl the colors around, then she gently placed a white cardstock circle on top and patted it. I pulled it off of the shaving cream, then used a craft stick to push all of the excess cream off and reveal a swirled design. We made a bunch then allowed them to dry. After they dried we glued 2 wrapper pieces to the sides.
 Felt Christmas Tree:
I made this little tree for Madelynn when she was just a year old and it's still going strong.  She loves to stick and decorate her tree, and it saves the real tree from being man handled on the daily (well...at least a little bit.) You can buy a premade version or make your own with cut up felt, puffy paint, some hot glue and buttons.
Sticky Window Christmas Tree:


Our last activity of the week was Aubrey and big sister approved! I drew a large Christmas tree on the non-sticky side of a sheet of contact paper and stuck color ornaments to the tree so the color side will show through the paper when it is taped sticky side out. After taping it to the window, Aubrey went to town sticking mini pom poms to the ornaments and sticky paper. To complete the tree she added green paper shreds to fill in some texture.
If you are looking for all of the plans and printables for this week's theme I will be posting them soon! If you'd like to be notified as soon as they are available please subscribe to my newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) and/or join our Tot School and Preschool Facebook group here:

Check out all of our Baby Bin themes here:
September:

October:

November:

December:

January:

February:
TriangleRectangleValentines

It's finally time for my favorite theme of the year...CHRISTMAS! Baking cookies, decorating trees, making gingerbread houses, shopping for friends and family, there's so much to do this time of year! But I love that we are able to slow down and spend a little bit of time each day learning together.  So grab a cup of hot cocoa and check out 2 weeks worth of Christmas themed learning ideas to try out with your littles.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for Christmas week 1:

And here are the details for each activity:
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell Retelling:
 Our first read aloud was There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro. After reading, I taped a picture of the little old lady to a wipe container then gave Madelynn pieces from the story. She fed them to the little old lady while retelling the story in order.
Santa Duck Predictions:
 Our next story was Santa Duck by David Milgrim. Before reading, we practiced making predictions.
I asked "After looking at the cover, what do you think this story will be about?" 
Madelynn: "The duck is going to deliver the presents." 
Then I asked: "What makes you say that?" 
Madelynn: "Because he is dressed like Santa, so maybe Santa is sick."
Polar Bear Problem & Solution:
 Our next story was The Polar Bear Who Saved Christmas by Fiona Boon. Before reading we discussed and defined problem. We talked about how every story usually has a problem or something that goes wrong. After reading, Madelynn drew and labeled the problem in the story (Dasher had a broken leg.) Then we talked about and drew how the problem was solved (The polar bear helped fly the sleigh.)
 Merry Christmas, Mouse! Numbers:
Next we read the counting book, Merry Christmas Mouse! by Laura Numeroff. To practice counting and number words, I printed number and ornament cards from the story and cut out a large tree from construction paper. Madelynn stuck the numbers and ornaments onto a large tree in order to retell the story and practice counting.
   Tracking Print:
Our last book was this letter C alphabet reader. Madelynn identified the picture then pointed to each word as she read. Afterwards she colored all of the pictures in.
 Christmas Salt Tray:
Our first literacy activity this week was a Christmas themed salt tray.  To make this fun Christmas salt I mixed 1/2 cup salt with 1 tsp of red glitter. Madelynn used Christmas tree letter cards as a model and chose which ones she wanted to practice.  To add a bit more fun, we used plastic candy canes for writing letters too.
 Christmas Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make a C. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase c's in the Christmas tree, stamp them and make the "C" sound each time.  We also talked about how C makes 2 sounds. Soft C says /s/ like "circle" and hard C says /c/ like "Christmas."
Syllable Christmas Trees:
Madelynn is loving our light pad lately, something about it's glow just always gets her engaged right away. I placed our clear tray on top of 2 light pads (You could use just one, but I grabbed an extra one since they are pretty cheap. We like the extra glow, and 2 fit perfectly under our large tray.) Then I printed Christmas trees with pictures on the stumps.  Madelynn chose a tree, and clapped the syllables in the picture on the stump. I showed her how to count the syllables by putting up one finger for each clap, and she added that many colored bingo chip ornaments to the tree.
 Elf Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created this adorable elf.  First Madelynn cut the elf pieces out. Then she traced the letters in her name on each stripe. We chose to do first and last name this week, but you could do just first name on one leg and plain stripes on the other. After she finished writing, she glued the elf pieces together and added the stripes to the legs in order to spell her name. 
 Christmas Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw, decorate, and label a Christmas tree. After working hard on all the details, I encouraged her to label her picture. She wrote C for Christmas (which really impressed me since usually she only uses K for the /k/ sound) and TT for tree.
 Santa Count and Color:
To continue working on counting and identifying numbers, Madelynn worked on this color by code activity. Madelynn counted the dots then had to follow the directions to make each spot the correct color.  She is getting pretty fast at counting the groups of 6-10 dots so we will have to switch up our math skill soon!
  Christmas Positional Word Cut and Paste Book:
This week we focused on positional words in math. For our first activity, I created this simple printable book with cut out pieces.  On each page I used a different positional word (above, below, behind, next to, between, etc.) and Madelynn cut and glued the Christmas themed items in the correct spot on each page.
 Where is Santa?
For this positional word game I made printable Christmas items and positional word direction cards. (We also plan to use these cards again with the pieces from our Little People Advent Calendar but we haven't opened all the doors yet ;)  Madelynn chose a card then put Santa in the correct position, easy peasy.
   Christmas Positional Word Drawing Book:
This book is very similar to our cut & paste book, except Madelynn had to draw the missing parts instead of gluing them.  On each page Madelynn followed the directions to practice positional words and complete the Christmas themed picture. (Ex: Draw stripes ON the candy canes, draw a reindeer NEAR the sleigh.)
 Christmas Number Mats:
We used these mats for LOTS of math practice this week. First, Madelynn identified the large number. Then she made it with play dough and counted the ornaments in the ten frame. Next, she used a dry erase marker to practice writing the number, and finally counted out red and green pom poms to make the correct amount.
 Fill Santa's Sack:
For some science fun I set up this force and motion activity for Madelynn to experiment with. It was really easy to set up.  I taped Santa to a paper lunch bag, set up a small ramp with a flat board and a small container, then taped the bag to the edge of the table so the ramp would empty into it. Madelynn gathered a bunch of small toys then tested to see which toys rolled and which toys did not. Finally she sorted them onto the mats.
Red & Green Magnet Play:
In this bin: jingle bellsMagnatiles, magnet wands, mini ornaments, pipe cleaners, pom poms

Candy Cane Swirl Painting:
These paintings were super easy to do. First, I filled a shallow tray (thanks Target dollar spot!) with shaving cream. Then I added a few dots of red/green watercolor paint. Madelynn used a paintbrush to swirl the colors around. Then she gently placed a white cardstock circle on top and patted very lightly. She pulled it off of the shaving cream, then I helped her use a craft stick to push all of the excess cream off and reveal a swirled design. We made a bunch then allowed them to dry. After they dried we glued 2 wrapper pieces to the sides.
 Dot Stamp Ornaments:
Madelynn still loves the little felt tree that I made for her when she was a baby, so I figured it was time to add a few new decorations. I printed ornament outlines on cardstock. She covered the outline with a few strips of washi tape then used dot markers to stamp and color the remaining spaces. After peeling the tape, she cut the ornament out and I laminated it (to protect it from sassy little sisters). We added a Velcro dot t each one and stuck them on our felt tree.

Sticky Window Christmas Tree:
Our last activity of the week was Madelynn and baby sister Aubrey approved! I drew a large Christmas tree on the non-sticky side of a sheet of contact paper and stuck color ornaments to the tree so the color side will show through the paper when it is taped sticky side out. After taping it to the window, Madelyn went to town matching mini pom poms to the ornaments and sticking them to the paper. To complete the tree she added green paper shreds to fill in some texture.

That's it for this week, but there is more Christmas fun to come in Christmas week 2!

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:

And that's it for this week. I can't wait to share all of our learning and fun with you this year! Here are our tentative plans for weekly themes if you want to follow along!
September:

October: 

November:
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