The Christmas season is in full force! This is a magical time filled with stories, songs and traditions that will stay with your child for a lifetime. To save you some time and energy, we have already played many of the holiday apps and are prepared to recommend our favorite games, ebooks and educational apps.
The holidays also mean kids are home for school and always ready for a holiday-themed activity or two, so we have a few recommendations there as well! Each activity is not only fun, but has lots of little moments for learning.
Holiday Games for Kids
Peekaboo Presents is joyful app for playing holiday peekaboo. You’ll find a bouncing present waiting to be tapped. Kids enjoy the surprise of finding a new toy or holiday character waiting for them inside. Ideal for the youngest kids in your home as there is nothing motivating besides the highly repetitive surprises that await you.
Activity 1: Make a Pattern
Patterns are everywhere. The stripes in candy canes, the colored lights on the Christmas tree and in the words of our favorite holiday songs. Here are some ways you can add more patterning activities into your holiday fun.
Make patterns a part of your santa hat craft. Add a band or two at the bottom of the hat and have your child create a pattern using stickers or with thumbprints on one of the bands. On the second band, have your child show the same pattern in another way or let a sibling create a version of the pattern.
Try an ornament pattern. Cut out a simple circle to use as an ornament. Draw lines across the circle so your child sees clearly defined rows. On each line of the ornament your child creates a pattern. For young kids, that might be an “AB AB” pattern of stickers across each line. Older kids might create growing patterns starting with AB at the top of the circle and adding a B to each pattern as they move down the ornament.
Holiday Educational Apps for Kids
FirstWords Christmas will support your beginning reader in building winter holiday words, sound by sound. For children already blending sounds, First Words Christmas becomes an app for practicing spelling. Parents can set up the appropriate environment for their child by adjusting the variety of settings. Thematic words paired with colorful pictures for young children and options for parent customization are what make this app a success.
Starfall Snowman practices counting from 1 to 10 with three varied activities. Listen to a snowman story and follow the directions to dress a snowman. Practice counting while singing along with 10 little snowmen. Practice matching numbers to quantities and colors to color words with the memory match games. We like how this app can be played independently or be a lot of fun to use with a friend.
Starfall Gingerbread is a creative way to learn about shapes and patterns. Children learn shapes as they are prompted to decorate a boy or girl gingerbread cookie with different shapes and colors, all done in a story format. Your child saves each gingerbread cookie creation on a baking sheet and then chooses a favorite cookie to run through a maze, jumping along on the same shape or on repeating shape patterns. Challenge is added as the maze changes each time you play.
Activity 2: Gingerbread Glyph
What You’ll Need:
• Gingerbread outline
• Glyph directions
• Coloring materials
A glyph is a fantastic activity for your child to show how well they follow directions while having a great time customizing their own Gingerbread boy.
The glyph directions guide kids step by step on ways to decorate their Gingerbread. You have to listen carefully. You use specific colors and shapes based on how you answer given questions. For example, if your child likes milk with her cookies she’ll draw a black nose, but your child likes hot cocoa he will draw a red nose.
Glyphs are fun for home, especially when kids get inspired to make their own glyph directions for the whole family to follow. In the classroom, glyphs are great activities that lead to discussions about graphing, more and less and are generally an ideal activity for reinforcing listening to directions.
Activity 3: Don’t Be a Grinch
What You’ll Need:
• Black and White Grinch picture
• Various art supplies you have in your home
Challenge your child to disguise the Grinch character! Think through together what other job the Grinch could have besides stealing Christmas. Using a black and white master copy of the Grinch, have your child decorate the paper with the new role the Grinch will play. Now you are ready to retell the story. Our young ones loved giving the Grinch the role of firefighter or police officer. (A much better life choice, don’t you think?)
Want a simpler activity? Here are few everyday objects you have around the home that work well for “coloring” in the Grinch without using crayons or markers:
• Tissue paper
• Rice (add some food coloring to liven up the rice from white)
• Ripped up construction paper or wrapping paper
• Fingerprint painting