For day 1 of Christmas Play Days, we have a Christmas pretend play activity. Fun-A-Day is so very excited to be teaming up with a few of my favorite ladies for this project. Fantastic Fun and Learning, Play Trains, My Nearest and Dearest, Buggy and Buddy, Nothing if Not Intentional! will be sharing ideas for open-ended Christmas FUN for the kiddos.
My first Play Day activity centers around Christmas pretend play. My preschool students enjoy pretend play, whether it’s a fantasy they’ve constructed in their imaginations or an idea based on real-life. So I thought I’d let them get into the spirit of the season with wrapping presents in our home center.
We have a little round table in our classroom home center, so I set up the goodies there. Here’s what I used for this activity (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Wrapping paper
- Small, empty boxes we had on-hand at school
- Kid scissors
- Jingle bells
- Glittery pompoms
- Colorful pony beads
- Craft jewels
- Red and green glass gems
There are so many things that I could have included here, but these items are what I had in the classroom or the school workroom. Honestly, just setting out empty boxes, wrapping paper, scissors, and tape would have been enough! I added the other items as possible “gifts” to be in the boxes.
How the Kids Played
Once everything was setup, a group of kiddos immediately swarmed the table! As always, I had a blast watching them delve right into “wrapping the presents”! Some of the children began by placing bits and bobs into the empty boxes.
Others started out by cutting the wrapping paper. I loved watching them work together to do this! One person held the roll of paper, another moved the edge of the wrapping paper out, and a third cut the desired length of the wrapping paper.
Some children decided to just wrap up the little bits and bobs! As one of the children pointed out, this was a little harder than wrapping a box — “these things just keep moving around, Miss Mary Catherine!” 🙂
No matter how they started out, in the end almost all of the children wrapped up at least one of the boxes. Some needed help while they did this, so they worked together or asked to borrow my fingers.
The boys and girls were very focused on wrapping those boxes up for about an hour! After that, we had to clean up for lunch. They asked if we could do this activity again “really, really soon . . . like next week!” So I think this was a hit!
Other Ways to Play
I’ve done this Christmas pretend play activity with some of my previous classes, and it’s always been well-received. While this class focused on the wrapping aspect of the play, other classes have explored differently. In the past, the kids have wrapped presents for friends, spent a ton of time unwrapping the gifts, hidden the presents around the classroom, pretended to be Santa Claus, acted out Christmas morning, created “jingle bell boxes”, etc. There are so many directions this simple idea can be taken!
The Importance of Pretend Play
Children get a lot out of pretending like this. Here are just some skills that were touched upon with this Christmas pretend play:
- Language/conversational skills
- Fine motor skills
- Turn-taking and sharing
- Imagination . . . thinking outside the box
- Exploration of their 5 senses
Christmas Play Days
Be sure to come back and check out the rest of my Christmas Play Days activities. There will be more on December 3 and December 5! Here are what my blogging buds are sharing today:
Ribbon Wreath Craft by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Simple Christmas Sensory Play by My Nearest and Dearest
Snowy Christmas Tree Small World by Buggy and Buddy
Recycled Toy Packaging Play Dough Molds from Play Trains
Healthier Gingerbread House Decorating by Nothing if Not Intentional
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
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