Christmas tree

The Christmas tree is up in the window and the twinkle lights shine as my kids dance around the tree decorating in their cluttered way to favorite Christmas songs. This to me is the best part about Christmas. 

Sure Christmas morning is fun. I like watching my kids and family open their presents and of course I love Christmas surprises. The best part of the holiday for me, however, is the preparation.

The carols and the lights.

The trees and the shopping.

And the decorating. My kids love the decorating most of all.

The Christmas tree is one of our favorite family traditions so it has inspired a lot of holiday crafting. I use the word “Christmas Craft” lightly because most of what we do is too open ended to really be considered a craft, but our house is filled with Christmas activities lately. From Christmas Tree Ornaments to Jingle Bell Crafts, the inspiration to create is popping up everywhere.

Today I thought I would share just our very favorite Christmas Tree books and activities. Make sure to check the bottom of the post for more Winter Holiday ideas for kids as well.

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Christmas Tree Story Time for Preschoolers

Our story times always have the same parts; We start with a hello song. Next, I read 2-3 books about a topic with a rhyme/song and group activity that works on a developmental goal in between each book. We end with a goodbye song and then head to the table. At the table there is an invitation of some sort that works on another one of the developmental skills they are building. These elements are all below so you can move them around into whatever order works for you!

Sing Hello

Read Christmas Tree Picture Books

The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel
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This book tells the story of the first tree in Rockefeller Center. It is a beautiful story about hope and Christmas that I discovered a few years ago. I shared it with our kids for the first time after their first New York adventure and it inspired our Kid-Made Ornament last year.

The Christmas Giant by Steve Light
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Steve Light is one of those authors that can’t seem to do wrong in my book. In this lovely tale, the giant and elf that are in charge of creating Christmas wrapping paper (apparently that’s a job) are down because their job for the year is done. Santa decides to put them in charge of growing the holiday tree for Christmastown which turns out to be a complicated and sometimes hazardous job. 4+

The Last Christmas Tree by Stephen Krensky
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A Christmas tree lot is bursting with trees but none are more excited about the season than a tiny, pathetic tree. Days go by and no one notices the tree. Christmas Eve it is deserted and alone until suddenly it is picked and placed in a sled. Beautifully illustrated and full of Christmas spirit. 3+

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Sing Christmas Tree Songs

The Christmas Tree Song from Kids TV 123

The Dancing Christmas Tree Song from Kids TV 123

Three Christmas Trees from Maple Leaf Learning

Decorate a Tiny Tree Group Activity

This little tree I bought on a complete whim in a little store in Wisconsin and it has been one of our favorite things every year. The ornaments are simple yarn ornaments and pom poms with ornament hooks that my kids can decorate and re-decorate their tree with as often as they like. It sits in their playroom during the month of December and usually gets played with daily.

Materials:

Small Christmas Tree
Red Yarn
Pom Poms
Ornament Hooks

Activity:

Pass around ornaments to each child. Invite them to come up and hang them on the tree. This is surprisingly difficult for some depending on their fine motor skills. Offer help if needed by talking them through the steps of preparing the hook, finding  a branch, and setting it on the branch.

Alternative Option:

If you don’t have a little tree, you can do a wall tree with felt. Make a large tree out of felt on the wall. Prepare felt ornaments and give these to the children to put on the tree.

Sing Goodbye

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2 Christmas Tree Table Activities

1. Invitation to Create Christmas Trees

I shared this one originally on Instagram when it popped into my head one afternoon. This is an invitation to create Christmas Trees with Magna-tiles and Loose Gems. I simply separated out the green trianges from our Magna-Tiles set and placed them on the Light Table with some gems.

Materials:

Light Table (order online)
Magna-Tiles (order online)
Glass Gems (order online)

Alternative:

You could also create a version with construction paper and various collage pieces if you don’t have a light table available in your space.

2. Christmas Tree Painting Invite

This one was inspired by the amazing Meri Cherry. She has this gorgeous, bright Christmas tree mural on her site and when I saw it I was immediately inspired. I had the idea of Christmas tree painting floating around in my mind and something about her project in a tub gave me the push I needed. I laid this out for my kids and they were huge fans. Our Art Wall is now covered with trees.

Materials:

Tree Base: Styrofoam or Cardboard
Tempera Paint
Paint Cups
Paint Brushes
Loose Parts: Cotton Balls, Construction Paper, etc.
Large Tub

Note: Parts of this post were originally shared on my parent site Bambini Travel in 2015.

Even More Winter Holiday Activity Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Stationary {9 Page Free Printables Pack} from Playdough & Popsicles

Festive Christmas Scavenger Hunt {Free Printable} from Crafty Mama in ME

Favorite Children’s Books about Santa from The Jenny Evolution

Holiday Learning Activities from iGameMom

Books about Christmas Elves for Kids from CraftCreateCalm

My Favourite Winter Holidays from Tales of Education at Home

Printable Christmas Cards to Color from Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading

STEM Gifts for Kids from Schooling a Monkey

Winter Holidays Family Activities List from Planet Smarty Pants

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