Entertain My Toddler

Play, Learn & Motherhood

  • Kari McManamon

The target dollar section strikes again! These little gingerbread houses were so much fun to make. The kids having been playing with them now for weeks. I had originally wanted to fizz them with baking soda and vinegar, but I couldn't bring myself to ruin them.

In this post I'll walk you through how I made them and how my kids have been playing with them.

*this post may contain affiliate links where I make a small commission at no charge to you*

How I made them

I started off by painting them with my favorite acrylic paint. Once they were dry I used a chalk marker to outline the roof and door. I hot glued on some pom poms I had lying around and voila! Easy peasy gingerbread houses. For how much the kids have played with them I'm impressed as to how well the pom poms have stayed on.


Wooden houses


Chalk markers

Hot glue gun

Pom poms

If my kids ask, I didn't actually make these houses, Yellow the Elf did. I (he) worked on them while the kids were sleeping so they had no idea. I'm all about simple elf on the shelf ideas so after the gingerbread houses were finished I sat Yellow next to them for the kids to find! Max was so excited to find these houses in the morning. Evelyn doesn't really understand what's going on with elf yet. Maybe next year.

So lets get to talking about how we played with them!

Small world play

My mom had just given us this sweet red Christmas house so the gingerbread houses made the perfect addition. There was stuff scattered all over the table! Max had so much fun playing with this Christmas set up. I don't have any photos of it but some superheroes showed up to the party too! I love watching their imaginations soar with small world set ups. It's so cute listening to the storyline they make up.

Light the house

This was a fun fine motor activity that was played over and over again. I had found these little Christmas lights from a craft store and they fit perfectly inside the houses. I gave Evelyn a bowl of them and told her to light the house up! She had fun picking out different colors and placing them in the windows.

These houses were super fun to make and I hope I can find more in the dollar section at Target. Let me know in the comments the fun finds you've found at Target this holiday season.

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  • Kari McManamon

Play dough is one of our favorite plays. It's something I enjoy as much as the kids. We have had a lot of fun making some Christmas themed play dough plays. Check them out below!

Play Dough Cookies

Christmas always brings out the cookie baking! We've found more use for these cookies cutters than just edible cookies. They make the perfect play dough stamps! Max probably sat here for an hour "making" cookies. If you follow us on instagram he made a cute video on stories talking about how he made these for his Grammas and Papas for the holidays. He was having a blast! This activity is easy to set up and has been set up over and over again.

Jingle Bell Balance

This is another super easy activity to set up and is great for fine motor skills. Stick some golf tees in play dough and have your child try and balance a jingle bell on top. We did this over the summer with pom poms and it was fun to make a festive version. My kids are 4 & 2 and are both able to do this (just keep a close eye as jingle bells can be a choking hazard if your child likes to put things in their mouth) The look of concentration in these photos is priceless! I love watching their little minds work.

Play Dough Presents

This activity was super fun and Evelyn played for dayssss! I wrapped little wooden toys in play dough and put a pipe cleaner bow on top to look like a present. She opened them over and over again. If you check out my instagram you can see how we turned it into a learning game!


The possibilities for this activity are endless! Since it's Christmas time I chose 3 ways to decorate in a festive way. Ornaments, ugly sweater and a Christmas tree.

For the ornaments I mixed in some Christmas mini erasers. My kids love shoving mini erasers in play dough. These wooden ornaments are a nice little base to play on. We did this at Halloween with wooden pumpkins The ugly sweater I cut out with a knife and paired it with little plastic Christmas pieces. If you use a kitchen towel you can press down on the play dough to give it a sweater look. Kind of hard to tell in this photo. A knife was also used to shape the tree. I gave the kids lights and jingle bells to decorate. We have used these little lights in a lot of activities lately. Activities like these help spark imagination and are great for fine motor skills.

*this post may contain affiliate links. By shopping I can earn a small commission at no cost to you*

For more toddler and preschool activities follow us on Instagram and Pinterest!

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  • Kari McManamon

After an instagram poll, you guys wanted some stocking stuffer ideas!

These are my Top 9 picks of gifts that will stuff your stocking!

*click the images to shop! These are affiliate links. I do make a small commission at no charge to you*

  1. Play Dough accessories

There are many different options when it comes to play dough toys. Wooden, plastic, stamps, you name it! These would be great for a stocking stuffer surprise.

2. Number Popsicles

Who wouldn't want a stocking full of popsicles! These are one of my favorites toys to recommend. They are great for fine motor skills, colors, and numbers. My kids also pretend play ice cream shop with them.

3. Stickers

Stickers are always being played with in our house. I literally find them everywhere! The kids love them and they are the perfect little treat for inside your stocking. Sticker books are great too. You can make different scenes with them and re use the stickers. The foam stickers can double as a learning activity. You can practice letters and name recognition.

4. Mini animals

My kids love animals and little figures. They will play with them in play dough or wrap them up in foil and open them like a present! They make great bath tub toys and you can even hide them in easter eggs around the house for a fun hide and seek game.

5. Tattoos

Did you know that you can transfer temporary tattoos onto rocks!? You can!! We love using tattoos this way. It helps create a fun sensory and imaginative play for them. And of course, they still love wearing them too!

Here's an example of the tattoos on rocks!

6. Chalk markers

Chalk markers have been a new favorite of ours. If you follow us on instagram you may have seen in stories how the kids use them to color the windows. Our back sliding door is a constant easel but with the markers being washable I let them go to town! I recommend the Chalkola brand since they are washable. If you use the code ENTERTAIN10 you can get 10% off your purchase!

7. Toothbrushes

Yes, I said toothbrushes! Maybe my kids are odd but they love getting a new toothbrush. It doesn't matter if it's dinosaur shaped, plain, or character themed, they love them! And if your child doesn't like brushing their teeth, maybe getting a fun new toothbrush from Santa could help. The first ones I'm going to share with you are probably my kids favorite. They look like crayons and they have a suction cup on the bottom to make them stand. We have them on constant re order through amazon subscriptions.

8. Water books

These books are great to bring out during car rides. You fill the marker with water and then as you color, a picture appears. It dries and then you can use them again and again. My son loves these and they keep him occupied.

9. Water balloons

I know what you thinking, it's winter, who needs water balloons. Even if you live somewhere cold you know you're going to get that one nice day and you'll thank me for having them. While water balloons are short lived they bring kids so much joy! These ones you can connect straight to the hose and fill up in seconds!

I hope you enjoyed our Top 9 stocking stuffer gift ideas! Post your favorite in the comments below.

Check out my friday favorites tab on instagram for more gift ideas!

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