Entertain My Toddler

Play, Learn & Motherhood

  • 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!



 

Decorate

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.



 

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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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  • Kari McManamon

I don't think it's ever too early to introduce your child to phonics. I try and take their interests and add in learning wherever I can. Here are two simple activities you can try with your toddler.


  1. Sticker Phonics


This activity took under 5 minutes to set up. Evelyn loves playing with foam stickers (again, playing to their interest) I decided to use the Christmas stickers to aide a phonics game.


How I set it up

Using painters tape, I taped a large sheet of paper onto the wall. Then I wrote the letters "T""R""S""P" to match up with tree, Rudolph, Santa, and present. When Evelyn grabbed a sticker I told her the name of the sticker and what letter it started with. So when she picked up Santa I said "That is Santa. Santa starts with S. Can you find the letter S?" Then she would find the letter and stick the sticker to that letter. She found this very fun! You could also adapt this to an older child by asking them to find the letter sound instead of you telling them. It is what I had planned for my 4 year old but he had other plans that day!


Find the stickers here




 

2. Sensory Letter Search


This is another under 5 minute set up. I used some colored chickpeas and snowflakes as sensory base. I tossed some letters in and let her play.


Find the letters here


How to play

There really is no wrong way to play. Let your child explore. You can let them tell you the letters or you can ask. There letters are great with how colorful they are too. She would pick one up and sometimes say the letter and sometimes the color. Sensory play can really open up language opportunities. The best thing to do is play and have fun!


 

Want to know how I colored the chickpeas? Check out this linked blog post


Find more activities on our instagram page

Be sure to save to your Pinterest to find later!


*always supervise with small pieces

 


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