Nurturing Young Minds: 7 Child-Friendly Christmas Activities for Learning and Play

With Christmas just around the corner, finding activities which match children’s enthusiasm for the festive season, while encouraging them to think beyond what’s under the Christmas tree, can be difficult.

Published on December 22, 2023

Christmas is, after all, a season packed with treats and gifts - which makes the underlying messages of family and community spirit hard to emphasise. This is why we’ve created this blog, packed with ideas for child-friendly festive activities that bridge learning and play!

Here at My Ohana, there are many reasons why we seek to inspire children to think beyond Christmas gifts and embrace the meaning behind the season. For one thing, it allows our nursery settings to remain diverse and inclusive for all children, including those from different backgrounds, of different cultures and religions, and in different circumstances around festive traditions.

In addition, some of the activities listed below are intentionally designed to embrace the community spirit of Christmas, introducing children to the life skills and lessons that will help foster more positive relationships later in life.

Without further ado, here are seven activities that we love exploring with the children across our My Ohana nursery sites, bridging learning and playing with a deeper festive spirit.

1. Create Christmas cards for loved ones

There is no better gift for a grandparent or parent than a piece of art made at nursery – with Christmas cards an obvious go-to during the festive season. Embracing the simple power of a homemade gift, these cards encourage children to think outside the box in terms of creativity and their artistic skills and start to express themselves through personal messages for their loved ones.

2. Printed art using cut potatoes

This is a super fun activity for the simple fact that rather than using traditional art materials, children get to play with vegetables. You’d be amazed at how entertained the children are every time we tell them we’re making art out of potatoes – but the results speak for themselves!

3. Decorate Christmas cookies

Nutrition is a big part of our ethos and focus at My Ohana, with time in the kitchen one of the best ways of instilling healthy choices in children. Having said that, balance is everything (you heard it here first!) – and what better way to get them excited about enjoying a festive treat than by decorating Christmas cookies?

4. Write a letter to Santa!

With imagination a big part of both learning and play in young people, we love to encourage them to tell stories and talk about the things that they believe in – like Santa, Rudolph, and all his other reindeer friends!

One of the most immersive activities that inspires conversation and gets children involved at Christmas time, is writing letters to Santa Claus – encouraging them to think about what they want, what they need, and what they could ask for beyond toys under the tree. We’re not saying they have to ask Santa for world peace but encouraging them to consider things they would like to happen on a personal and world scale is an interesting way to nurture interests beyond toys and games.

5. Craft a nativity scene (or alternative for other cultures)

Religious studies is a subject that they are going to learn about in school, so why not start early with some insight into the classic nativity scene – or an alternative for other cultures and religions? This is something that we explore in different ways depending on the children and their personal beliefs and upbringings, though drawing, colouring, or recreating the nativity is a fun way to explore the individuals present and consider their motivations.

6. Recycle used toilet rolls into reindeer

Inspire young minds to think about the benefits of recycling and how making toys and decorations out of recycled goods can be good for the planet, by hosting craft workshops using everyday items like empty toilet rolls and kitchen rolls.

One of the easiest things to do, which requires little to no budget, is to go outside and find some small sticks, cut holes in the toilet roll and use the sticks to create legs and antlers. Voila – a homemade reindeer!

7. Make a DIY Christmas wreath

Okay, so a wreath made by a nursery school child is unlikely to withstand a whole season hung on your front door. But the idea of making one is a great way to get kids outside, asking them to collect items which they think are both festive and pretty.

One of the easiest ways to manage this activity is for each nursery to create one wreath as a group project, encouraging all the children to work together to make it beautiful – before hanging it on the door of the nursery for all the parents to see!

Christmas with My Ohana

Christmas is a time for family, and here at My Ohana, family is everything – including our name!

The perfect time for combining fun and immersive activities with subtle learning and skills development opportunities, we hope this blog has given you some insight into what our children do during the festive seasons. It might even inspire you to try some of these activities at home during the Christmas holidays!


We’ve been shortlisted for ‘Nursery Group Under 10 Settings’ in the National Day Nursery Awards 2022

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