We want to make Christmas as magical as possible for our little ones. Many Montessori schools and homeschools have a Montessori Christmas tree decorating activity that helps young children create part of the magic and develop fine-motor skills at the same time.
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Montessori Christmas Tree Decorating Activity for Preschoolers
I don’t have any Christmas decorations out yet … except for one, a Montessori Christmas tree decorating activity. This activity works especially well for preschoolers. Christmas lights are optional, but I love the way they add to the beauty of the season and create extra excitement.
I used an 18″ tree that would look good on a child-size table and could even be used on a tray. I used a Montessori Services basket for the ornaments. You could have separate baskets for tinsel, Christmas ball ornaments, or any other decorations you want to add.
Some Montessorians have the tree with bare branches so that the child decorates the tree, removes the decorations for the next child, and returns the tree to the shelf (if it’s on a tray). Because children love to admire their decorating work, I like to have the tree decorated in the beginning and have each child remove the ornaments, decorate the tree, and leave the decorated tree on the table (or shelf) to be admired until the next child decides to do the work.
I got an 18″ tree with burlap base. I cut a bit off the top to make it the height I liked.
I bought 2 of a 12-piece resin ornament set, although this isn’t the set in my main photo. That’s a set of ornaments I bought when I lived in England while getting my master’s degree, so I have no idea if they’re still available.
The resin ornaments have strings that are small and more difficult for toddlers to use. Also, if you have a toddler who still mouths objects, keep the ornaments up out of reach unless you’re directly supervising your toddler. These types of ornaments tend to have the strings come undone at times, so I have a hot glue gun available for repairs.
For the star, I bought a 2.25″ gold glitter star. I wouldn’t have this as part of a decorating activity because it would be difficult for preschoolers to get it to stay on the tree. I would add the star ahead of time and let the child/ren know it needs to stay on the tree.
I also don’t have the children add or remove the lights in a Montessori tree decorating activity. Those remain on the tree always. For lights, I bought a 50-Count White LED Micro Christmas Light Set that’s battery operated. I bought a battery-operated light set that would be super safe for a toddler. The battery compartment doesn’t open without a screwdriver. I’m not sure how long the batteries will last, though. I don’t leave the lights on very long for that reason. For preschoolers, you could use lights that plug in if they would be safe. I always use LED Christmas lights now because of their long life and their low temperature for safety.
Montessori-Inspired Christmas Tree Activity Variations for a Toddler
For a toddler, the Christmas tree activity is more of a Christmas tree un-decorating activity. It’s difficult for toddlers to put miniature ornaments with strings on a tree, and it’s still a great fine-motor activity for them to remove the ornaments from the branches.
For my 24-month-old granddaughter, Zoey, I had the tree already decorated for her. She enjoys taking the ornaments off the tree, admiring them, and putting them in the basket. As her fine-motor skills improve, she can decorate the tree as well.
Sometimes I vary the activity by using the resin ornaments. The resin ornaments are more difficult to remove from the tree, but Zoey is able to remove them. With the two sets of resin ornaments, she has fun matching the ornaments after they are all removed from the tree. I’ll probably use these ornaments for some of our phonetic sound activities at Christmastime, too.
Have a magical holiday season! 🙂
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