By Betsy McLeod
It’s hot outside, but you and your child will have a blast staying cool by celebrating Christmas in July! These fun Christmas-themed activities for you and your little ones use touch, smell, sound and taste to engage their imaginations and embrace the magic (and fun!) of the holiday season.
Taking a break from traditional summertime activities can give them memories to last a lifetime. And who knows? Maybe you’ll start your own Christmas in July tradition to be passed down for generations!
Let’s begin the day with a mystery. Tell your child that you have a secret Christmas present for them that they can open at the end of the day, but first they have to guess the super secret Mystery Christmas Symbol. This could be snowmen, bells, Christmas trees or even Santa himself.
And what is this present? Christmas PJs, of course! Who doesn’t love pajamas in a Christmas theme? Because they aren’t available year-round (and honestly are sometimes even hard to find in December), you may want to buy them online. Here’s a great place to find Christmas Pajamas all year round.
At the end of the day when your little tike has guessed the Mystery Christmas Symbol they get to open a beautifully wrapped Christmas-In-July gift: A brand-new pair of comfy, cozy Christmas pajamas… with your secret Christmas symbol printed on them!
It’s time to make Christmas cookies! Before you begin this activity, choose a recipe that requires plastic cookie cutters, and make sure you have adult supervision and a plastic cookie cutter in the Mystery Christmas Shape. Also be sure to hand-mix the dough, and keep little hands away from electric mixers and hot or sharp objects.
Using your favorite recipe, start by lining up the ingredients you will need on a platform low enough so your child can reach. Describe each container and shape of each object, and then have your child bring it to you and help add it to the mixture. Help your little one hand-mix the ingredients, taking time to have them feel and describe the different materials and shapes of the tools. For example, have them describe the thin wires of a whisk and the surface of the wooden spoon.
Roll the dough out onto your preparation surface and help your child use the plastic cookie cutter in the shape of their pattern on the pajamas. After your child has placed the shapes onto the baking sheet, bake as directed.
While the cookies are in the oven, it’s time to either make or play with Christmas play-dough! This activity for smell can be done in two ways: you can make your own scented Christmas play-dough that smells like festive herbs and spices, or you can use traditional play-dough with the assistance of scented oils or extracts.
Want to make your own dough? It’s actually really easy and lots of fun!
- You can find a great recipe for Christmas play-dough here
- Or for peppermint play-dough here
- Or another one for peppermint cloud here (same smell, totally different texture)
- And did you know that you can also make play-dough with Kool-Aid?
Hand-wash the plastic Christmas cookie cutters you used for the cookies and help your child use them on the rolled-out play-dough. As you help your child child cut out the shapes and roll the play-dough in his or her hands, have them tell you what scents they smell. If they can’t name one, describe the object in its original form. For example, if they are smelling pine scent but can’t name it, describe a pine tree. If they are smelling peppermint, describe a candy cane.
You love singing Christmas Carols with your little angels, and it’s time to belt out all your favorite Christmas-time hits! Choose songs that include your Mystery Christmas Symbol to help your child figure out what it is. For example, if the symbol is a snowman, sing “Frosty the Snowman,” or if it’s Christmas bells, sing “Jingle Bells.”
You can add more fun by prepping a few lidded containers with noise-making materials like bells, dry rice and beans to shake along to the music. You can find some great DIY musical instruments here.
It’s time for the most fun part of the day! During this activity your child will use their taste buds to help figure out the Mystery Christmas Symbol (if they haven’t already). Select a taste that would remind your child of the symbol, for example, if it’s a candy cane, use mint. For a snowman, use shaved ice, and for Santa use milk and cookies. You can continue this activity to include tastes that aren’t connected to the Mystery Christmas Symbol, but make sure your child knows which is which. You can also use the Christmas cookies you baked to have your child see if they can taste each of the festive spices you used.
After the day is done, it’s time for your child to relax in their new Christmas pajamas and listen to you read Christmas stories. Make sure to put on the sounds of Christmas, like a crackling fire or windy blizzard. Cozy up together and munch on some Christmas cookies, then hurry your little elf up to bed because who knows? Santa may surprise them with a Christmas visit in July!
And for more holiday-themed sensory activities, visit our Merry Sensory Christmas Pinterest Board.