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Step into Christmas with Pentagon Play!

Christmas Ideas for you and your kin this festive season!

Christmas is such a busy time,  there are presents to wrap, stockings to fill, glitter to scatter and don’t forget the small task of making sure your children are performance ready!

Having said this, Christmas is a magical time, excitement is high and wonderful Christmas traditions can be made as a family.

a team pentagon meeting gathered around a table with a whiteboard showing a presentation whilst dressed in Christmas attire

We’re very excited for Christmas here at Pentagon Play and hope this handy activity guide may be useful during the festive period.

Awaken the senses with Water Play!

A Water Table or tub can be turned into a festive, sensory tray, perfect for exploration with the addition of a few simple items.

Try adding pine cones, orange slices, cranberries and some sprigs of rosemary.

Children will have so much fun scooping and pouring into different sized containers.

children play with water on the tuff spot tray ith test tubes and balls

Pupils’ accuracy will improve as they try not to let their festive drinks overflow!

Ice could be added to a water tray along with some plastic arctic animal figures.

Children will enjoy watching them slip and slide and then fishing them from the water. Animal figures could be sent down Pentagon’s Water Channels as they race to the finish line!

two children playing with the water channels whilst being supervised by a teacher

Children will learn to work as part of a group as they develop their imagination and creativity.

Clear baubles that can be filled are an interesting resource to use at the water table. Children can fill them with different coloured water and glitter.

They can compare which containers can hold the most water and mathematical vocabulary such as full/empty, more/less and heavy/light will be used.

Develop Christmas Curiosity at the Sand Box

Sand boxes are a brilliant resource for hiding items and playing games in, which can help to strengthen pupils’ knowledge in many curriculum areas.

A selection of baubles with key words written on them can be placed in the sand box. Children can race to retrieve the baubles and once they have read the word, they can place the bauble on to a Christmas tree.

two chldren in turquoise uniform sit in the sand pit and play with sand and look up at the camera

Baubles can be found in the sand box and then sorted into groups depending on the sound they contain, words containing the digraphs ay, a-e and ai could be read, discussed and grouped into three piles, which is useful when discussing spelling patterns.

Water can be added to the sand box and pupils will enjoy using their senses to explore changes. Children can select their own equipment and instead of snowmen can build some sandmen using buckets!

children gather around a sand pit and play with buckets and spades

This will help them to develop manipulative skills and to talk about the size and shape of buckets and spades. As children add pebbles for eyes and buttons and sticks for arms they are counting and describing shapes.

The sand box is an ideal place for children to begin mark making.

children in shorts and t-shirts run around in the sand pit with spades and buckets

Parents could draw a Christmas tree shape in the sand which children could fill with decorations involving wiggly, wavy, straight, zig zag and round lines.

They can use their fingers or natural materials to make repeating patterns.

Patterns can even be made as sand falls out of different containers and funnels which children will like to explore.

children in winter coats sit around the sliding sand pit with buckets and spades and fill their buckets with sand

Explore a Fantasy World through Dramatic Play

Children imitate people around them by recreating scenes from everyday life and acting out familiar roles. From this, imaginative play develops as they incorporate narrative into their play.

Dramatic play is key to language development, speaking and listening skills play an important part and children experiment with new vocabulary they have acquired at school.

Pentagon’s Giant Playhouse can be transformed into a Christmas themed living/dining room. Plates can be set for Christmas dinner and food can be made from playdough.

two little girls in red school uniform and they draw on the chalkboard with chalk and one sits and smiles at the camera

Children will have great fun making sure the house is neat and tidy for Christmas by dusting, mopping and brushing!

Your little learners could write their own dinner menus and decorate the space for the season including hanging stockings by the fire and decorating the tree. Christmas crackers and hats could even be made ready for the big celebration!

three children in red school unfiorm gather under the playhouse in front of the chalkboard and draw on the board with chalk

Our popular Lookout Cabin would make a perfect Christmas themed post office. Children can get creative writing, posting and decorating their own letters to Father Christmas.

Christmas cards can be made and wrapping paper can be decorated by stamping plain paper with cookie cutters. A selection of cardboard boxes can be weighed and compared and money can be exchanged.

children run up and down the steps of the lookout cabin playing with their friends

The cabin is truly the best place in the playground to spot the post man making his journey back!

Den Making Posts would make a fantastic, chilly Christmas igloo. With the addition of white blankets and cushions, fairy lights and stuffed animals, pupils will have a cosy reading den or a wonderful play space that will inspire writing.

children gather around the den making posts and strign rope through the holes creating a den

Fun with Playdough!

From my experience, most children love playdough. Playing with play dough can be a relaxing, creative, open-ended activity that develops fine motor skills and creativity.

children gather around the tuff spot table and play with toy dinosaurs and messy play items

A Tuff Spot table or Construction Table would give groups of pupils plenty of space to explore this material together.

Children can use a variety of tools: rolling pins and cutters create gingerbread shapes which can be decorated with various loose parts such as buttons, dried pasta and gems.

Playdough is brilliant for introducing cutting skills. Rolls of playdough can be made to look like Santa’s beard which children will enjoy trimming!

a little boy in a red coat stands assembling items at the construction table whilst taking to his friend in a navy coat

Themed playdough stamps can be made by gluing wooden craft shapes to cork tops which are the perfect shape and size for small hands to manipulate.

Pulling, squeezing, stretching, squashing, pinching and flattening dough is a fantastic hand workout for children, helping to develop motor skills and writing readiness.

a child stands between a giant white board and a construction table drawing and building

At Christmas time the possibilities are endless, candy canes could be made by rolling pieces of red and white dough and plaiting them, key christmas vocabulary could be made by making dough letters or stamping letters into the playdough and snowflakes could be created where children have to add the correct number of coloured beads.

a little girl in a blue school dress sits and draws at a construction table with artiicial grass surfacing below

Snowman Bowling

Pupils can create snowmen by decorating white plastic cups with paper eyes and noses.

Once ready, the cups can be stacked on top of each other to form a pyramid shape. Working together, the family can take turns to throw a ball at the cups and count how many they knock down.

three children play with shapes and water whilst they look into a tub

You can even use mathematical vocabulary to discuss more/less and a running total can be kept which encourages practise of mental addition skills.

Coin Hunt

Each child can be given a chocolate coin with a number written on it. They must then travel and search the entire house to find the matching coin.

a little boy in a black and grey long sleeved top finds a coin in a brown sofa down the cushions

This can be useful to explore number bonds, multiplication and division facts or spelling patterns depending on the age of the children playing and can be played numerous times if coins are swapped between children before they eat them!

Sparkling Stars take to the Stage!

Music and singing together really makes Christmas a magical time!

When you see thirty faces singing beautifully, without inhibition, there usually isn’t a dry eye in the house!

two little boys stand on the stage and perform for their teacher who sits on an individual grass topped seats

Children really enjoy learning traditional carols such as ‘Jingle Bells’ and playing them with musical accompaniment.

Children could experiment with changing the words in known songs to create Christmas versions such as, ‘Five Christmas Puddings in a Bakers Shop.’

six children stand in front of a mud kitchen and gather around holding silver bowls with christmas puds in it

They could compose their own versions of popular Christmas songs such as ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ where different children could play different instruments.

Christmas themed charades is always a popular improvisation game or pupils could select an activity from a performance card for example: Can you act like an elf that is helping Santa to make the last Christmas gift? Can you act like Santa setting off on his sleigh?

children in black school uniform dance around on a blue saferturf performance stage

Get Creative Outdoors

An outdoor Whiteboard is a great addition to the playground at Christmas time.

Children can develop their communication skills by playing ‘Pin the nose on Rudolph’ and practise mark making with a game of Christmas Pictionary.

a class of children gatehr round a giant whiteboard and draw on there whilst being supervised by a teacher

Learners can write down the lyrics to their new, catchy Christmas hit or practise drawing the cover of their christmas card.

A weaving panel will produce a unique, collaborative piece of artwork as children work together to weave material, ribbon, tinsel, bells, and foliage through the panels whilst improving finger dexterity and perseverance.

children stand on the performance stage in green school and dance around for their classmates sitting on robinia perch benches watching

From all of us here at Pentagon Play we hope these suggested seasonal activities may help at this busy but brilliant time of year.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

our pentagon team gathered in a semi circle looking at the camera