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Outdoor fun in December

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By Jean EvansEarly Years consultant and author

Enjoy the magic of Christmas with these activities, which anticipate the arrival of Father Christmas and his reindeers

Activities in this article:

Midnight journey


Spread out a large sheet of dark blue fabric on the floor and invite the children to stand around it and throw white or silver fabric stars onto it. Explain that you are all going to pretend to be Father Christmas getting ready for his midnight journey. Mime appropriate actions, such as packing sacks and loading them on to the sleigh, preparing the reindeer, putting on a cloak and boots. Choose a child to be Father Christmas getting on his imaginary sleigh in the middle of the fabric. Invite the others to grip the sides of the fabric and wave it gently up and down to represent the journey through wind, stars and snow, while Father Christmas holds on tightly to imaginary reins. Allow time for others to take on this role.

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Peculiar pudding

Peculiar pudding contents

Children will have great fun in your outdoor sand area making this sparkly pretend ‘pudding’ while also focusing upon rhyming words. You will need a large bowl and wooden spoon, as well as a bowl of small coloured beads, a pot of large sequins and a selection of small objects that rhyme, such as; bell/shell, car/star, pen/toy hen, toy dog/frog. Explain to the children about the tradition of making a Christmas pudding and putting coins in it, then making a wish while stirring the mixture. Encourage children to mix a ‘peculiar pudding’ full of things that rhyme into a bowl full of sand ‘pudding mixture’. Invite them to tip beads and sequins into the large bowl and stir the mixture around with in the sand. Take turns to identify two rhyming objects and stir them into the pudding saying: Stir the pudding in the dish/ With a bell and shell I’ll make a wish.

More winter fun

Invite your children outside to enjoy more wintery, Christmassy outdoor activities, with a great range of fun ideas, available to subscribers from our web resource bank

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Help Rudolph find his bells!

Jingle bells

Prior to going into your outdoor area, hide a set of hand-held jingle bells. Prepare a reindeer-shaped letter from Rudolph asking the children for their help. Explain that Rudolph has lost his bells and needs them to be found before Christmas Eve, so that Father Christmas will be able to hear him fly through the skies while they deliver presents. Suggest that the children go searching in your outdoor area to try to help Rudolph. Go hunting! When the bells are found, make a circle and pass around the bells, jingling them as you all sing the song ‘Jingle bells’.

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Down the chimney

Father Christmas going down a chimney

Can Father Christmas get all the presents down the chimneys? Arrange five buckets or tall bins at intervals around your outdoor area that will represent the chimneys on different houses. You could even chalk the houses surrounding them on the ground. Father Christmas will need a sack full of ‘presents’, represented by five sponge balls. Can Father Christmas manage to get the ‘presents’ down the chimneys successfully? Keep a score of how many ‘presents’ children are able to deliver into the chimneys.

Great outdoor fun ideas!

Outdoor fun articles on the Nursery Ed PLUS website

Discover even more great outdoor fun ideas suitable for every season and weather in our web resource bank.

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Images: Snowflake © © Trigg; Car © ollo; Star © Evgeny Terentev. both; Bells © Bentley; Chimney © Carlos Torres