Sunday, November 27, 2011

Interactive Montessori-Inspired Christmas Display!

In our home, the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally spent decorating the house for Christmas and it's also one of my favorite days of the year! Since having Tyler, the day is even more magical. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a young child is a beautiful thing!

I created a Christmas-themed display last year as well, and though there are similarities, the activities have certainly grown with Tyler! The only thing this display is missing is a matching snow scene outdoors. Back home in upstate New York they've already had some of the white stuff, and though it's odd to decorate for Christmas when it's 65 degrees outside, I can't say I miss it yet!

Christmas Display 2011! There are other pieces of it around the living room that I'll show as well.

This is one of the works in the display which uses large fill-able ornaments and jingle bells. Ty adores the moose, and "moose" is his new word thing to say! He could care less about the snow man.
He unzips the back of the ornament, puts the jingle bells in, then zips it back up.
Then it's time to shake the moose and make lots of festive noise! Afterwards, he removes the bells and puts them back in the box. Sometimes moose heads back into the basket, but more often Ty plays with it and carries it around with him.

Ty's little Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments which he practices taking off carefully. After it tipped over a few times due to his rough pulling I can say he truly learned to be gentle! He also has a box with puff balls in it for putting in his tree. It's much easier than hanging the ornaments with their difficult little strings. I believe I got that idea from another blogger last year but can't remember who (if it's you let me know!) 

Tyler helped take everything out of the Christmas boxes and enjoyed exploring all of his "new" stuff. He especially adored this felt doll ornament. Precious.

This is a bin of his Christmas and winter-themed books. Our favorites are

The Mitten by Jan Brett
That's Not My Snowman by Usbourne Touchy Feely Books  
Little Tree by Chris Raschka (with poem by e.e. cummings)
The 12 Days of Christmas illustrated by Hilary Knight
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer   
Caldecot Winner, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
On a side note, "Owl Moon" is really special as it's autographed and dedicated to Tyler by the author. The author is a friend of our writer friend, Kate Messner! Kate is the (award winning) author of seven outstanding, well-reviewed children's books with two more on the way. I can't wait to add her new picture book "Over and Under The Snow" to our collection! It's a New York Times notable! Excuse the tangent but her books are well worth checking out!

 These classic Christmas toys were gifts from my parents last year and are such a lovely addition to the display!
Ty didn't care to try turning the jack in the box handle by himself last year, and I have to say it's a little tricky for him as he prefers his left hand, but this morning he mastered it!

His genuine look of surprise when Tigger pops up is priceless!
Getting Tigger back in is more difficult as you have to be willing to close your hand in the door a bit, but he almost has that down today as well. He is almost completely done with having to come ask us for help with this which I can tell feels good to him!

He is doing great with the top as well, though he has had that in and out of rotation all year as he loves it so much!

I added a basket of pine cones to the display this morning. We'll likely be doing projects with these soon.

Ty really enjoys watching the lights I wrapped all around the window! Luckily he hasn't tried pulling them down. He didn't last year, so here's to hoping he will keep with that trend!

This little work was created while we were emptying Christmas boxes. Tyler really enjoys tonging anything he can! Here he tongs little glittery ornaments into a Christmas tin. This now sits on his shelf.  

Removing and hanging small stockings from these holders is another work that Tyler enjoys!
He soon discovered an easier way to "hang" the stockings as well. He was quite thrilled with himself as you can see in the photo!

He also enjoys putting the stockings on his hands like mittens. More practical life, right?!

I hung a Christmas scene (dollar store window clings) on the dining room window for him to look at. We worked on labeling the pictures for vocabulary building and I'm sure he'll figure out how to remove them from the window and replace them as he sees fit, which will be great! I'd show him how to now but these things only stay sticky for so long...I hope they'll last through Christmas.

I also added a Santa hat to his dress up. Instant hit!

Ty has really enjoys the display and Christmas works created so far. He spends a lot of time playing in his display. The morning after we made it he must have forgotten about it because he came around the corner after breakfast and ran to it saying "Yeah! Yeah!". You would have thought it was already Christmas morning!

Linking-up with some fabulous blogs with many more great ideas!: Living Montessori Now, 1+1+1=1, and Living Life Intentionally!


  1. I love the ornament fun! I am your newest follower. I'd love for you to follow me back, if you want to =-) I also wanted to invite you to link up to my TGIF Linky Party- -
    Beth =-)

  2. I think it's neat how you put Christmas themed activities all over the room for him to discover and enjoy. The little Christmas tree of his own is too cute!

  3. What kind of tongs do you have/where did you get them? We have a couple pairs, but I/we have not been thrilled by them.

  4. Thank you ladies!

    Kylie, I bought them at Hobby Lobby in the seasonal section last spring. They actually had some things that I felt were more "spring-like" when I went last week but there weren't any tongs. I hope you can find some good ones soon!

  5. I LOVE your interactive Christmas display! What a perfect way for Tyler to work on motor skills, have lots of fun, and create wonderful memories! I featured your post and photo in my Montessori-Inspired Christmas Activities post at

  6. Very fun! I love his face when the jack in the box pops up!

  7. Love it! Everything is just perfect!! Thank you so uch for sharing.
    Discovering Montessori

  8. I love little learning nooks and displays like this. wonderful!

  9. It is just great!! :)

  10. This is so lovely! We just moved out loveseat in front of our bay window and I am not wishing we didn't! Mommy may need to do some rearranging - I love this idea so much!

  11. Whenever I decorate different holidays I make sure to put things down at their level that they can touch and play with. I love that you took that idea to the next level. Thanks for sharing...visiting from TGIF linky party.

  12. Your son must be having SOOO much fun! My daughter also wants me to make sure I tell you that this is gorgeous. :)

  13. What a wonderful idea!! I love your Christmas activity area, such fun ideas!!