Welcome to the 1st Day of our new 12 Days of Christmas Playdough series. Over the next few weeks, every other day (or so!) we will be sharing a dozen of my favourite Christmas playdough ideas that I created using the Christmas Sensory Mix and Match Activity Planner. Today’s playdough invitation is North Pole and Santa-Inspired!
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I’m sharing 2 very different North Pole inspired playdough ideas here today.
The first invitation to play, North Pole Playdough Small World, is more like a miniature world where your child can use the playdough as snow to create and explore the North Pole.
The second invitation, Santa’s Favourite Christmas Playdough, is a traditional Christmas invitation with an emphasis on creativity and fine-motor skills (with a little reading thrown in!).
North Pole Playdough Small World
You Will Need:
- White playdough – this recipe from The Imagination Tree creates a stark-white playdough perfect for pretend snow! OR just use our playdough recipe and leave it uncoloured
- Santa (and other appropriate) figurines – think reindeer, Mrs. Claus, elves etc.
- A sleigh ornament or toy
- A North Pole (directions to make one below – may need red and white paper straws & large red bead or paper towel roll, red and white paint, and 1 foam ball)
- A Toy Shop for Santa (optional – we found ours for $1 at Dollar Tree)
- White or see-through gems, glass beads, snowflake decorations etc. (optional)
- Silver glitter, sparkly fake snow, or miniature white foam balls to add texture/sparkle to playdough (optional)
- Make your white playdough and add in glitter, sparkly fake snow or miniature foam snowballs for texture.
- To make a North Pole, glue a red bead on top of a red and white striped paper straw, or paint a cardboard paper towel tube and add a foam ball on top. Create a little North Pole sign and tape/glue to the pole.
- Present the playdough with the figurines, toy shop, sleigh, gems/etc. and tools and allow your child’s imagination to take over!
Onetime enjoyed playing with this wintry small world. He had fun making sleigh tracks and reindeer tracks in the snow and really seemed to enjoy the texture of the snow with foam balls.
When playing together, we got a little storytelling going about Santa making toys in his shop and loading them into his sleigh. I can tell that this invitation will be one that we can come back to over and over again – especially after reading a bit more about Santa and his toy shop (see my book recommendations at the bottom).
Santa’s Favourite Christmas Playdough
- White, red, pink and brown (optional) playdough – download my awesome recipe from our Free Printables page
- Santa Claus and Reindeer cookie cutters (we used the ones shown below from Wilton)
- Free Santa playdough mat (print out your copy from the Free Printables page)
- assorted playdough tools (plastic knife, roller) etc.
- Googly eyes
- Red and pink pom poms and sleigh bells to use as noses and as extra decoration (optional)
- Make white playdough using this special recipe from The Imagination Tree or skip this step and just use our regular playdough without colouring for white.
- Make red, pink and brown playdough using my recipe and Wilton Set of 8 Icing Colors(the best I’ve found for vibrant colours). I recommend doubling the recipe so there is enough. Once the dough is cooked, split it into sections and colour each accordingly.
- Print out your free copy of the Santa playdough mat (optional). Here’s a picture so you get an idea of what it looks like. Your child can re-create the picture and practise making letters out of playdough too!
- Set out the playdough mats, cutters, doughs, googly eyes and tools and let your child explore and create!
Onetime really had fun with these cookie cutters and especially the googly eyes! (Who doesn’t love googly eyes?) Instead of wanting to use Santa as a playdough mat though, he asked to get out the scissors and practised his fine-motor cutting skills! That’s okay – we go with the flow around here!
We did have fun rolling out and creating the letters for “Santa.” Onetime’s been really interested lately in how things are spelled – especially since we started playing with our Wintry Sensory Learning Bin.
Reading About The North Pole and Santa
As a teacher, I try and use just about any new experience to teach my son! Before we played with both of the invitations above, I read a related Christmas story to him to spark his imagination.
You could also do the reverse, and allow your child some free-play playdough time, then read a related story, and then let them re-investigate the playdough with the story in mind.
Either way – get some reading in! My two favourite North Pole and Santa books for young children are listed below. If you’d like to read a brief description and recommendation for each, check out the bottom of my Everything Santa Claus post tomorrow (there’s also a huge cash giveaway to enter in that post too!).
Ages 0 to 4 – Good Night North Pole (Good Night Our World)
Ages 3 to 8+ – The Jolly Christmas Postman
Recommended Santa Fun
We just spotted this Hallmark Northpole Communicator at the mall the other day and had to pick one up. The idea is that starting December 1st, we will be able to use the communicator to make a daily call to the North Pole to talk with Santa and its other inhabitants.
Onetime is already obsessed with this toy and is so excited to use it. Right now (until Dec. 1st), you can make a call and get a “voice mail” asking you to call back at the start of December. We’re counting down the days and frankly, I can’t wait to see what this is going to be like!
It was also a little difficult to find some Christmas figurines (beyond Santa and plastic reindeer) for our North Pole Small World. Our Santa ended up being a wind-up one from the dollar store.
It might be nice to have something like this Fisher Price Little People North Pole Cottageset to use with the playdough. Just found it on Amazon today and it looks like so much fun! (I have to admit I’m a bit obsessed with Little People ever since I photographed them for my post V is for Values. I’ve started a little collection….)
That’s it for Day 1: North Pole and Santa Inspired Playdough! I hope you give this a try and your child enjoys it! If you’re looking for other Christmas kids’ crafts and activities, be sure to follow our Pinterest board: Follow One Time Through’s board Christmas on Pinterest.
I hope to see you back for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Playdough series!