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The holiday’s are well on their way…and so I thought it would be fun to get the kiddos excited and playing in a new interactive way. I was inspired by a few Pinterest pins…so here we go.
Welcome to the North Pole Station – a place where your imagination and Christmas dreams collide.
I started with an old toy market stand that I found on Kijiji. I wasn’t fond of the colors, so I painted it frosty colors with some homemade chalk paint, a pretty and a dreamy blue. You could use an old bookshelf, or table to achieve a similar vibe.
Next I needed to dress it up and make it come to life. So I added some plastic bins to hold all of the creative goodies. These will help keep things organized…I hope! Some icicle snow, and a string of battery operated Christmas lights, again found at the good ol’ local dollar store, and some sparkly snowflake stickers for the sides to add some frosty fun. And lastly, a sign to let us know where we are, just in case we forgot what all this was about. I used some black cardstock and a white crayon.
And now the fun! Here are the play elements I added:
You can’t have a North Pole station without it. Elves love the snow!
I had planned to make pretend snowballs out of styrofoam balls and fake snow, however, I found these pretend snowballs, call Snow Anytime, and thought they would be perfect! They look like the real thing and are soft enough that they “hopefully” won’t cause harm (fingers crossed!). I found a snowball maker, which is perfect for picking up and throwing the snowballs. We’ve had some snowball fights already, just be prepared for a little mess. The fake snow I found at the dollar store, along with the snow shovel. They can really perfect their shoveling skills for later in life…(all strategy here folks!)
Hot Chocolate Station:
After all that work and play with snow, the little elves will need to warm up!! A hot chocolate station with plastic mugs, “hot chocolate” and marshmallows (I found these foam shapes at Michaels, they look and feel like the real deal) and I found pipe cleaner candy canes and plastic ornaments ones at the dollar store. For the hot chocolate I really wanted to use brown pom poms, but they were difficult to find, so I found a ball of brown chunky yarn, and cut it up into pieces, and it works great! They can have as many mugfuls as they can handle – best part is, no sugar and minimal clean up!
It wouldn’t be the true north pole without a few christmas characters in the mix. So here’s a a basket of imagination fun! Reindeer Antlers, Elf and Santa Hats, Frosty Headbands, Rudolph’s shiny red nose, and of course, some Jingle Bells! They dream up all kinds of Christmas shenanigans!
My girls loved the dress-up bin so much they begged to wear the antlers the next day at the Santa clause parade. My cute little reindeer!
North Pole Post Office:
Obviously, the North Pole gets millions of letters…so this needed to be part of the station people! This bin is filled with Christmas Cards, some old from years past & some unused ones I had left over. The kiddos can decorate their own cards with stamps and stickers found at the dollar store. The mail box’s are made by Melissa and Doug, and they come with wooden mail and stamps. The girls LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with these. They can channel their creativity, and Christmas spirit and deliver their special mail to Santa and their loved ones. I have received my fair share of lovely Christmas cards already.
To be good elves, you must know how to wrap gifts well! This basket is filled with small gift bags, boxes, and money holders. They can wraps their “gifts”. They love pretending it’s Christmas day and giving each other their presents! You can get a little more risky here and add gift wrap and tape, however, my two-year-old just wouldn’t be able to handle herself, nor I with the mess, so I left that option out, however, I’m sure the older ones would love to practice their wrapping skills.
I found a cute pad of Christmas paper, they can use this to write down important notes or names and what they’d like for Santa. And then…they can check it twice.
Toy fix-it Station: Elves are the real deal toy makers..so we needed to have some legit tools. This basket is filled with some toy tools we had laying around, and a few small toys and they can pretend to make and fix gifts for Christmas!!
How Fun! My girls enjoy using the hammer to “adjust” the toys.
Christmas Cookies: This is a must! Cookies and Christmas just have a happy marriage. These sparkly foam ginger bread cutouts are the cutest, from the local dollar store. There were plenty of other shapes, like snowmen, and stockings so you can get creative. I used a toy cookie sheet we already had, some pompoms and googley eyes, and the kiddos can decorate to their hearts content!
Felt Christmas Tree & Snowman: It’s like a scene out of elf…a snowman you can give some personality too, and tree you can decorate until you are filled with Christmas spirit! I first read about this idea on Pinterest, and it looked fairly simple, and it totally was! I purchased a large sheet of green and white felt from Michaels, and did some cutting with a good pair of sharp scissors, and found pre-cut felt ornaments at the dollar store. I made a few additional ornaments of my own, including a star from some felt I had left over from another project. The trick is finding a way for the felt to stick on the wall…I’m still experimenting. I used double sided foam tape, but it didn’t work well and kept falling down, so onto the next thing.
An Advent Calendar: Elves are always counting down until that special day. This calendar is from Melissa & Doug. It’s a Christmas tree with numbered ornaments that the kids can place themselves and countdown to the big day. My two-year-old just loves to take the ornaments off and put back on. And it offers 5 minutes of quiet play, so it’s a win for all! Hooray!
Whew! And there we go…clearly the North Pole has made it’s home here in my house, and the kids are LOVING it! Now they can play their way through December and let their imagination run wild with Christmas cheer!
What sort of creative things have you done with your little ones during the holidays? I’d love to hear all about them.