Christmas is upon us! The team at BAPN are already in the Christmas spirit and we hope you all are too. Amy put her Christmas tree up in the middle of November! Let’s hope it’s not a real one otherwise she’ll have a lot of pine needles to pick up! I personally prefer to wait until at least the first weekend in December but there’s no right or wrong with this one, especially after the year we’ve had!
It’s also okay if you’re not quite in the festive spirit this year yet. It’s been a challenging year for us all but hopefully, you’ll all be able to enjoy some time off to spend with families and friends (within the government’s guidelines of course). Christmas will unfortunately be a little different this year. I always love going to watch my charges in their nativity and Christmas carol concerts, we’ll have to make do with watching them over Zoom this year.
The brilliant part of our job is being able to throw ourselves in and forget about the real world. Most children absolutely love celebrating Christmas and all of the fun and joy that comes with it. The team at BAPN has put together some simple ideas which we’re hoping you may enjoy with your charges over the festive period.
Christmas dough decorations
Our friends over @pocketnannies have already been busy creating Christmas masterpieces with their little ones. This brilliant dough recipe is perfect for making homemade Christmas tree decorations. Once they’ve cooled, decorate with glitter glue, paint, or leave natural.
1/2 cup cornflower
1 cup bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup water
It doesn’t matter the size cup, just as long as you use the same cup for all three ingredients.
Mix the ingredients together in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until it all comes together and then for a minute or so longer. You may feel that it isn’t going to do anything then all of a sudden it will come together, so be patient and don't panic!
Roll into a ball (be careful as it will be quite hot) and place into a bowl and cover with a damp towel until cool.
Roll out and use any shaped cutters you wish. If your cutters are sticking, dust them with some cornflour first. Remember to make a hole for the ribbon too.
Place in the oven at 80˚C for 40 minutes and then turn over and cook for another 30 minutes or so. Depending on how thick you roll out your dough, thicker dough may take a little longer in the oven.
Christmas Treasure Hunt
My charges love a treasure hunt and I’m sure yours do too! Instead of filling them up with sugary treats on our Christmas hunt this year I’ve thought of a new idea. My charges have enjoyed learning about the Christmas story again this year. I thought it may be fun to hide different nativity characters around the house for the children to find and then once collected they can put together the full nativity scene.
Here are a few Christmas craft ideas you may like to try with your charges over the holiday season.
We found these great Christmas stencils online. My charges were so desperate to try them out that they opted for felt tip pens before I could reach the paint cupboard! Older children should be able to hold the stencil still but I used a little sellotape to stick the stencil to the card for my younger charge so it didn’t wriggle around. This is a great, quick and easy way of producing Christmas cards or Christmas pictures for friends and relatives.
Personalised wrapping paper prints
This is a fun and messy activity that I have seen many children creating already this year. Why spend lots of money on wrapping paper when you can make your own! All you need is a big roll of brown paper and some Christmas stamps and paints. Lay the paper out on a large table or on the floor (with a protective mat or newspaper underneath) and let children get as messy as they like! This is an absolute winner with children and parents and grandparents love having their presents wrapped in the paper.
Christmas Wreath Hand Prints
A wonderful festive idea from one of our BAPN members Alice @nanny.inspiration.station. Create green painted handprints, then cut them all out and stick them together to make a Christmas wreath. Add a small piece of ribbon and you’ve got yourself a homemade wreath! Do take a look at Alice’s Instagram page as she’ll be posting lots more Christmas ideas throughout December.
Our BAPN member Rhian Menday @nanny.world has been busy creating some Christmas crafts already with her charges. Rhian has created these sweet little snowflakes out of lollipop sticks and glitter. They are perfect for hanging around the house or on the Christmas tree!
Lollipop Christmas Crafts
Another simple but effective idea from @pocketnannies if you’ve got spare lollipop sticks at home.
Christmas Card Ideas
Here are a few of my favourite Christmas card crafts from @raiseworkshops and @nanny.inspiration.station.
We enjoy making gingerbread all year round but especially at Christmas. My charges' favourite recipe is this one from The Woodland Trust, we find it works really well. Here’s the recipe if you’d like a tried and tested one. Why not try these reindeer gingerbread biscuits from Alice @nanny.inspiration.station.
Fun, Fruit Father Christmases
This sweet little Christmas treat idea comes from @pocketnannies. They are very simple and easy to create with children. A small slice of banana, half a strawberry, and a small squirt of cream and melted chocolate or black writing icing for eyes.
Here is a selection of my favourite books to share with children at Christmas time.
Letters to Father Christmas
Royal Mail is once again providing their letter writing to Santa/Father Christmas service. You have until Friday 11 December to get your little one's letter in the post.
Please make sure you
• Write Santa's address carefully on the envelope
• Put a stamp on the envelope so it gets to me
• Include your full name and address in your letter
Please post them to:
We all know that Christmas is about having some time off work and spending the days with loved ones and not about presents but I for one get great pleasure from giving presents. Here’s a few ideas if you’re struggling for inspiration this year.
The Toys People
The Toys People is a dedicated team that was established in 2018. Their aim is to provide a variety of educational toys and resources to develop and enhance children’s learning, supporting them with the tools in which to grow. BAPN members are entitled to 10% off, head to the members-only pages on our website to find the unique discount code.
Harmony At Home Children’s Boutique
Our friend Frankie over at Harmony At Home @harmonyathomechildrensboutique has a wonderful gift shop full of beautiful eco-friendly toys, crafts, games, and many more ideas.
Dinosaur Douglas Books
Don’t forget BAPN members are entitled to a 15% discount off Heather Maisner’s delightful children’s books Dinosaur Douglas. Head to the members-only section on our website to find the code.
Christingle was a favoruite celebration of mine as a child. I have fond memories of attending Christingle services whilst I was at primary school. The Children’s Society adopted the Christingle idea as a fundraiser for the charity in 1968 but the original idea was created in Germany back in 1747. Every year since, The Children’s Society has been raising money through Christingle collections. You can find out more information on their website. https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraise-and-events/christingle/what-is-christingle
We had a try at making our own Christingle. As these services will not be able to go ahead as normal this year if you can spare any donations to The Children’s Society they will be extremely grateful.
Love in a Box
Every year at my charges school the children put together a shoebox full of goodies for the charity Love In A Box. The children each enjoyed picking and choosing specific items from a provided list to put into their box for the children supported by the charity. This is such a brilliant hands-on idea for children to get involved with. It is wonderful to help teach children about other children who are less fortunate and may receive few, if any, Christmas presents. Most charities ask for new or recycled items in a good condition. Do have a look online as I’m sure many local areas will have a charity similar to this one. It was a very heartwarming activity for us to do altogether.
Lizzie, Senior Membership Ambassador xx