Whether you are helping to stage a full-on play for the little ones at your local church or are looking for ways to celebrate with your child -- and her playmates -- at home, Christmas programs for toddlers provide a fully festive way to get in the holiday spirit. From dramatic interpretations about the story of Christmas to sing-song caroling and other creative performance pieces, help your 1- to 3-year-old learn about the holiday through an interactive program.
Age and Development
Before choosing a Christmas program for your toddler to try out, keep his age and developmental level in mind. While a Sunday school class of third graders can act out the story of the birth of Jesus, chances are that your toddlers will struggle to get through a complex narrative scene. Instead of taking on too much, break down a play into easy-to-manage pieces that the toddlers can tackle. A 3-month-old toddler can say up to 570 words and follow one- or two-step directions, according to PBS Parents. This means that using ultra-fancy vocabulary or complex staging directions are out for the toddler set.
While your toddler -- or group of toddlers -- can't conquer complex narratives and multi-scene plays, they can act it up in a one-scene or short-version drama. Choose a Christmas pageant play that focuses on the story behind the holiday and select one specific scene for the toddlers to try. If they can't memorize the lines -- and most likely, they can't -- you can read the story out loud as the kids act out the character parts using movements, costumes and props.
If your toddler bunch's play is less than scene-stealing, try a carol-type sing-a-long. Toddlers can learn and perform simple tunes that feature Christmas-themed rhymes or old standards, but take caution not to overload them with wordy or overly complicated ballads. Select basics such as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" or "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." Another option is to create your own holiday songs that go along with the tune of a toddler favorite. The Everything Preschool website suggests substituting "I'm a little Christmas tree, tall and straight" for the "I'm a Little Tea Pot" song or "S-A-N-T-A" for "B-I-N-G-O."
From putting on your own puppet show to having the kiddies act out their own version, toddlers can participate in an interactive Christmas program that features imaginary friends. If you don't have access to professionally-made Christmas puppets -- such as Santa or the reindeer -- you can make your own by decorating paper bags with markers, felt and glue. Get creative and act out a Christmas tale along with other adults or older kids for the toddlers to watch and comment on. After your Christmas program is complete, hand the puppets over to the toddler group and have them try out their own version.