My eldest, M, is 3 and three quarters. He is very excited about a certain rotund gentleman with an impressive beard and penchant for red suits paying us a visit. This is the first year M is truly enchanted by Christmas and I am feeling the magic too. Today he has been dreaming up a Christmas list and we found some different ways to help him do this, and perhaps they might give you and your pre-schooler a helping hand to write to Father Christmas as well.
This morning I thought it would be a good idea if he tried writing a letter to Father Christmas himself, rather than watching me scribe for him. I merrily printed off some Lil’ollo penguin note paper and typed in faintly dotted letters – ‘Caro Babbo Natale and Dear Father Christmas’. My plan was to see how he managed to trace over the letters, and then we would work out how to write the rest of the letter together. I know some pre-schoolers are really confident with writing and others prefer to do other things. M sits in the latter camp and he would much rather be building or drawing.
As we speak English and Italian at home we try to make many of our activities bilingual . Subsequently I wasn’t quite sure how our letter writing would pan out. Tracing over the letters turned out to be heavy going and writing a whole letter like this, in two languages, would have resulted in a melt-down – probably by both of us. I am a firm believer in working with your child’s interests and abilities, so we created five alternative ways to make M’s letter as fun as we could.
For this activity we used:
- Child-safe scissors
- A glue stick
- Craft pieces to stick on
- A colouring in sheet
- A sheet of printed out individual letters
- Letter stamps
1. Selecting and sticking down cut out letters
I printed out individual letters and used different colours for the two languages. We selected the words together and then M stuck the letters to the page.
2. Stamping letters
We both love these letter stamps! They are called alpha bêtes (bête is beast in French) and they are little monsters shaped like letters.
3. Using a stencil
We have a giant chalkboard in our kitchen that I made a few years ago and we used stencils to write the days of the week. After we had stamped out the next sentence, I remembered we still had those stencils in the art box. M hadn’t used them before and he was so excited that he wanted to draw in every single character – this part of the letter took some time…
4. Colouring in a picture and sticking it in the letter
You may have guessed from the photos above that there is a spider theme to this particular letter. Next, we used a Spider-Man colouring in sheet, cut it out and placed it in the letter. M clearly thinks Father Christmas shares his enthusiasm for arachnids and superheroes…
5. Drawing a picture
Finally, M drew a picture of Spider-Man and we cut it out. A ‘giant real spider’ was also on the Christmas list that we discussed today – let’s just hope Father Christmas doesn’t bring one! Sorry, M.
There are many other ways you can help your pre-schooler write to Father Christmas and we would love to hear about your letters. How have you been creating them together?