Stop the presses! This Christmas invitation to play went on for days! I don’t often toot my own horn, but I will flat-out say that this Christmas invitation to play is the bomb.
The boys played with the wooden train tracks for days. We only cleaned it up because I needed to walk without tripping over a track. Sounds reasonable in my books, but they begged for more!
It is the perfect stuck-at-home all day, kids walking in circles, Christmas invitation to play that you must try. – Like, immediately. This preschool activity fires up creativity and keeps your coffee hot.
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What sparked this idea
Last week I took the boys to a real Christmas tree farm.
The week before that, we read the book, Pick a Pine Tree found here in our Christmas book list.
Both experiences were exactly what we needed to get into the holiday spirit. I combined the two and finished with this Christmas invitation to play by creating a wooden train track loop around the tree farm.
What is an invitation to play?
An invitation to play is an activity created around the child’s interests. It prompts thinking and encourages children to take the lead with their learning.
To set up, I created a super simple replica of a tree farm they were familiar with from our holiday book reading and real-life experiences.
As the pictures progressed, you will see that my children continued to join in the fun!
Set up this Christmas invitation to play using toys children enjoy
We’ve had wooden train tracks for years, and they float in and out of their everyday play.
Sometimes finding an old favorite and pairing it with a new idea prompts new play. We found this true with our holiday light decorating invitation to play!
How to prep the environment for play
This brown paper roll is a hidden secret found at Home Depot. You can find it in the painting department, and it is called Builder’s Paper.
I rolled out and cut a large piece of paper. – We also use it here for our gingerbread sticker-matching activity.
Next, I taped it to the floor. You can use delicate painter’s tape if you are concerned about the finish on your floors.
Finally, I quickly cut out some triangles from the green paper we had around the house. I added them to the paper for the trees on the tree farm.
I grabbed our wooden track bins and placed them before the Christmas invitation to play. The rest of the play is up to the children!
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Wooden train tracks can take a few years to build up inventory. Here, we have seven years’ worth of Christmas and birthday gifts. (remember, indoor activities for kids use what we already own!)
PRO TIP: It is an excellent idea to begin looking for used tracks that families in your neighborhood may have grown out of. Our first collection of tracks was a large hand-me-down set from a family member. The Play Trains site has the best extensions to put the tracks to great use.
- Builder’s paper – at home improvement stores in the painting aisle.
- Construction paper
- Scissors to cut the trees – I like these child-friendly scissors.
- Track expansion set
- Wooden tracks starter set
RELATED: Supplies like these are open-ended and forever. The best toys for kids include all our favorites!
The boys played with this Christmas tree farm for DAYS!
You may be walking around wooden tracks, but your children will be creating, imagining, and designing during these colder days inside at home. – like this winter craft idea.
Invite this Christmas invitation to play into your home today! – Because as the boys get older, I kinda miss having train tracks from the living room into the kitchen. It is one of many play ideas for kids that I cherish!
Look on Facebook market to see which families are ready to regift their tracks. Over the years, we have added to our hand-me-down set from Amazon and HomeGoods.
Most wooden track sets are suggested for ages three and up. The trains have small parts that can come loose. We introduce the wooden tracks around two and add train cars to the tracks as we play together.
All brands of tracks do not fit together. However, I have had luck with BRIO and the wooden tracks from Target connecting well. IKEA wooden train tracks do not fit perfectly with BRIO.
Wooden Tracks at the Christmas Tree Farm
- Builder's paper
- Construction paper
- Wooden train tracks
- Roll out and cut a large piece of paper.
- Tape the builder's paper to the floor. You can use delicate painter’s tape if you are concerned about the finish on your floors
- Cut out some triangles from the green paper we had around the house. I added them to the paper for the trees on the tree farm.
- Invite your child to play and build their wooden train track tree farm!