Christmas lights fine motor play in a little bear village? Yes, please! We took our light strand with dot stickers activity up a notch to make this Christmas lights fine motor play. We even added the bears to create a sweet holiday village.
I want to help my three-year-old strengthen his fingers and begin to introduce patterns. I also want to make a similar activity for my five-year-old so both of them can work side by side.
That’s why this simple fine motor play has two variations! Let’s get into how to start and what you’ll need. I can’t wait!
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Materials You Need
- Counting bears – I bring out these counting bears again and again. They’re great for math skills and imaginary play.
- Markers – you can use these to mark out the fairy lights and so your little one can color the village!
- PRIMARY COLOR dot stickers – these are a must! Stickers are great for fine motor skills, and you need them to add the lights (after all, what’s Christmas without fairy lights?!).
- White paper roll – this is going to be the base of your Christmas village.
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How to Set Up the Activity
Step 1. Tape white paper to the table.
You don’t want your paper village sliding everywhere while your little one is having fun!
I like to add painter’s tape to secure it down.
Step 2. Add a simple holiday Christmas village.
Drawing outlines of a few houses is all you need.
I’m not the greatest at drawing myself, but I think my village turned out pretty well!
Step 3. Include red and green counting bears to encourage imaginary play.
You’re gonna need some little bears living in the village!
I used red and green to keep up that festive feeling.
Step 4. Draw a few light strands above the house.
Add curved lines for the Christmas lights. Your child can use it as a guide for their fairy light dot stickers.
Step 5. Use your markers to create a color pattern above the village.
You can add the fairy light dots using markers and then see if your child can match the correct color sticker to the same color dot.
If they’re a little older, draw circles for the lights so they can practice placing the stickers inside the circles.
Step 6. Let your child decorate the village!
I love watching my boys use the bears for imaginary play and bringing the village to life with the stickers!
How to Practice Fine Motor Skills With Your Children
Practicing fine motor skills is easier than you think. Every activity involving small hand muscles strengthens hands and helps dexterity.
Movements such as:
- Buttoning – even I find buttons fiddly sometimes! Playing around with buttons helps with day-to-day activities like getting dressed.
- Cutting – maneuvering scissors is hard work for little hands, but it helps develop grip.
- Drawing – this is such a great one for pencil grip, something your child will need as they progress.
- Grasping – picking things up like jugs in water play is great for a child’s fine motor skills!
- Painting – holding different size paint brushes and moving the hand and arm around is a fun way to practice fine motor skills.
- Poking – it takes a lot of accuracy to poke something! And it’s incredible for improving writing later in life.
- Squeezing – squeezing things takes strength. I especially like using tweezers in play as they’re great for pincer grip.
- Tweezing – holding a tweezer helps your little one practice grip and release.
- Using stickers – peeling off a sticker and placing it down uses a little one’s fine motor skills and improves hand-eye coordination.
- Zipping – do you have to help your child zip their coat? Make it into a game to practice their fine motor skills!
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How to Adapt This Fine Motor Activity to Different Ages
I created two ways for my boys to do this sticker activity depending on their learning needs.
- Color Match – Draw the fairy lights using the colored markers. I like to do it in a sequence to introduce patterns. This is great for my three-year-old, who is still strengthening his little hands. You can read here about how giving directions one task at a time can help young children. This article talks about verbal and visual cues which is what this Christmas Lights activity offers preschoolers.
- Match the stickers to the shape – For my older one, I drew circles where the fairy light sticker dots should go. He had to concentrate on placing the sticker in the right place, which takes a lot of skill and hand-eye coordination!
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My Toddler’s Experience With Christmas Lights Fine Motor Play
My toddler’s job was simple. I invited my three-year-old over to the activity and showed him the little bear town.
I didn’t say much at first. It is up to him to make the first move. He took his favorite counting bears and placed them in each window.
Next, he went into the holiday lights and began to color match. Taking dot stickers off the paper is great fine motor practice for early learners.
As my three-year-old worked, I shared with him that the colors follow a sequence. I casually introduced this as a pattern.
Ideally, I want my toddler to color-match the dot stickers from the left and move to the right. – This is how we read and write, and eye-tracking will help it become more natural when he learns to read.
But my three-year-old is three, and he wasn’t interested in the left-to-right progression. Rather than lose him in a power struggle, I stayed flexible. I want to stay flexible to gain momentum and recognize he’s learning through play.
I made this fine motor activity a little different for my five-year-old. For him, I started the pattern, and his job was to complete the color sequence. He’s worked with patterns before, and extending the pattern was good practice for him.
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Bring Out the Christmas Village This Holiday
This fine motor activity works for many ages and stages! Add this holiday activity to your Breakfast Invitation list! Which variation will you try first?
RELATED: Do you love color matching as much as we do? Here are 35+ color activities for kids.
More Christmas Activities
- 40+ Christmas Activities
- Christmas Color Matching
- Christmas Finger Painting
- Christmas Sticker Cups (Fine Motor Play!)
- Holiday Toy List
- Tree Farm Christmas Invitation
Frequently Asked Questions
Cutting, grasping, making lines and curves, squeezing, and squirting are some of my favorite ways to improve small motor skills in kids. Here are 50 Fine Motor Activities for kids
Older children can play by creating patterns. Begin with a simple AB pattern and move to more complex patterns such as AABB, ABB, and ABC.
You can find most of our favorite supplies (including these dot stickers) in our supply list.
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