'Tis the season for fun-filled activities and creating meaningful moments. Even amid a pandemic and potentially-altered holiday plans, there are lots of ways to make the season memorable and educational.

Experiential learning is one of the foundational principles of Montessori education and it can be done at home. Maria Montessori observed that children need to learn through experiences and manipulating objects, rather than through sitting and listening to a teacher. We reached out to Zahra Kassam, CEO and founder of Monti Kids for a list of Montessori-inspired ideas for the holidays.  

Here are 5 easy Montessori activities that will entertain your toddler (and infant) all season long:

"Snow-dough"

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This three-ingredient dough is a natural (and good-smelling) alternative to Play-dough, and it'll let your kiddos get creative while also working on fine motor skills. Cognitive development + sensory play + a Christmas theme? Sign us up!

Felt Christmas tree

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Your little one will have endless hours of fun arranging and re-arranging their own Christmas tree until their heart's content. It's easy, mess-free, and allows for their imagination to flourish—plus, they get to be just like Mom and Dad, but with their own tree!

Christmas bow stick

Christmas bow stick
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The cool thing about entertaining toddlers is that they find fun in common household items. This holiday, use bows to keep them busy safely. "Adding sticky contact paper to a wall with Painter's tape, along with a basket of bows can provide endless fun for a new walker as they express their creativity in placing the bows in endless variations of patterns," says Kassam. "As your little one squats to pick up a bow, stands to push it to the wall and squats again, they will be working on their balance."

Smelling jars

Smelling jars
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Gather festive scents like crushed peppermint, pine and cinnamon and add them to jars with holes poked on that top (like pepper shakers). "You can also use this as a language learning opportunity to discuss the contents of each jar," says Kassam. "When little ones are older you can make two matching sets of smells and model matching each scent. You can use colorful stickers on the bottom as a way for them to check if they matched them correctly."

Tummy time, holiday style

tummy time
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Fill a Ziplock bag with some recycled wrapping paper, tissue paper and jingle bells to attach it to the floor with Painter's Tape, says Kassam. Place your baby on a cozy mat in front of the bag (always supervised). Your little one will love pushing on the bag to experiment with different textures and sounds.