This toddler Christmas activity is about as easy as they come: create a wrapping paper ripping bin. Use the scrap gift paper to build a simple, recycled fine motor activity for tabies and toddlers. You’ll be amazed how long this holds little attention spans.
How to make paper scraps into a toddler Christmas activity
There’s nothing I love more than a quick and easy toddler activity. Actually, my favorite activity is one that is quick, easy, and spur of the moment – the ones that just organically happen. That’s how this ripping paper bin was started.
And that’s exactly how the ripping paper bin became a favorite easy Christmas activity. It may have been a whim decision to hand my 23-month-old the wrapping paper scraps, but it’s turned into one of the most popular Christmas activities on BusyTodder.com.
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- Wrapping paper remnants
- Storage container – This is the storage container I use for all my sensory activities. You can use this one or any other bin to hold your paper scraps.
This is one of the easiest activities to set up: throw all your wrapping paper scraps into a plastic storage container for your toddler to play with.
No muss. No fuss.
What is a ripping bin?
My daughter was “helping” me wrap Christmas presents which meant things were taking twice as long and bows were being decimated (wink). I needed a quick toddler Christmas activity to distract her while keeping her close and involved.
I started gathering all the scraps from wrapping gifts and placing them in a plastic container. And a light bulb went off: She could rip this paper to shreds… in a good way.
I showed my daughter (23 months old) how to rip the paper and offered her a chance to try.
She was hooked! And began shredding paper tirelessly.
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The learning from this toddler Christmas activity
This activity makes use of all those remnants from wrapping gifts and gives toddlers a way to be a part of the wrapping process. It keeps little hands busy and active – I love that!
But there’s even more to love in a ripping paper bin:
Ripping paper is a fine motor skills activity that focuses on grip strength.
It also teaches cause and effect, and is a precursor to using scissors. So while this may look like a 23 month old ripping paper at Christmastime, it’s actually a toddler making progress towards future cutting skills,
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Tip – the ripping paper bin isn’t only for toddlers
I may have made this activity for my under two year old, but that didn’t stop my 3.5 year old from joining her.
He was equally intrigued by the ripping paper bin – an easy toddler Christmas activity for all age, I guess!
As my children ages, the scraps from Christmas wrapping evolved from a ripping bin and into a wrapping station – my absolute favorite Christmas activity that brings us such joy.
Frequently Asked Questions
I had the kids help! For my toddler, she can count to 5-10 so I asked her to pick up 10 pieces of paper with me. I had my preschooler do the same. Right there, that’s 30 pieces of paper picked it. It wasn’t much after that.
That varies kid to kid and even culturally (some cultures start kids on scissors much earlier than others). I recommend sometime between age 2-3 for starting scissors. What is most important to keep in your mind is that US children are entering kindergarten with less and less proficiency in cutting (it’s one of my kindergarten readiness skills). This has an impact in school. Help your child develop their skills over time, beginning as soon as your ready.
I recommend Fiskar or Scotch brand.