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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas sensory light play for babies and toddlers

Christmas is such a magical time for children - the Christmas tree, decorations, lights, presents and Santa are all super exciting for kids. A child's first ever Christmas is such a special occasion, despite the fact they probably have no idea what's going on. 

Having a baby who's only 5 months old at Christmas time {like I did} means they can't quite comprehend Christmas enough yet, but that doesn't stop them wanting to knock over the tree, pull off all the decorations and put everything in their mouths - because putting stuff in your mouth is the coolest thing ever when you're 5 months old. 

Not so cool when it involves tinsel, wrapping paper, gift tags and god forbid electric Christmas lights. So, while Christmas time and decorations are exciting for kids, it's not really that safe for young children and can be a bit stressful for parents, myself included.

baby looking at christmas lights

I have to admit I'm one of those mums who's overly paranoid about safety when it comes to babies. It could be some type of first time mum syndrome, or maybe it's just a natural instinct when it comes to parenting. Having said that though I don't want her to miss out on the fun of Christmas just because she's a baby. 

I've been searching for fun Christmas light ideas for babies for ages, but nothing was quite right so I literally went and scoured the cupboards to find items I had at home that I could use to create my own baby proof Christmas light play. Turns out I had everything I needed to create a great sensory play activity already, and you probably do too.


The obvious safety issues when it comes to infants and toddlers with Christmas lights are that they can, and most likely will, put them in their mouth and also that they're electrical. Young children have no concept of consequences, and little impulse control, and the first way they usually explore new items is to put them in their mouths which you obviously don't want them to do with Christmas lights. 

Infants, especially under 18 months old, don't have the cognitive ability to understand the consequences of their actions so the easiest way to make something safe for them is to remove the danger, however this doesn't mean they have to miss out on Christmas lights altogether.

By making simple changes like using battery operated lights and enclosing them in an inaccessible container, this Christmas light sensory play eliminates the danger of electrical cords and removes the opportunity for children to mouth the lights, however still allows them to experience and play with Christmas lights. Giving them access to their own safe Christmas lights will also, hopefully, reduce the allure of tree lights. 

Please note this activity still requires full adult supervision.


 You will need:
  • A plastic jar or container
  • A set of battery operated fairy lights

Its seriously that simple! Even if you don't have any of these items at home you could purchase them quite cheaply. You can pick up battery operated lights from local department and dollar stores or online from places like Etsy or {if you're in Australia} for a couple of dollars. Food storage containers can be found at your local supermarket for about $6-$8 {we used a round sistema container, but any shape will do}. It's really easy and cheap to create an awesome entertaining, stimulating, and developmental play activity that can be used over and over again.

All you need to do is place the lights in the container, turn them on and then secure the lid {screw top or snap lock work just as well as long as they secure tight enough that bub can't get them off}. Give it to your baby and voila you have endless entertainment.

Multicolour battery operated fairy lights in a round container.

I did this for the first time with bub last night and she thought it was amazing. She is mesmerised by lights anyway, kind of like a moth is to those bug zappers, so it wasn't too hard to get her interested. As soon as I came within eyesight she was trying to grab it off of me. She was super excited that I let her hold it and that I let her put it in her mouth!  Best mum ever.

Baby playing with fairy lights

She played with it in her rocker moving it from her hands to feet and back again.
Those facial expressions crack me up!

Baby rolling a light filled container on the ground during tummy time.
Played with it on the floor rolling it around

Baby playing with christmas lights while sitting in a bumbo

Played with it in the bumbo knocking it off the tray and then trying to eat it 
every time I gave it back to her.

Baby playing with christmas lights in a plastic container.

Have you seen any other ideas for Christmas fun with babies? 
Do you have one that you have used with your own baby?

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase.

Would you like to comment?

  1. What a great idea. Had I seen this before, I could have done this for party lights around the garden....hmmmm

  2. That's awesome. They just want to touch, hold and have everything at that age. It would have been like Christmas to get her hands on it! Great idea, thanks for sharing it, I know a boy next door who would go ape over one of these!

    1. She was so beyond excited. I'm pretty sure she thought it was the best day ever :)

  3. Oh what a great idea, I wish I'd seen this when D was little.

    1. I'm so glad I got my act together and started searching for ideas now.

  4. That's such a great idea! I would've loved to have used this when the boys were smaller. Your gorgeous little one looks like she's having loads of fun!

    1. She had sooo much fun and then she crashed completely afterwards (another added bonus!).

  5. That is awesome and my kids would love this. Thanks for sharing.

  6. WOW, that is amazing. I have an 11 month old and he would LOVE that!!

  7. Wow! This is really an unique idea. I love it. Thanks for sharing with us. Have a great day!

  8. Stopping by from SITS! I love this idea! Even though my baby is only two months old and its summer this is such a fun idea to play with my baby. I so doing this! Thanks for the idea!

  9. So clever! I saw a light thing at the checkout at the pharmacy yesterday and Nicky loves it (he just turned two). For him the thrill is turning it on and off.

  10. What an awesome idea. I think you are right to be safety conscious but it could also be a touch of first time mum. I know everyone loosens up the rules a bit for subsequent kids, not out of lack of safety but you sort of start to realise what will and wont hurt them.I wish I knew this idea though when mine were smaller. Thanks for linking up with my Christmas Link Party. xx