Montessori-Inspired Christmas Activities for Preschoolers — Gift Wrapping

A little over a month ago, L got to wrap the birthday present she picked out for N.  After about twenty minutes of watching her struggle and then seeing the finished product, I knew this gift wrapping work was definitely something I wanted to put together before it came time for her to wrap another present.  It took me a while to gather all of the perfect materials, but I finally got it all put together this weekend — and boy, is it a hit!  L spent 2 full hours yesterday morning wrapping 23 gifts [really, the same box 23 times].  I’m sure she would have done more, but that was all I had prepared because I wasn’t expecting such a smashing success.


Here’s how I set up our gift wrapping tray:

I first presented this work by wrapping the box myself while L watched.  I exaggerated my movements as I folded and taped, then I handed the wrapped gift to L and said, “Merry Christmas!”  After she unwrapped it, she was eager to do it herself.

She cut slowly on the line I had drawn.

She folded the paper exactly as I had…

…even down to the triangles I folded on the ends — I wasn’t expecting such precision from a 3-year-old, but that’s L for you!

Her favorite part was definitely the tape.  She actually calls this her “taping work.”

We discovered that it’s very important to pull the tape straight up from the pop-up tape dispenser.

She was so proud of the wrapped gift!  And then she did it again and again and again and again until there was no more wrapping paper left on the tray.  Each time she finished, she would hand the gift to me or to N and say, “Merry Christmas!”  As we unwrapped it, she would whisper gleefully, “It’s a box!”

I refreshed the wrapping supplies at nap time, and L spent all of her waking hours wrapping the box over and over again except for short breaks to eat dinner and bake Christmas cookies.

I have never seen L so absorbed in a work or repeat any activity so many times and for so much time.  I can see that by the time she has to wrap some Christmas gifts for our family dinner, she will be quite the expert.