Christmas

 

 

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Reading
 

A Christmas Carol 

The classic tale by Charles Dickens about a man who cared only for money, until his heart was changed by three good spirits of Christmas.
 

Twas The Night Before Christmas

The classic poem about that jolly old elf we know as Santa.
 

Christmas Stories from Santa's Secret Village

This site features a number of online stories about Santa, most of which offer the choice of reading the text of the story yourself, or hearing it read aloud over the computer
 

The Christmas Story

You know -- that Christmas Story!  With the baby and the manger...   

 

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

The favorite story about a little girl's curiosity and the spirit of Christmas.


The Gift of the Magi

The famous story by O. Henry in which love and poverty cook up a comic and sentimental holiday gift exchange.

 

 

Songs, Fingerplays, & Flannel Board
 

Gingerbread Men

Stir a bowl of gingerbread, smooth and spicy brown.
<Pretend to stir>

Roll it with the rolling pin up and down.
<Making rolling motions>

Take a cookie cutter and make some little men.
<Use imaginary cutter to cut imaginary shape>

Put them in the oven 'til half past ten.
<Pretend to slide cookie tray into oven>

MMMM! 
<sniff>

All done!  Time to eat!
 

 

5 Little Gingerbread Men

5 Little gingerbread men on the tray,
<5 fingers stand on palm of other hand>
One jumped up and ran away.
<pop one finger up and move it away, bobbing up and down>
Catch me, catch me, if you can!
But I'm pretty fast.  I'm the gingerbread man!
<Continue for next 4 fingers --"4 fingers on the tray, etc."  All the way to...>
No little gingerbread men on the tray!

 

 

The Gingerbread Runaways  by Pam Schiller

Five sleepy men made out of gingerbread
Awoke one morning on a cookie sheet bed.
"Hey!" said One, "Let's go play."
"No," said Two, "Let's run away!"
"Shhh," said Three, "Someone will hear."
"Phooey," said Four, "There's no one near."
"Come on," said Five, as he jumped to the floor,
And the five little men danced out the door.

 

The Gingerbread Baby by Pam Schiller

There once was a baby made out of bread
With beautiful skin of brownish-red
And a warm cookie sheet for his bed.

He jumped from that bed one sunny day
Decided he wanted to run away.
He ran away from the nice old woman.
He ran and ran from the kind old man,
From the dog and the cat he ran, ran, ran.
A sly old fox soon caused him to stop
Invited him on his nose to hop.
Now, if you know how this story goes,
You know not to hop on a fox's nose.

 

For the patterns that go with this story -- and for more than 2000 great fingerplays, flannel board stories, and great curriculum ideas --order Pam Schiller's new book:

The Complete Resource Book for Toddlers and Twos.

 

 

Jingle Bells

Jingle bells! Jingle bells!
Jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse, open sleigh -- hey!
Jingle bells! Jingle bells!
Jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse, open sleigh.

<Be sure to pass out the bells for this classic sing along!>

 

 

 

Here Is The Chimney

Here is the chimney <Make a fist, with thumb hidden inside>
Here is the top. <Cover fist with palm of other hand>
Open the lid. <Uncover fist>
And out Santa pops! <Thumb pops up>

 

 

 

 

Christmas Candy

I took a lick of my peppermint stick  
 <Pretend to lick a candy cane>
And was it ever yummy! 
 <Lick lips>
It used to be on my Christmas tree. 
<Make tree shape with hands>
Now, it's in my tummy!
<Rub tummy>
 

 

 

5 Little Christmas Trees

5 little Christmas trees
<hold up 5 fingers>
Standing all alone
Their hearts were very sad
'Cause they hadn't found a home.

Then chop went the ax
<hold up left forearm and "chop" with right hand>
And down fell a tree
<let forearm fall>
And off it went with a happy family!
<pretend to swing a tree onto your shoulder.  Stamp feet as if marching away>

<repeat: 4 little Christmas trees... all the way down to 1>

No little Christmas Trees
Standing all alone
Their hearts were very happy
'Cause they'd all found a home!

 

 

 

 

Five Little Bells

Five little bells hanging in a row.
<Hold up five fingers>
The first one said, "Ring me slow."
 <Hold up first finger>
The second one said, "Ring me fast." 
<second finger>
The third one said, "Ring me last." 
<third finger>
The fourth one said, "I sound like a chime." 
<fourth finger>
The fifth one said, "Ring us all at Christmas time." 
<Hold up fifth finger>
 

 

 

Reindeer Pokey
Sung to: "The Hokey Pokey"
You put your antlers in. You put your antlers out.
You put you antlers in and you shake them all about.
You do the Reindeer Pokey and you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!
You put your hooves in....
You put your red nose in....
You put your fluffy tail in...
You put your reindeer body in...

 

 


 

 

 

Nutcracker Scarf Suite
 

For this activity you'll need some large scarves or streamers to dance with.   Just put on a tape or CD of the Nutcracker Suite music and let the children swish, sway, and twirl their way around the room.  Alternatively, this makes great background music for Christmas themed art and cooking projects.

 

 

Christmas Carols Collection

Need the words to your favorite Christmas songs?  Check this site!

 

Holiday Collection of Songs & Fingerplays

Lots more fun songs and fingerplays!

 

Christmas Action Rhymes and Fingerplays for Children

Fun ideas from the Holiday Zone.

 

 

 

Science

 

Preschool Plant Activity Understanding Watering the Christmas Tree

As you add water to your Christmas tree, is your preschooler wondering why? Are they wondering where all that water goes, and why the tree needs it? With this fun preschool science experiment, you can teach your preschooler why your Christmas tree (and all plants) need water and how water moves up all plants, including your Christmas tree.

 

Make Your Own Crystal "Snowflakes"

Students will learn how different crystals are formed, observe crystals in the making, observe with a hand lens and cite the geometric qualities, and relate the necessary natural occurrences needed to create crystals.  

Working with scalding hot liquid makes this lesson plan appropriate only for 4th grade and older. 

 

My Five Senses

The holidays are a great time to do a unit on the five senses: touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste!  Make a gingerbread house for it's wonderful smell, textures, colors-- and tastes.   Gather small spice containers and fill with a small amount of various spices, such as ginger, cinnamon, garlic powder, dill, etc.   (To make: place double-sided tape in the bottom of a clean container, sprinkle tape with a pinch of spice.)  For young preschoolers, collect up board books with textured pages.  For a fun game to sharpen memory skills and awareness of the sense of touch, make a "Mystery Box" (see below).   For even more fun make your own Sensory Play Table or use our Sensory Play Recipes to make Flubber, Gak, Playdough, and etc.  Be sure to talk about how things feel and look to build vocabulary and help build connections between the left and right side of the brain. 

Recommended books:  (click titles for details)

My Five Senses -- Aliki

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear -- Eric Carle/Bill Martin Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See -- book by Eric Carle/Bill Martin Jr., music by Greg & Steve


Here Are My Hands -- Bill Martin Jr./John Archambault


 The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear -- Don Wood

Hands Can

   
   

 

Songs:

  Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
  Oh What a Miracle I Am -- Hap Palmer
  If You're Happy & You Know It
  Clap Your Hands, Tap Your Feet -- Raffi
   Hokey Pokey  (or Reindeer Pokey)
  Where Is Thumbkin?
  2 Little Black Birds, Sitting On a Cloud (one named "Soft" and one named "LOUD")
  Going On a Bear Hunt (pretend to squelch through mud, swish through tall grass, splash through a puddle or river, etc.)

 

How to Make A Mystery Box:

Just clean a large yogurt tub, coffee can (no rough edges), or upright Kleenex box.  Next, cut the leg off an old pair of sweatpants, using the bottom 18" plus cuff.    Place the pants leg over the coffee can or etc., so that the rough edge is even with the bottom of the can.  The rest of the pants leg stretches up over the top of the can, with the cuff at the top.  Use hot glue to attach permanently.  If desired, decorate with permanent makers and puff paint fabric glue. 

Variations For Play:   collect small objects to place inside.  For young children, show a collection of objects, then while they cover their eyes place one inside and hide the rest out of sight.  Let children feel inside the Mystery Box.  Ask them about what they feel.  Is it hard or soft?  Fat or skinny?  Smooth or rough?  Does it have legs, wheels?  Does it make a sound when you shake it?  Let them try guessing what the item is.  Give clues about what the items use if necessary.   Ask if they can tell what color the object is from how it feels -- very young children may not have considered this, that color can only be seen with the eyes.   Finally, let them pull out the toy to see what it was.  Repeat with other objects.   Be sure to let the kids have a turn hiding the object inside and quizzing you!

 

 

 

Social Studies

 

The Season of Giving

Christmas time is the perfect time to talk about those who have less.  Not everyone can afford a big Christmas dinner, a Christmas tree, or the new toys their children are dreaming of.   How do we feel about this?  Why do some people have less?  What would it be like to be a child in a family struggling in poverty?   What could we do to make the holiday season brighter and spread joy and love -- like the historic Saint Nicholas is said to have done?    How does this fit with the teachings of your family's religious faith?  Also, what about animals?  All God's creatures need our love and compassion.  How could you share your love with other creatures?  How could you do your part to care for the Earth?

Ways to give service: 

  donate to food and toy drives,
  find out about local shelters for battered women and their children, homeless persons, etc and find out if you can donate gently used clothing, small appliances, toys, or etc.  Ask what other ways you could offer help.
  make meals or treats for elderly or ill neighbors or relatives who find it hard to care fully for themselves
  invite someone to Christmas dinner who would otherwise be alone
  contact a local nursing home and ask about ways to share holiday cheer with residents

For more ideas:

Kids Can Change The World

 

 

Art

Decorations, gifts, wrappings, and even things to eat!

 

Christmas Fuse Beads

Making fuse bead ornaments is a fun holiday activity to do as a family, or for school-age children to do independently. Caution: we recommend that adults or teens do the actual pressing of the beads with the hot iron.  Below you'll find some kits to order, as well as some refills of beads or paper.  For patterns to isnpire new creations, check out the link below.

Fuse Bead Patterns for Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triangle Reindeer

Using a glue gun or heavy craft glue, attach three popsicle sticks together to form a triangle as shown in the image at right.  Glue on the "googly" eyes and a red pom pom nose.   Tie a bit of metallic thread or a a nice ribbon to the top of the head for the ornament's hanger.

 

Gingerbread Men Garlands

Here's a cute way to use old paper grocery bags -- use the printable gingerbread man template to trace out and cut a garland of gingerbread men.  Then decorate the men (and women) with items from around the house:  glue on fruit loops for eyes and buttons, etc., squeezable fabric puff paints can be used for the "icing".  Click here for more directions and the printable template.

Make a Christmas Tree Paper Chain /Garland

 

 

 

Mini "Gingerbread" Houses

 This is a classic way for kids to make their own -- eat it all by yourself sized -- "gingerbread" house.   The basis of these great houses is graham cracker squares.  Add ready made frosting from the grocery store, plus some gumdrops, licorice, mints and candy sprinkles, and you're there.  click here for complete directions and photos.

Click here for another version of this craft.
 

 

 

 

Ice Cream Cone Xmas Tree

This is a very simple, and yummy, craft that requires:  frosting, green food coloring, assorted candies and sprinkles, and of course sugar cones.  Be sure to lay a piece of wax paper on your work surface.  Now tint the frosting with the food coloring (young children will need a grown-up to help with this) and stir well.  Turn your sugar cone upside down and frost with the green icing.  Be sure to put it on thickly, so your candies have something to stick into.  Shiny little non-pareils (edible round silver balls) make great ornaments for this craft!  If you don't see them in your grocery store, try a cake baking specialty store or ask at your local party store (some carry cake decorating supplies).

 

 

 

 

Christmas Collage

Get out your large size construction paper, your craft glue, the glitter, and your scissors.  Now skibble out to the mail box and grab up an armload of those advertisements the stores are all sending out (kids, please ask your parents first).   The advertisement pages (also found in your Sunday newspaper) are chock full of pictures of Santa, wrapped gifts, Christmas trees, toys, holiday treats and candy canes, and much more.  Now sit down and cut out those pictures -- don't worry about being too neat, after all you could even carefully tear out the pictures. 

Once you have a big stack of pictures you like, get busy with the glue and stick the pictures onto your construction paper.  Sprinkle some glitter on for a really fancy effect!  Maybe you'd even like to get out some holiday stickers to add in.  Here's another fun idea:  choose one fairly large picture and put it on the construction paper all by itself.  Use glue and glitter to make a "picture frame" around it and add some pretty designs in glitter around the page.

Another great idea, is to fold the construction paper in half first to make a card.  Then decorate the cover.

HINT It's a good idea to take the rest of the junk newspaper and spread it out on your table before you begin -- so you don't end up with glue and glitter all over your table!

 

 

 

Paper Chain Garlands

Using assorted colors of construction paper (green and red works nicely), cut out strips of identical length and width, 1 inch by 6 inches .  Form one strip into a loop, fastening shut with either tape, a staple, glue stick, or glue gun.  Take another strip, of another color, and insert it through the first loop and fasten shut.  You will now have two loops, linked together.  Now simply repeat with the remaining strips.  Alternate colors in a pattern for a great look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Your Own Photo Frame

Make your own photo frames to give as gifts to friends and relatives.  You can leave the frame empty for them to fill with a photo of their own, or you can fill it with a photo of your and your family.  Kids used to makes frames by gluing popsicle sticks into a square shape, but you can make it easier (and fancier) by starting with one of these inexpensive kits.  Each photo magnet craft kit below comes with enough supplies to make twelve frames.

Product Details

12 Christmas Train Photo Frame Magnet Craft Kits  

 
 

 

 

Make A T-Shirt/Sweatshirt

You can buy a plain, undecorated T-Shirt or Sweatshirt at your local craft store or drug store (Walgreen's, Rite Aid, etc.).  Bring it home, toss it in to wash in hot water to pre-shrink it.  Dry it.  And then get ready to make a fun and practical gift.

There are different ways to decorate your gift shirt:  you can print out a photo or clip-art picture onto an iron-on T-shirt transfer (a picture of you could make a nice gift), then iron it on and decorate around it with fabric paints or  fabric markers icon OR you could decorate the T-shirt with a design made from your handprints. 

 

Tulip Fabric Markers Fine Writers

 Set of 12 Tulip Fabric Markers

Kids can draw directly on t-shirts and sweatshirts.  Set of 12 assorted colors.
$13.99 per Set

Tulip 3D Fashion Paint 30 Pack
Tulip 3D Fashion Paint 30 Pack

Paint on jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes,
 backpacks, jackets, sweatshirts, pillows, purses and more! Kids can design t-shirts, caps and more!

 

 


 

 

 

Make An Ornament for Someone

 

12 Metal Jingle Bell And Wooden Penguin Ornament Craft Kits

 

 Penguin Jingle Bell Ornament Craft Kit  

 Includes materials and instructions to make 12 penguins. (Approximately 2 3/4 when assembled)

Glue not included.

$8.99 per unit (12 items per unit)

 

 

 

Handprint Christmas Tree

This craft requires you to trace and cut 10 hand prints out of green construction paper or craft foam.  Arrange four "hands" in the bottom row, overlapping slightly.  Fasten together with glue stick.  Next, maker a new layer out of three more "hands", and lay this on top of the first one you made, with just the fingers hanging over it. (See photo below.)  Keep going, making another layer out of two hands, and finally making the last layer -- the of the tree-- from a single hand.  Make sure everything is securely fastened down with glue stick.

To make it even more fun, decorate your tree.  Cut out a gold star for the top, some round circles to be the ornament balls.  Make strings of "garland" on the tree with glitter.

 

 

 

Apple Cinnamon Ornament


These are a sweet-smelling ornament that adds the fragrance of apple pie to your house!  Hang it in the kitchen or dining room, or place it on the tree.  To make, line a colander with heavy paper towels or cheesecloth and pour in a jar of applesauce.  Let sit for one hour then remove drained applesauce to a mixing bowl.  Add an equal portion of cinnamon (i.e. 1 cup sauce plus 1 cup cinnamon) and mix together to form a dough.   Note that Costco is good source for bulk spices, as is most Indian markets.

Roll the dough out on wax paper to -   inch thick.  From shapes by hand or use holiday cookie cutters, then use a straw to poke a hole in the top of each ornament for hanging later.  Let dry for several days in a warm location.  When your ornament is completely dry, slip a ribbon or yarn through the hole and make a loop for hanging.

 

 

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