12 Unforgettable Days of Christmas
- Grades: PreK–K
How can you celebrate Christmas for twelve days, and what makes it unforgettable? Open the link to find out. Just a peek . . . you know you want to!
On the 12th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
Have your students perform A Charlie Brown Christmas for Reader's Theater. Download the script, which features the 12 characters Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Sally, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, Pig-Pen, Patty, Violet, Shermy, and Frieda, and modify it, or have the kids watch the movie and re-enact it.
On the 11th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
Set up Santa's toy shop in your classroom! Students can work on social, fine motor, and cognitive skills as they help make Santa's toys for Christmas. Split students so they are working at different tasks in different "departments." In the Dolls and Stuffed Animals Department, have the kids put together dolls, stuff and sew plush animals, and sew clothes.
On the 10th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
10 Assemblers Assembling
In the Games Department of Santa's toy shop, your students can put together boxes, boards, and pieces of board games.
On the 9th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
9 Builders Building
In the Toys Department of Santa's toy shop, have students construct toys such as wooden vehicles, crayons boxes, jack-in-the-boxes, Wham-O frisbees, and Fisher-Price corn poppers.
To make the jack-in-the-box pictured, put a stuffed animal in a tissue box (keep the lid attached) then cut a hole in the side of the box and insert a bendable straw. For a corn popper, put some bouncy balls in a clear plastic bowl, lay it upside down, and tape a wooden dowel to it.
On the 8th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
8 Ways to Social Network
Your students can send Santa a letter through postal mail; write him an email; follow his tweets; read his blog; watch his Web cams located outside his office, around the world, and in Rudolph's nose; look at his photo albums; have an instant chat with his elves; and track his flight on Christmas Eve using a mobile phone.
On the 7th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
7 Ways to Gift Wrap
Set up a gift wrapping dramatic play center that includes wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, boxes, bows, ribbon, and gift tags.
On the 6th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
6 Fun Vacations
Teach your class about Christmas and seasonal traditions around the world by taking them on pretend "trips" to different countries.
For an all-American Christmas party, drink Coca-Cola, trim a Christmas tree, and read the classic poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Go to England for a teatime reading of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Afterwards, open party crackers.
In Mexico, join in a candlelight procession, hang a piñata for Las Posadas, and read about a Mexican kindergartner's first Las Posadas in Nine Days to Christmas.
Wear special crowns and hats for St. Lucia's Day in Sweden. Then eat some hot rolls and read Christmas in Noisy Village to learn how Swedish children celebrate Christmas.
Don't forget Hanukkah in Israel. Don yarmulkes, play dreidel, make latkes, and read The Chanukkah Guest.
Finally, take the Polar Express to Finland, where Santa Claus lives at the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, the capital of the Finnish Lapland. Have hot chocolate, read The Polar Express, learn about reindeer and the polar night, and hand out sleigh bells.
On the 5th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
5 Golden Skills
Have students practice the following math skills:
Sorting — They can sort candy canes by color, nutcrackers by height, and icicles by length.
Patterning — Guide them in making patterns by stringing popcorn and cranberries into garlands, and by grouping string-type tinsel into different colors and lengths.
Counting — Hide Santas all over the room and have students find and count them.
Matching — Play snow globe memory with five pairs of snow globes and some plastic cups.
Sequencing — Set up a "gift shop" and have your students act out the sequence for making a list, going to the store, buying presents, wrapping presents, putting the presents under the Christmas tree, and giving the presents to friends.
On the 4th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
4 Reindeer Games
Invite students to help a stuffed reindeer take these field tests in preparation for Christmas Eve.
Put a target in the middle of the floor and have students toss the reindeer from ten feet away, trying to get it as close to the center of the target as possible. Award five points for the center, three points for the middle ring, and one point for the outer ring. Whoever has the most points after five rounds wins.
Mountain Passage Test
Using blocks or cardboard, set up three mountains — low, medium, and high. Set a shelf, board, or table above the mountains so the reindeer can practice flying low enough not to hit any aircraft. Students try to throw the reindeer through the mountains. Award five points for getting past the high mountain, three points for the medium-size mountain, and one point for the low mountain. No points are awarded if the reindeer hits a mountain or flies too high.
Navigating Big Cities
Create a city made of blocks that includes two buildings, a bridge, and a tunnel. Award a point every time a student throws the reindeer between the buildings, under the bridge, and into the tunnel.
Find three boxes of different sizes. Flatten the largest box. Fold a piece of cardboard in half to make a peaked shape and put it on top of the medium-sized box. Do the same for the smallest box, but make the peak steeper. Have students try to land the reindeer on a box, or house, awarding five points for landing on the smallest house, three points for the medium-size house, and one point for the largest house. No points are awarded if the reindeer misses a house.
On the 3rd day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
3 Advent Calendars
Since I have thirty kids in my class this year (yes, you read that right!), there wouldn't be enough parts on one advent calendar for each child, even if we were in school all 25 days. So I make three advent calendars, and each day three students get to do something. There are lots of fun calendars to make besides the traditional lift-the-flap one. Try gluing a cotton ball on Santa's beard each day, popping one bubble on a bubble-wrap Christmas tree, or removing one link from a gingerbread man's paper chain legs.
On the 2nd day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
2 Book Extensions
For every Christmas book you read, have the children make a related ornament or stocking stuffer. Hint: If you read Tree of Cranes, it's best not to try making origami cranes with kindergartners. Just make a simple bird, like the one shown.
On the 1st day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me . . .
A Grinch Who Stole Christmas
Call him a Grinch or a Scrooge or whatever you want, there's always someone who just doesn't understand the true spirit of Christmas — someone with a heart "two sizes too small." Luckily, all of your holiday activities can culminate in the one, most important lesson of all:
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!"
In the end, Christmas can't be stolen. Let the kids exchange gifts of paper hearts and/or Hershey's Hugs as symbolic gifts of friendship.
Everyone's in the spirit in our classroom!
Have an unforgettable weekend!