It’s the most wonderful tiiiiime of the year! Gosh I love Christmas! The gorgeous tree all decorated with tiny baubles, the shining light displays glowing merrily throughout the neighborhood, the wonder in my little’s eyes as they take in the magic- and most of all the birth of the sweet baby boy who would grow up to be the savior of the world! It just fills you with hope and joy, doesn’t it? After the year we’ve had living through this pandemic, I’m bound and determined for this Christmas to be the best one ever- and what better way to start than through some fun Christmassy learning activities! Don’t forget to hop on your sleigh and fly on over to my toddler post “Joy to the World!” for some super fun sensory and art projects like playdough Christmas trees and a “stained glass” nativity craft! God bless us, everyone!
-“Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger”: We added these Christmas songs to our daily calendar time this week! As we sang then I pointed to the words to build directionality of text and sight word recognition.
-ABC Christmas lightbox: Lightboxes are such a fun way to play and learn! I got the idea from Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten back in October when we did our bat unit, so I thought we’d do it again, only Christmas themed! You just flip over a large clear plastic storage container, tuck some battery operated lights under it, and cover the top with Christmas ornaments and ABC magnets. Then I asked my littles to find different letters by playing “I spy” (ie. “I spy letter M” then they find the M). They loved it!
-Christmas letter/sound matching: I printed this fun Christmas themed letter/sound match from Teachers Pay Teachers, laminated it and cut out the letters. Then I had my little identify each letter and find the picture (word) that started with the sound the letter makes.
-Red and green name practice: I typed and printed my little’s first and last names a few times on paper, then drew lines under each letter. I tucked the pages in a page protector and had him practice writing them in red and green with dry erase markers.
-Christmas story retelling: We read “The Story of Baby Jesus” then I had my little act out the story using our Little People nativity set (Joseph was lost and we don’t have shepherds but we just used other figures as stand ins!)
-Christmas booklist: If you’re like me, you already have a TON of Christmas books, but here are our favorites anyway!
-Ornament ball sorting: I gathered about 10 Christmas ball ornaments from our tree then had my little sort them by color and size, then put them in order from largest to smallest.
-Christmas eraser adding: I printed a Christmassy adding page then had my little identify each number, show them with Christmas erasers I got at the Target dollar spot, then count them up all together to get his answer. (Tip: I changed the subtraction signs into plus signs and we only did two rows because the whole page had too many problems for a 4 year old!)
-Christmas tree one more, one less: I printed and cut out three Christmas trees, glued them to a sheet of construction paper, wrote “my number” under the center one, “before” under the left one and “after” under the right, then laminated them. Then I had my little roll a 12 sided dice, identify and write the number under the center tree, show the number using pony beads (aka ornaments on the tree) then identify and write down the number that comes before and after by taking a bead away and adding a bead. After a few practice rounds, I stopped having him count out the number (since he’s already proficient at counting) because he was figuring out one more/one less using math talk instead of the manipulatives! I got this idea from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
-Ornament do-a-dot pattern practice: I printed this Christmas ornament do-a-dot page, reviewed what a repeating pattern is, then had my little dot the page using patterns. He did different patterns for the top row, the middle row and the bottom row.
-Jingle bell magnet exploration: Sometimes you stumble across activities that are absolute gold- and this was one of them! My littles played and explored for like 45 minutes! I got small and large jingle bells as well as a magnet kit, put the bells in a cake pan and let the littles explore! It was kind of expensive, but SO simple and SO much fun! We’ll definitely do this one over and over so it was worth the investment (they’ve already got it out several times this week!) As they played, we discussed how magnets can push and pull depending on what poles are facing each other- we even observed how magnets can make things move all by themselves by placing the bar magnet on the floor and holding the magnet on a string above it. The polarization made the string magnet swing around like crazy even though our hand was still! I got the idea from Fun a Day! They made their own stick magnets, but I think it’s worth it to get the kit! The magnet on the handle was so strong it could pick up 123 bells and you just wouldn’t get that wow factor with a home made one!!! (we also did a test to see which magnet could pick up the most bells!)
-Grow a Christmas tree: So this is basically a DIY chia pet tree…hahaha! I cut a sponge into a Christmas tree shape then wet it. Next, I had my little mix some chia seeds with water then spoon them onto the sponge. They sprouted within a day, and now we’re waiting to see if they’ll grow! (You do have to mist them once or twice a day to keep them moist). I got this idea from Gift of Curiosity (but I think they used grass seeds!)
-Red, green and gold magic milk: Magic milk is always fun experiment, and we haven’t done it since the 4th of July so I thought now would be a great time to bust it out again and let the littles explore! You just fill a baking pan with milk so the bottom is covered, then give your little pipettes and red, green and yellow food coloring mixed with water to drop into the milk. They can swirl it around and add more to their heart’s content. When they’re finished with adding color, have them dip a Q-tip or their finger in dish soap and place their finger in the milk or swirl it around gently and watch the colors dance! I got the idea from Science Kiddo.
-Candy cane solubility experiment: Dissolving things always makes for a fun science demonstration, so we decided to dissolve some candy canes using hot (ie. Boiling) vs. cold water to see which would work better. Following the scientific method, I had my little predict the answer to the inquiry question “What is the difference between dissolving a candy cane in cold water versus hot water?” and why he thought that before we started, then we experimented and made observations. When we were finished, we answered our inquiry question using what we observed. (Spoiler alert- It was seriously crazy how the candy cane in hot water became flexible! You guys have to try this!) I got my inspiration from Raising a Jeweled Rose.
-Kid-sized gingerbread man (or woman): I traced my little’s body on a piece of brown paper that I cut from a roll (I think you can get plain brown wrapping paper, but this stuff was from when we renovated our house to protect the floors, so it was just laying around the garage!) Then we worked together to decorate him and hung him on the schoolroom/play room door! I got the idea from Happy Toddler Playtime.
-Jingle bell wreaths (turned jewelry): So originally I planned for this to be a wreath making activity where my littles would string some of our jingle bells from science onto a pipe cleaner, then join the ends together to make a cute wreath ornament for our tree, but they didn’t particularly look like wreaths and both boys wanted to wear them instead…so it ended up being a jingle bell jewelry craft! LoL When you’re a teacher (and a mom) sometimes you just have to roll with it!
- large, clear storage bin
- battery operated fairy lights
- ABC magnets
- Christmas ornaments (tree, stocking, etc)
- mini Santa erasers
- various ball ornaments
- buttons or pony beads
- candy canes
- a sponge
- chia seeds
- jingle bells
- large roll of brown paper (brown wrapping paper works)
- food coloring
- dish soap