I’m sharing crafts, activities, centers, and a FREE classroom gift today on the blog! Discover 10 ways to celebrate the Christmas season with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students!
This time of year is so crazy AND fun! I LOVE teaching kindergarten around the holidays. The kids are so excited about everything. They love to listen to holiday-themed books, work on fun crafts, & they are more inspired to write than ever.
I wanted to share 10 easy ways I’ve been preparing for the holidays just in case you can use these in your classroom or with your children at home. The ideas in this post will work for multiple age groups and if you aren’t allowed to celebrate Christmas with your students, you may be able to put your own spin on some of these activities.
- Snowman Freebie – Let me start with my class gift. I loved how cute these turned out and that they will keep my kids’ hands warm this winter. I have lots of walkers in my room. I was able to find a 3 pack of children’s gloves at Walmart for $1.47 and 6 packs of Hershey’s bars for $3.00.
You can head over to my TPT store to grab this snowman template for FREE by clicking on the picture below.
2. Salt Dough Ornaments – Adorable & so simple! I like this easy recipe:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup water
Mix in a large bowl and knead with hands until you get the right texture. It feels like something between homemade play dough & sugar cookie dough. You can add a little flour if it gets sticky.
I let my kids decide if they wanted to make a tree or heart. I was surprised that most students chose to make a heart.
Simply roll the dough out & use the cookie cutters to cut out your desired shape. (Our heart is huge but it had to be in order to get 5 & 6 year old hands to fit on it!)
Use a straw to poke a hole in the top & let the children place their handprint in the heart or make little “ornaments” on the trees with their fingerprints. You can either let them dry like this for several days or bake in an oven at about 150 degrees for a couple of hours until they get hard.
We really had to wiggle the spatula around to get them off the pan so it would be best to use parchment paper. Plus you could write their names beside each ornament instead of drawing a diagram like we did. 🙂
We let the kids paint these themselves using green for the trees and a different color for the balls. The kids also painted the hand and the outline of the hands a different color.
Write their names & dates on the back and you are ready to gift! (This is something that will be cherished for years to come!)
3. Snowman Fingerprint Ornaments – Another easy project is painting their hands with white paint and letting them “hold” an ornament. I have the child count to 10 and carefully remove their hands. When they dry, you can add their names, the date, and decorate the fingers to look like snowmen using a permanent marker. This is another thing that I would love to keep if Aniston made one for me. Unfortunately I had to use glass balls from Walmart, but you can find shatter-proof ones on Amazon if needed.
4. My sweet friend Michelle made these applesauce ornaments with the kids. They made our room smell delicious! The latest recipe I’ve seen was to mix up 2 cups of applesauce and 2 cups of cinnamon (a tablespoon of glue is optional.) When the dough gets fairly stiff, roll the dough out and cut out your favorite shapes with cookie cutters. Don’t forget to make a little hole at the top with a straw. You can bake these just like the salt dough ornaments or let them dry for several days.
Are you starting to wonder what in the world our class tree looks like? My mom found it at a boutique that was going out of business several years ago and we thought it would be perfect in my classroom. Here is our finished tree! 🙂
During indoor recess my students are allowed to color paper ornaments that I keep on hand for them. (This is a very popular activity and of course, I love how quiet they get when they are working on these.)
Don’t you think it is perfect for a kindergarten classroom???
5. Letters to Santa – Writing letters to Santa can be a little overwhelming for kindergarten students. They have so much to say but they just aren’t ready to write a paragraph yet. Am I right? We can submit letters to our newspaper and I never want all of my letters to be the exact same. This year I decided to create a resource to help guide my students. It includes a word wall, sample letters, fill-in-the-blank templates, planning pages, Christmas-themed writing paper, & all of the supplies you could possibly need for your Writing Center. I loved the way our letters turned out. You can grab your copy by clicking on any of the product covers below:
6. Build a Santa – We also filled out a fun glyph I created to build our own Santas. The students LOVED this. Next time I will precut the pieces for them. They turned out so cute. They loved putting their own spin on Santa’s look. 🙂
You can grab this fun glyph, craft, & writing activity by clicking on the product cover below:
7. Christmas Letters with Transitional Words – This has been my best-selling product during the holiday season. I think it is because we have had increasing pressure to teach students how to use transitional words at a younger age. It can be fun with this resource in which students will plan what they would write in a letter & use time order words when they go to write the letter. It really is an exciting way to teach this skill.
You can grab it by clicking on any of these product covers:
8. Christmas Photo Album – This turned out to be one of my favorite activities we did this year. I’m thinking that 1st or 2nd graders could really make this cute. We created Christmas themed photo albums to reflect on our year. The included album written by Elfster is the perfect way to demonstrate expectations & get your kids’ wheels turning. These make awesome Christmas gifts for parents!
The best way to purchase these projects is as a bundle! You get 4 products for the price of 3 with this Mega Christmas Bundle!
9. – Christmas Books & Christmas Carols – We have so much fun singing Christmas songs. Our favorite is one we sing to the tune of Bingo. “There was a man with a long white beard and Santa was his name-o! S..A..N..T..A….. S..A..N..T..A….. S..A..N..T..A.. and Santa was his name O!” We repeat it each time replacing one more letter with a clap until on the last verse the kids are clapping all of the letters in his name. The best part about this song is that all of my students can spell Santa now!
These are some of my favorite books to read during this time of year!
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
The Gingerbread Man
and Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
10. Poinsettias – Every year on Black Friday, I head over to Home Depot or Lowes to grab around 40 poinsettias for $1 a piece. (There is a limit of 12 per person so you may want to bring some people with you.) The day we come back to school I read a book about how it is better to give than to receive. I ask my students to choose a couple of adults who have helped them this year and write a Christmas card to them. They hand deliver the poinsettia and the Christmas card to a person of their choice. The poinsettias have been spread all over our building and most students choose to take one home and give one to a parent. The kids look absolutely adorable walking down the hall with flowers bigger than them. This is by far my favorite tradition and the most popular one. Teachers Pay Teachers shared my recent post about it and it had over 100 shares and over 3,000 likes! I am so happy that this fun tradition will be started in other schools next year.
I would love to hear about your traditions in the comments. Merry Christmas from me to you!
Happy Teaching & Mommy-ing this week!