It’s almost everybody’s favourite time of the year again… Christmas is coming! As a teacher, I love this time of year – assessment is complete, report cards are handed in, it is time to celebrate a year of achievements! And what better way to celebrate your students’ hard work (and yours!) than with lots of Christmas crafts and activities?
This blog post will highlight some super fun Christmas activities to give your last few weeks of school that magic, festive feeling! For more ideas on how to celebrate Christmas in the classroom, don’t forget to check out _Part One_ (https://blog.teaching.co.nz/celebrating-christmas-in-the-classroom) which has loads more merry activities!
Christmas-fy Your Classroom!
What better way to sprinkle a little holiday cheer than to ‘Christmas-fy’ your classroom? Whether that means throwing tinsel everywhere or setting up Christmas themed learning spaces, there are many ways you can spark that festive feeling at school! One of the changes I like to make at Christmas time in my classroom is adding Christmas books to the reading corner. It sounds simple, but nothing says, ‘Christmas is here!’ quite like snuggling up with your favourite Christmas tale. Also, many students are exhausted by the end of the year, so having some quiet reading time (with a festive twist!) is always a good idea.
Making Gingerbread Houses
Gingerbread houses are iconic at Christmas time! I wish I was brave enough (or crazy enough!) to make real gingerbread houses with my Preppies, but it is just way too complicated! I was super excited to discover these adorable gingerbread houses, which are a simple way to include this Christmas tradition in the classroom. There are lots of ways they can be decorated and students can put their own unique touches on them. I gave my students a range of materials including pom poms, foam stickers, glue, glitter, sequins and marker pens to embellish their houses with.
Rudolph Christmas Cards
Christmas is a time for celebrating with the people we care about. It is a great time to show people how much we appreciate them, whether that’s by spending time with them or by showing our love with a gift or card. My Prep students have absolutely adored spending time with their Year Six ‘Buddies’ over the course of the year, so we decided to make them these Christmas cards as a small token of our appreciation. They were very simple to make; we used plain red, shiny red, brown and white cardboard, glue sticks and a black marker to create these – that’s it! It was lovely to see how much our Grade Six Buddies loved their Rudolph cards.
Christmas Shrink Film Decorations
Have you tried shrink art before? It is SERIOUSLY COOL! This was my first time using it and my mind was totally blown! These Christmas Shrink Film Decorations shrink to approximately 60% of their original size when baked in an oven. It was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever witnessed!
For this activity, we coloured our decorations using coloured pencils (making sure we coloured on the matte side) before placing them in the oven and watched them shrink.
It was such an interesting method of making Christmas decorations AND we got to have a beautiful end product too – a win, win situation! *
Christmas Shrink Film Decorations – Pack of 12:
Christmas Collage Necklaces
I made these Christmas Collage Necklaces a few years ago with my Kindergarten students and they were an absolute hit! They were also very, very simple, which is the type of activity end-of-year-exhausted teachers want! To prepare, I cut up a cardboard box to create the base of these necklaces. Then, my students applied a mixture of paint and glue over this cardboard base, before embellishing it with a range of Christmassy collage materials. The materials they used were glitter, crepe paper and cut up Christmas wrapping paper. Once dry, my students wore their creations proudly and looked very festive!
Plastic Star Ornaments
Every year, I always get my students to make some kind of Christmas ornament that they can take home and hang on their Christmas tree. These Plastic Star Ornaments are one of my most favourite types of ornaments as there are many ways they can be decorated.
My students decorated one side of these ornaments with Christmas drawings and writing and then on the other side we stuck a picture of them wearing a Santa hat. Some students decided to add their favourite collage materials for extra embellishment including glitter, sequins and pom poms.
These materials can move around inside the Plastic Star Ornament and look really jolly! We added a sparkly pipe cleaner (you can also use ribbon) so we could hang these on our Christmas trees.
Christmas Iron-On Beads Kit
This activity combines Christmas spirit with fine motor skills! Children’s fine motor skills get a very good workout during this activity as they carefully place their beads onto their chosen boards. There are several shaped boards to choose from including a circle, square, heart, star and hexagon.
Once children have decorated their board with beads, a hot iron melts the beads together. To ensure maximum safety, I completed this part of the activity myself, away from all children.
This kit comes with sheets of ironing paper that you place over the beaded design and then iron over the top, which melts the beads together. Once fully cooled down, my students were impressed to see their creations come together!
Christmas Iron-On Beads Kit
Christmas Day Play
This was a little Christmas activity I set up in the last week of school last year, as my students loved exploring through play. When children engage in imaginative play, they are making sense of the world around them by exploring familiar and unfamiliar roles and events. My students loved interacting with one another as they acted out the familiar scene of Christmas Day. It was also an opportunity for students to share parts of their home life and family Christmas traditions. *
Making Christmas stockings is always a favourite festive activity at this time of year! My students loved decorating these Christmas stockings with pom poms, foam shapes, felt and star sequins. Students used these items freely to create their own personalised stockings, with many children choosing to individualise their stocking by embellishing the first letter of their name using pom poms. Such a special keepsake to take home and use year after year!
You Can’t Have Christmas Without a…
Christmas tree! I’ve saved the best Christmas activity for last! Can you imagine Christmas without a Christmas tree? I can’t! Which is why I love having a Christmas tree in my classroom during this joyful time of year. I’ve had so many variations of trees over the years, but this large Australian-made MDF Christmas tree has to be one of my absolute favourites! The two pieces slot in together, which means the tree can stand on its own, anywhere in the classroom.
My students loved painting and decorating our Christmas tree collaboratively. An interesting (and unexpected!) part of this Christmas tree was that it came delivered flat-packed between two wooden tree shaped pieces – so it was kind of like receiving three trees! We have used these other two pieces as additional Christmas trees as well as for other projects throughout the year.
What is your favourite way to celebrate Christmas in the classroom?
Heidi Overbye from Learning Through Play is a Brisbane based, Early Years Teacher who currently teaches Prep, the first year of formal schooling in Queensland. Heidi is an advocate for play-based, hands-on learning experiences and creating stimulating and creative learning spaces. Heidi shares what happens in her classroom daily on her Instagram page, Learning Through Play. See @learning.through.play for a huge range of activities, play spaces and lesson ideas.