Christmas Theme Activities- Part 1

I must apologize for the break in my lesson plan posts.  Life has been busier than I anticipated and getting back into the swing of my schedule has taken a while.  With that said, I am beginning my very favorite (and traditionally, busiest) time of year: Christmas.

When I was still teaching in the classroom, everyday from Thanksgiving break until Christmas break, we made an ornament or craft!  Remember that every activity a young child does has many “learning points.”  This will be a series of several posts containing Christmas activities for young hands (and older ones, too!)  I  I hope you enjoy!

1. Make a Mexican Pinata, the quick way.
You will need: Lightweight brown paper bag, crepe paper streamers, tissue paper, glue or tape, construction paper scraps, individually wrapped candy, a piece of string or yarn.

Put the wrapped candy in the bag and tie the end shut with the string. Fan the opening out, and this will become the tail of your fish pinata. Using the streamers, starting at the tied end, glue or tape the streamers, wrapping them around the sack. Next, cut eyes out of scrap paper and glue them on. Add a few strips of paper hanging down like streamers, for fins. This is a rough drawing:

fish pinata

Finally, hang up the pinata in a safe area.  The children take turns being blindfolded and trying to hit the pinata with a stick.  When the pinata breaks open, the children scatter and collect the candy.

2. Make a candy cane ornament.
You will need: Ceramic play dough (see recipe) in red and white.

Ceramic play dough recipe: (Add food coloring to both waters before mixing.)
2 cups salt and 2/3 cup water. Mix together in a pan. Stir over medium heat until mixture is well heated (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat. Mix together 1 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir quickly into the first mixture. The dough should be stiff. If it doesn’t thicken, reheat and stir for one more minute.

For young children, simply have the children roll balls of each color dough, into long snake shapes. They they form the long rolls into candy cane shapes.  They candy canes must dry for 36 hours at room temperature.
Option for small canes Make small candy canes and glue safety pins to the back of each so children can wear them as pins or give as gifts.
Option for large candy canes Hang large canes on your Christmas tree.
Two color candy canes: the children roll white and red dough into long snake shapes. Twist together the two colors and form a candy cane shape. Pinch the ends together so the two colors of dough do not separate when dry.

3.  Cut Christmas shapes out of a sponge.  Using red, green, and white paint, and let your child sponge paint.  You can get a nice pack of real cellulose sponges at most stores where they carry $1 products.  They are great for this and can be reused over and over.

4.  Evergreen Painting.  Discuss evergreen trees with your child.  Collect branches from many different evergreens and let your child use them like a paint brush.

5.  Make Coffee filter angels.  These little angels are simple, even for very young children.  You need two coffee filters, string, cotton ball, and optional bow.   To make this, simply put the cotton ball in the center of one coffee filter, gather around the ball and tie.  Fold the second filter in half and gather, leaving the straight side at the top.  Glue or tie to the back of the body.  The optional bow will go in the center of the neck, under the head.


6.  Bubble Wrap Snow Painting
You will need: 9×12 sheet of bubble wrap, white paint, dark blue or black construction paper, Snowman sticker or drawing that has been cut out.

Brush white paint on the bubble wrap. Place the sheet of construction paper over the bubble wrap, and press on teh paper to transfer the paint. Lift off the paper and allow the paint to dry. When the paint is dry, place a snowman sticker or a cut out snow man onto the paper. I didn’t have a picture of an old one I had done, but here is a link and she has added another project I have done, an egg carton snowman. Check this out:

7. If you hate glitter, skip this one!! LOL Make a glitter joy bell. For this you will need a small foam cup, giant jingle bell that will fit inside the cup, pipe cleaner, glitter, gallon-sized zip top bag, glue stick.

Pour glitter into the zip top bag. Spread glue over the outside of the cup. Place the cup in the bag, seal it, and shake the bag until the cup is covered with glitter. Remove the cup from the bag and let the glue dry. Thread the bell onto the pipe cleaner. Twist the pipe cleaner to secure the bell. Carefully poke the pipe cleaner ends through the inside bottom of the cup. Twist the ends together to form a loop. glitter bell

8. Bake cookies together, design a gingerbread house.

I will post more activities on Thursday!!  Be sure and share pictures with the rest of us!!

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