Jolly Christmas Activites for your Classroom
Here we are at that time of year when we seem to have a harder time keeping our student’s attention and focus in the classroom. Their thoughts are outside having snowball fights, in the mall or daydreaming of what Christmas morning will bring them. If the truth is told, we may even be letting our thoughts stray a bit too.
Bring in the holiday cheer
It’s not that difficult to redirect their thoughts back in our direction by bringing some of the seasons into our classroom with a few fun activities. They can continue to learn while having some holiday fun. Here are a few of my favorite fun and educational activities:
Read your class a book called “Gingerbread Baby” by Jann Brett. There’s a variety of activities that you can incorporate into this activity, from taking your class on a hunt for the gingerbread baby to making gingerbread men.
Gingerbread Playdough Recipe
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
• 1 C. flour
• ½ C. salt
• 2 t. cream of tartar
• 2 t. ground ginger
• 1 T. ground cinnamon
• 1 t. ground cloves
• 1 t. ground nutmeg
• 2 T oil (vegetable works well)
• 1 cup water
- Whisk together dry ingredients in pan.
- Add water and oil.
- Stir well.
- Turn the burner on low or medium-low heat.
- Continue stirring until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and ball up.
- When it is a playdough consistency, remove from the pan and knead on a non-stick surface or parchment paper.
Santa’s Magic Christmas Milk
We all know Santa is full of magic, wonder, and really cool things right? His milk must be magic too. You need only a few simple supplies.
Magic Milk is a classic science activity and a super fun activity. Kids of all ages (including adults) think it’s pretty cool.
• Dawn Dish Soap
• Whole Milk
• Shallow Bowl or Pan
• Food Coloring
• Cotton Swabs
• Holiday Cookie Cutters
1. Fill whatever you are going to use with whole milk.
2. Use your liquid food coloring to place drops of color all around the surface of the milk. Since we have a Christmas theme going, you might want to stick with red and green colors. Use them all if you want!
3. Dip a cotton swab in dish soap. Touch the tip of the swab to the milk and watch! It’s like a little explosion.
A larger surface area will allow for more magic to happen! The science behind it: The chemistry of the dish soap and the fat of the milk is what makes the magic happen. While some of the dish soap’s properties dissolve in the water, the other properties search out the fat of the milk.
This “searching” is a whole bunch of molecules racing around to get those fat globs. You can see it with the color movement. Keep getting a bit more soap until there is no more movement. That means all the fat globs have been found.
Once you have used up the “magic” or fat globs, give it a gentle stir to make a pretty pattern.
Kids might want to blow on the colors. Sometimes kids have to test out their own ideas whether we think they are right or wrong or already know the outcome. This is how kids learn, so let them blow and stir the milk and then try again and again.
Please don’t drink the milk!
Bring in the Snow
This is probably my all-time favorite. The kids are always enthralled and amazed at the results of this activity. Younger classes can read books such as Mice on Ice by Rebecca Emberley and There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! by Lucille Colandro, following up with making snow crystals. The older kids can make crystals while discussing the science behind it.
Crystal Snowflake Recipe
• mason jar or old glass jar with a wide mouth
• white pipe cleaner
• boiling water
• food coloring (optional)
1. Gather your supplies
2. Put the tea kettle filled with water on to boil.
3. Cut your pipe cleaner into three equal pieces.
4. Twist them together at the center to make a snowflake. It will be small. Test to be sure it will fit through the opening of your glass jar without touching the sides. If it touches the sides, trim it until it no longer does.
5. Tie one end of the ribbon to the middle of the pencil and one end to the middle of the snowflake. When the pencil is positioned across the mouth of the jar and the snowflake is hanging down into it, the snowflake should not touch the bottom of the jar. Adjust the ribbon length as needed. Remove the snowflake from the jar.
6. Fill the jar with boiling water from the tea kettle. Fill it about 1-inch from the top.
7. Scoop in 3-6 Tablespoons of borax – one tablespoon at a time to the boiling water. Stir to dissolve the borax. If your jar holds more than 2 cups of water, add another 3 Tablespoons. (Hint: 3-4 Tablespoons borax per 1 cup water works best.)
8. Add three drops of food color to the jar. Your crystals will be whatever color you add to the water/borax solution.
9. Submerse the snowflake into the solution and position the pencil across the mouth of the jar so that it hangs in freely.
After a couple of hours, you will begin to see crystals forming on the snowflake. Let it sit overnight for best results.
The next day, remove the snowflake from the jar and hang it to dry over a paper plate or a couple of layers of paper towels. Sometimes it drips, so you want to be sure the food coloring doesn’t get on your counter or desk. Enjoy your snowflakes. Everyone you do will be different, just like the ones falling from the sky!
When all else fails, let them run some of that extra energy off. You can do that with keeping in the theme of the season. This can be done outside for warmer climates or indoors in a classroom.
12 Days of Christmas Relay
• 2 Buckets
• A collection of items that represent those named in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
Fill 2 buckets with those items.
1. Divide your students into 2 teams.
2. Place the buckets filled with the items at the other end of the room.
3. When you say “go”, the first team member will run and find the item that represents the partridge in a pear tree.
4. Once found, they’ll bring it back to their team. Then the second player will have to run and get the turtle dove and so on.
5. In the meantime, the team must keep those items brought back to them in the order they were brought back. The first team to complete the song properly wins.
Working with the Holidays
Just as the saying goes,” if you can’t beat em’, join em’ “, make the season work for you. There are so many things that you can incorporate into your learning environment to make these anxious days, productive and fun days, (for you as well).