December themes



 “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburgh

If you do not have the book you and your child can listen to the book read by Lou Diamond Phillips.  At http://storylineonline.net/ 
(Just click on the left under more stories and look for Polar Express)

On Christmas Eve a boy is taken on a mysterious train to the North Pole. The trip to the pole is a glorious experience through dark forests and high mountains. When he arrives, Santa chooses him to be the child that receives the first gift of Christmas. He asks for an receives one bell from the harness of the reindeer. It is with great sadness that he discovers he has lost the bell on the way home. At home he finds the bell again, and learns a special secret about it.

Book Summary:

Other subjects to cover in conjunction with the story: trains, winter weather, and the North Pole. Here’s another book to read online and after reading. there are links to make your own book.

A Winter Train Ride

http://www.mrsmcgowan.com/winter/train_start.htm

Books
“The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburgh

More terrific Train Stories:
“Freight Train” by Donald Crews
“William and Night Train” by Mij Kelly
“Two Little Trains” by Margaret Wise Brown
“All Abroad Trains” by  Deborah Harding
“Train to Somewhere” by Eve Bunting
“The Little Engine That Could” by

Train Books/Stories That Rhyme
(great rhythm & rhyme for building phonemic awareness)
“Train Song” by Diane Siebert
“I love Trains” by Philemon Sturges
“Clickety Clack” by Robert Spense
“The Caboose that got Loose” by Bill Peet
   

INTERNET RESOURCES
Polar Express Resources for Teachers and Librarians 
Little Giraffes Polar Express Theme
Education World’s Taking the Polar Express to Learning
All Aboard the Virtual Vine Express (Polar Express)
Blanchard Elementary’s Polar Express Resources
All Aboard the Polar Express with Ms. Jacoby’s Classroom
Polar Express Weblinks and more
Polar Express Day at Mrs. Pearce’s Classroom

PRINTABLES 
Ride the Polar Express (lots of printables for your theme)
Winter Train Ride Book (PDF file) by Mrs. McGowan
Polar Express Printables, games, coloring sheets, and more
Polar Express Story Sequencing Strips (PDF file)
The Official Chris Van Allsburg’s site

GROUP DISCUSSIONS
1. Ask children to imagine their own magical midnight train ride and talk about what they see on their journey and what their final destination looks like.GROUP ACTIVITIES
 1. Read book as a Christmas present to group. Set a scene for a train ride and simulate a ride to the North Pole. Set up pairs of small chairs in two parallel rows with a center aisle for the imaginary train ride. In each child’s chair place a warm cup of hot cocoa and softly play winter music as the group boards the train. When everyone has had his or her ticket checked and is settled, read the book aloud as you ride along. Encourage the students to tell you of the sights they see as they ride along. Ring your bell to add an extra dose of magic to the part of the book that talks of the bell.

2. Talk about what type of clothing you would wear if you were  going to the North Pole.

3. Talk  about what trains carry in their train cars.   

 

Variation: Have your children wear or bring their pajamas for the day (optional).  Gather around on the carpet and read the story The Polar Express  to your class.   When finished with the story, have a jingle bell  necklace strung on a thin piece of Christmas ribbon and prepared  to give each child.  Ask the children to ring their bells together to see if they truly “believe” and can hear the Christmas bells.  Have the children return to their seats to enjoy a cup of Hot Chocolate and a train shaped sugar cookie.

2. Use empty boxes, blocks, chairs, etc. make an imaginary train.

3. Plan a field trip to a local train station or watch a video on a train trip.

4. Using the spatter paint technique, make pictures that look like it is snowing.

5. Make train cars out of shoe boxes and lots of other “stuff.” Take cardboard boxes (1/2) and cut a hole out of the top (enough to put it over the child’s head – resting on their shoulders). Have the kids paint and decorate them. You can even put black construction paper wheels on the side, then put crape paper to sting them together. The kids love to “BE” trains. We sing songs and walk thru the neighborhood.

Sources: http://www.easyfunschool.com/article1919.html
http://www.childfun.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=142
http://www.kinderthemes.com/thepolarexpress.html

6. Circle Time Activity:  Have the children bring one special gift given to them.  Students can share their item with the group and tell who gave them the gift and why their gift is so special to them.

GAMES
1.Toy~Train Counting Game
Make 12 large rectangle shaped train cars.  To make  each car fold a large piece of black construction paper in half.  Stape or glue up the sides leaving the top open.  Use magnets on the back (or tape) and tape the cars low on the chalkboard or wall so that students can easily reach them. . Number the cars 1-12.  

Give each child a bell. Play holiday songs to which they can ring the bells
Play a new version of Simon Says- “Conductor Says”

2. Toy Sorting and Counting
From magazines cut various pictures of toys.  Glue each set of pictures on different piece of paper.  (Example  1 board game,  2 dolls,  3 race cars, etc.) 

3. Music Game 
Give each child a bell. Play holiday songs to which they can ring the bells

4. Conductor Says
Play a new version of Simon Says- “Conductor Says”For more games, visit the following link
http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/thepolarexpress/fungames.shtm

 

for FINGERPLAYS AND SONGS, visit
KinderKorner’s The Polar Express

MUSIC AND MOVEMENT
1.  Give each child a bell. Play holiday songs to which they can ring the bells.

2.  Break the kids into groups of four. Give each group a song and have them come up with a way to accompany it with their bells.

LANGUAGE ARTS
Story Sequencing
Have a printout of a train with engine, cars, and caboose. Then have sections from the book in drawings and the students put the pictures in sequential order as they think the story will proceed. Then during the reading, the students could check their train and see if their ideas of order were correct. 
Link for printout of train (have children glue small drawings over the train cars.)
http://www.marcias-lesson-links.com/Train%20Cars.pdf

Ride the Wish Train
Art/Writing:  Give students a half sheet of lined paper.  Have students write or dictate to you one “wish” for Christmas.  Begin the sentence I wish _____________________this Christmas.  Glue each paper to a half sheet of black construction paper.  Staple another half sheet of paper on top to make a rectangle shaped book.  Write each student’s name on their black cover using a gold glitter pen.  Have children trace two circle wheels for their train car.  Hang these in the hall with a train engine at the beginning and a caboose filled with pictures of toys or a picture of Santa.  Use Christmas yarn to link the cars together.  The caption “Christmas Wishes” or “Ride the Kindergarten Wish Train” could be used above the train.
Source: http://www.kinderthemes.com/thepolarexpress.html

Pre-Reading/Writing Connections
Show the cover of the book. Ask students to brain storm to guess what the book might be about.2. Show the students a silver bell necklace you made and place it around your neck. Tell the students they will find out how important this one little bell is in the story. Tell them before they begin, we are going to have hot cocoa to drink as we read the story. Fix hot cocoa. (Students will realize they are drinking hot cocoa as the children in the story are.)

Begin reading the story. When the young boy is asked what he would like for the first gift of Christmas stop reading. Have the students speculate and guess what they think he may ask to receive. Then finish the book. After you finish, ask students why his friend could not hear the bell? Discuss why it is important for us to believe in others.

My Train Trip/Wish book

Make a book to go with the story about the students train trip. Draw pictures to go with the story.

Bring in old toy catalogues or magazines. Have the students make a wish book for their own. They could also cut out a picture of what they would wish for to go with the story they drew.

FLANNEL BOARD / DIMENSIONAL STORY
Material:

sleigh bell (wrapped in small box)
drawing supplies
Introduction Activity:
Show the small gift wrapped box (containing the bell) to the class. Ask them to speculate what’s inside. After everyone has had the opportunity to guess, select a child to open the box and show its contents. Tell the children that they will hear a story about a boy’s exciting nightime adventure and the very special gift he receives.


Body:
Read the story “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg.
Pause to discuss the illustrations (How do they make you feel?)Also, pause to discuss things that children might see on the way to the North Pole, as well as, what they might see when they arrive.At the end of the story, review the happenings of the boys very special evening.


Conclusion Activity :
Children draw pictures of what they might be seen on the way to or at the North Pole, on cloud shaped pieces of paper. To use for a Flannel board display,
make a Polar Exprees train and use the cloud shaped pictues as the puffs of smoke coming from the engine.

 

Note: Always end the story with the sentence, “It made the most beautiful sound my sister and I had ever heard.” It seems a more appropriate ending for children of this age.

COGNITIVE / MANIPULATIVE / SENSORY ACTIVITIES

Cognition-
1.
Pretend to move with the train as it runs on the tracks. As the train goes uphill, lean back and chug slowly. As it goes downhill, lean forward and chug slowly. On the curvy track, lean left or right. On the bouncy track, bounce up and down and make the chug-g-g bounce too.

2. Find pictures of different kinds of trains and compare them to the illustrations in the book. Which one is most like the Polar Express? Which one is least like the Polar Express?

Manipulative- 
1. Make Trains using different shapes of constructiin paper such as circle, square, recangle, triangle, etc. Have children glue onto large sheet of paper.
2. Have the children lace train shape lacing cards.

Sensory-
Have trays of different types of holiday cookies and serve them. Ask children what they taste? Chocolate? Cinnamon?

SCIENCE
Show examples of different types of bells. Discuss pitch. Ring different size bells to see how size and shape can change sound.  In groups, arrange bells from highest to lowest pitch.

MATH
Pattern Block Trains

Have children create trains from pattern blocks (they’ll need to stack rectangles, etc.,  to make the train cars proportionally large enough).  After they have completed their train, have them rebuild it by gluing construction paper pattern block shapes to a black background.

Toy Train Counting Game
1. Make 12 large rectangle shaped train cars.  To make  each car fold a large piece of black construction paper in half.  Stape or glue up the sides leaving the top open.  Use magnets on the back (or tape) and tape the cars low on the chalkboard or wall so that students can easily reach them.
Source:
http://www.kinderthemes.com/thepolarexpress.html

2. Number the cars 1-12. 

3.  Make 12 individual, number cards and place in a stocking.

4.   From magazines cut various pictures of toys.  Glue each set of pictures on different piece of paper. 
  (Example  1 board game,  2 dolls,  3 race cars, etc.)  Laminate for durability.

5. Have students draw a number card from the stocking and match it to the correct car.  Line up the cars in order.  When all of the cars are in order, have children take turns drawing a toy card from the stocking, counting the set  and matching it to the correct car and put them in the corresponding train car pocket.

6.  Keep this display set up for the week for a center activity.

~More Fun~  Use the toy cards in the train cars to sing a new version of The 12 Days Of Christmas!

Example: 
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
One baby doll and a choo choo train just for me!

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Two race cars, one baby doll and a choo choo train just for me!  Etc.

ART AND CRAFTS
Construction Paper Trains

Students will construct their own trains from uncut construction paper, using TLC-style cutting techniques.  Provide cotton balls to be stretched out and glued to background paper for steam from the boiler.

Reindeer Ornament Craft
Used 3 craft sticks to form a triangular reindeer head.  Glue on a large red pompom nose and two googly eyes.  As a final touch, twist brown pipe cleaners  around the top stick to form antlers.  Yarn can be added to make an ornament.


Winter Train

Make an outline of a train traced with pencil on the construction paper. Color in with chalk and then rub the chalk in one direction to look like the train is speeding and the snow was blowing past. Finally, make snowflakes by dipping fingers and Q-tips in white tempera paint.  

Source: http://www.littlegiraffes.com/polarexpress.html

Snow Scenes
There are many ways to create a snowy scene- here are a few examples: Torn white tissues pieces glued to dark blue or black paper, salt sprinkled over white paint, use Q-tips dipped in paint to create a snowy scene…

CENTERS / DRAMATIC PLAY
Build a village with mountains and tunnels, etc. with blocks

RECIPES AND COOKING
Twinkie Trains
Take one twinkie and 6 vanilla wafers. Use those decorator gels in the tubes(or you can use cream cheese to glue the wheels on) and have the kids decorate the twinkies then “glue” the wheels on the sides. Use a marshmallow for the smoke stack.
 
Marshmallow Trains

Use pretzel sticks to hook the “cars” together and use peanut butter to glue cheerios on as wheels and other features.

SNACKS
Hot Chocolate with mini marshmallows.
Graham Cracker Trains ~ make these flat on a paper plate.
Hostess Twinkie® Trains ~ attach cookie wheels with frosting or cream cheese
Warm Cocoa with Candy Cane stirrers, topped with marshmallows


Join us as we will covering a theme unit on Christmas

Books:
Baby to Preschool
B Is for Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet
by Isabel Wilner

Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day
Christmas Baby by Margaret Miller
Clifford’s First Christmas by Norman Bridwell
Dream Snow by Eric Carle
Elmo’s 12 Days of Christmas by Sarah Albee, Maggie Swanson (Illustrator)
Max’s Christmas Board Book by Rosemary Wells
My First Christmas Touch and Feel by Staff of Dorling Kindersley Publishing
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore, Jan Brett (Illustrator)
One Baby Jesus: A New Twelve Days of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry
Poky Little Puppy’s First Christmas by Manufactured by Golden Books
Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
Spot’s First Christmas by Eric Hill, Margaret Frith (Illustrator)
The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry
Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry

Ages 4 and up
Arthur’s Perfect Christmas by Marc Tolon Brown
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Peanuts) by Charles M. Schulz
Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck, Laura Godwin
Christmas in the Big Woods (My First Little House Books Series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda
Corduroy’s Christmas by Don Freeman, B. G. Hennessy
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans, Daniel Craig (Illustrator)
Light the Lights!: A Story about Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas by Margaret Moorman
Madeline’s Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Night Before Christmas by Robert Sabuda, Clement Clarke Moore
Olive, the Other Reindeer by by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell
Too Many Tamales by by Gary Soto
Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe, Michael Glenn Monroe (Illustrator)

 

Emergent Reader Holiday Books (you can print online)
Maureen Tumenas, a former kindergarten teacher, wrote these emergent reader books. Important: They are designed to be copied back to back and stacked on top of each other.
These are PDF files.   
Christmas Lights

Here Is Santa
I Can See Christmas
I see Hanukkah

Brown Reindeer, Brown Reindeer, What Do You See?

 Internet Resources
Online Holiday Coloring
http://funschool.kaboose.com/preschool/holiday-fun/games/game_holiday_coloring_pages.html

Christmas – Teacher Resources from Teacher Vision
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/christmas/celebrations-and-festivals/6604.html?detoured=1&_R=1

Santa’s Christmas Library (for coloring sheets, crafts, songs and more)
http://www.12days.com/library/default.htm

Preschool Christmas theme from Child’s Play Family Center
http://www.angelfire.com/dc/childsplay/Christmas_Theme.htm

First School Preschool Christmas and Winter Holidays
http://www.first-school.ws/THEME/h_wholidays.htm

Childfun Christmas Theme
http://childfun.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=3

Christmas Activities from Activity Village
http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/christmas_pages.htm

A to Z Christmas theme
http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Christmas/

Web Resources
http://www.k-3learningpages.net/web%20christmas.htm

Christmas Theme Unit
http://home.centurytel.net/mrs_browns_classroom/pages/merry_christmas.htm


Printables

Coloring pages and assorted Holiday printables
http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Printables/Christmas/index.shtml

Christian Christmas Coloring pages
http://coloringbookfun.com/christian/index.htm

Christmas Printables
http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/christmas/xmas-printables.html

Preschool Printables File Folder games (Christmas Tree Shape Match)
http://www.preschoolprintables.com/filefolder/tree/filefoldertree.shtml

Christmas Printables
http://palmdate.tripod.com/Christmas/printables.htm

Christmas at KidSparkz.com
http://www.kidsparkz.com/christmasprintables.html

 

Group Discussion:
1. Talk about how our families celebrate the holiday season> Does your family celebrate Christmas? If not,
What holiday do you celebrate? Discuss what types of food you eat during the holidays.3. Our Family Christmas Tree  
All children enjoy telling about what they do to get ready for Christmas.  Lead children through the group discussion

2.  Gift giving.
What can you give to someone?  Lead students through a discussion about gifts they can give others.  Gifts that cost money or gifts that do not cost anything (ex. helping with dishes, etc.)   
   

Group Activities:

1. Santa’s Toy Shop
Put different spots on your floor (use tape, paper bags, hula hoops, etc.). Put different toys on each spot. Tell your kids that they need to test out new toys for them. Play music and tell the children they have one song to play at an area and then one the music stops they move to the next area

2. Christmas Bingo
Play Christmas bingo with your children! Make a bingo card with different Christmas shapes on it (Christmas Trees, Stockings, Reindeer, Fireplaces, Santa, Ornaments). Next make Rudolph Nose markers (red circles). Have your children cover the shape you call or hold up larger pictures of them.

3. Big & Little Christmas Trees
Call out big, medium, and little and have your children to be that size of Christmas Tree.
Big: stand up with feet together and put hands above head in a point
Middle: Squat knees together and put hands above head in a point
Little: Sit down with legs crossed and put hands above head in a point

4. Pass The Christmas Fun
Have all your children sit in a circle. Have them all pass something fun (candy, small toys, crayons, etc) Have them pass the item around the circle (once they have one mastered you can have them pass two, one clockwise and one counter-clockwise) Play music and when you stop the music the child that is holding the item gets to keep it and then give one to another child that has not yet received an item. Continue the game until everyone has an item.SOURCE: http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/christmas/games.htm

 

Games:
1. Santa’s Bean Bag Toss

Decorate a large paper bag or cardboard box with Christmas wrap, ribbons, and pictures of Christmas toys and candy (Santa’s bag). Tie ribbons around bean bags to make “gifts” to toss into Santa’s bag.

2. Ring the Bell Game
Using a large (4 foot x 3 foot) piece of heavy duty cardboard, cut a large bell shape from the center. Add ribbons with jingle bells attached to hang from the open middle area. The children threw bean bags through the bell to “Ring the Bell”. Great for hand-eye coordination and throwing skills!


3. BOOK PASS
Wrap a small book, one for each child, give them each one sitting in a circle, read “The Gingerbread Man” story and each time you say the word “RAN” they pass the book to the person to the right, continue with story, and once book is done, what ever book they end up with they keep. EVERYONE is a winner.

4. FILL THE STOCKING:
divide into two teams
For each team you need a medium bowl, serving spoon, Christmas stocking ~ medium size, and wrapped candy.

Each child takes a turn spooning up some candy and walking across the room to put in stocking. Once every one has had a turn see whose team has the most candy.

Or play until the stocking is full, first team to fill wins.

5. GIFT WRAP RELAY
Wrap empty boxes up, divide into two teams, put a stack of presents across from teams. One child from each team goes to pile gets a gift unwraps it then goes back to line for the next child to go, the first team to unwrap the stack of presents wins.

6. PIN THE NOSE ON RUDOLPH / PUT THE HAT ON FROSTY/  STICK THE BOW TO THE PRESENT
All can be done like Pin the tail on the donkey!

7. SNOWBALL TOSS
Use white Styrofoam balls to throw into a pail or bucket, Person that gets the most in wins.

8. Let’s All Do a Little Clapping
(Tune: We Wish You A Merry Christmas)

Let’s all do a little clapping,
let’s all do a little clapping,
let’s all do a
little clapping, & spread Christmas cheer.

Other Actions:
Jumping
Snapping
Twirling
Stomping
Stretching
Bending

SOURCES:
http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/christmas/more.htm

Fingerplays and Songs:

Christmastime 
sung to “This Old Man”
Christmastime, Christmastime,
Is a very special time,
With a tree and gifts and goodies to eat.
Christmastime is really neat!

Christmas Song – sung to “I’m A Little Teapot”
I’m a little snowman, round and fat,
Here is my scarf and here is my hat.
When Christmas comes around just hear me shout,
“Here comes Santa. You better watch out!”

Christmas Star – sung to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
Twinkle, twinkle, Christmas star,
Way up high is where you are.
Shining there for all to see,
On the tiptop of our tree.
Twinkle, twinkle, star so bright,
Shine up there till morning light.

Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells.
Jingle all the way!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh -
Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells.
Jingle all the way!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!

Little Green Tree – sung to “I’m A Little Teapot”
I’m a little green tree in the house,
Here is my trunk,
(Raise arms up straight.)
Here are my boughs.
(Hold arms out to sides.)
Decorate me now with lights so fine,
(Move hands back and forth across body.)
Then plug me in and watch me shine!
(Hold arms out to sides and smile.)

Ring, Ring, Ring The Bells – sung to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
Ring, ring, ring the bells.
Ring them loud and clear.
To tell the children everywhere
That Christmas time is here.

Where Is Santa? – sung to “Are You Sleeping?”
Where is Santa? Where is Santa?
(Put hands behing back.)
Here I am! Here I am!
(Make a big belly with arms.)
Merry, Merry Christmas!
(Sing in Santa voice.)
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Ho-ho-ho! Ho-ho-ho!
(Put hands behind back.)

The Reindeer Pokey – sung to “The Hokey Pokey”
You put your antlers in.
You put your antlers out.
You put you antlers in,
And you shake them all about.
You do the Reindeer Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!
You put your hooves in….
You put your red nose in….
You put your fluffy tail in…
You put your reindeer body in…

S-A-N-T-A

(Tune: Bingo)
We’ll Decorate The Tree

(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)http://stepbystepcc.com/holidays/christmas2.html
http://www.theteachersroom.com/christmas.htm

 

There was a man in a big red suit 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’ll decorate the tree,
We’ll decorate the tree.
Heigh-ho, it’s Christmastime,
We’ll decorate the tree.

The presents we will wrap,
The presents we will wrap.
Heigh-ho, it’s Christmastime,
The presents we will wrap.

Carols we will sing,
Carols we will sing.
Heigh-ho, it’s Christmastime,
Carols we will sing.

SOURCES:

For more Christmas Songs visit these sites,
Favorites: Songs and Carols
http://www.santas.net/songs.htm

Broken Claw’s Christmas Carols
http://blog.brokenclaw.net/carols

Christmas Songs
http://www.catholic.net/christmas_songs/template_channel.phtml?channel_id=17

The twelve days of Christmas
http://www.12days.com/library/carols/

Christmas Songs and Plays
http://www.dltk-holidays.com/xmas/songs.html

Language Arts:

1. Christmas Words

Find some Christmas Clipart pictures and enlarge them. Then write each word on the computer using a dot-to-dot tracing font and printed it out with the pictures. Color and laminate. Have the children use tracing pens to trace each word. The children love this activity because they love using those pens!

2. Letter Match
You can use any holiday symbols for this game. I chose trees and ornaments. Photocopy each symbol 26 times. Program one set with uppercase letters and the other with lowercase letters. Laminate. To play the children match all the upper and lowercase letters.
.

3. Predictable Charts
Make a predictable chart with things your students.

 

I hope to find __________ under my Christmas tree.
All I want for Christmas is __________.
I love to give __________ to others.
I looked in my stocking and found __________.
If I went to the North Pole I would see __________.

Encourage children to illustrate their sentence WITH ASSISTANCE.
Laminate, bind and place in the classroom library

4. Positional Words Activity
Rudolph is a stick puppet who illustrates some positional words as he flies. He ends up falling off a roof and landing in a snowdrift (a pocket covered with cottonballs.) Directions to make this book can be found in Kim’s kid-made books at:
http://www.kindernetonline.com/misc.html

 

Here are the instructions to make your own!Christmas Book: “Reindeer Instructions”

 

The sentences for this book can be written with a ‘sharpie’ marker and run off onto light blue 9×12 construction paper, two book pages per sheet. A Carson-Dellosa reindeer is a perfect book manipulative.

The Pages:
1. Fly over trees. (Students draw trees.)

2. Fly under wires. (Glue 2 brown ‘telephone poles’, with 2 pieces of string suspended across, glued under the pole tops.)

3. Fly around airplanes. (Students draw an airplane.)

4. Fly through clouds. (Spread apart a cottonball and glue the
pieces down randomly.)

5. Land carefully. (Draw a house with a big roof and chimney. Spread the roof with glue and sprinkle on white glitter for snow.)

6. Oooooooops! (Half the house is drawn near the binding……just enough to show that the house is there……..the reindeer slide off the roof and into the snow below! For the snow below, tape or glue a piece of scrap paper, on three sides, to create a ‘pocket’, and cover it with cottonballs or white glitter. Now it will look like the reindeer slid off the roof, and is head first in the snow, but we know he’s safe in his pocket!)

The Cover:
The cover is made from a bright red 12×18, cut “hotdog”, and folded over so the pages can be stapled inside. “Reindeer Instructions” is run off on bright green, cut with fancy-edged scissors, and glued on the cover. Using tape to reinforce and a small hole punch, attach to the book a 5″-6″ piece of red yarn near the bottom of the binding. Attach a reindeer to the other end of the yarn. This reindeer “travels” the book page by page, following the instructions, then landing in the pocket.

 

Flannel Board/Dimensional Story
“Santa” from the
Christmas Song Book by Shelley Lovett
For words and patterns, visit 
http://www.earlylearningactivities.com/PDF/christmassongbooks.pdf

“Santa” (to the tune of B-I-N-G-O)
There was a man in a big 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!

There was a man with a big red nose and Santa was his name-o
(clap)   A – N – T -A
(clap)   A – N – T -A
(clap)   A – N – T -A
and Santa was his name-o!

There was a man with a big loud laugh and Santa was his name-o
(clap)  (clap)   N – T -A
(clap)  (clap)   N – T -A
(clap)  (clap)   N – T -A
and Santa was his name-o!

There was a man with a big round tummy and Santa was his name-o
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   T -A
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   T -A
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   T -A
and Santa was his name-o!

There was a man with a big red suit and Santa was his name-o
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   (clap) A
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   (clap) A
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   (clap) A
and Santa was his name-o!
There was a man with a eight reindeer and Santa was his name-o
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   (clap)  (clap)  
(clap)  (clap)   (clap)   (clap)  (clap)  
(clAp)  (clap)   (clap)  (clap)   (clap)    
and Santa was his name-o!

  
Cognitive/Manipulative/Sensory:

Cognition-
Christmas Cookie Cutter Match Up
On white poster paper, trace around 5 to 10 Christmas cookie cutter shapes with a felt tip marker.  Cover the poster paper with clear contact paper to protect ~ the game will last longer! Provide the cookie cutter shapes along with the “game board” and have the children match all the shapes.

 

 

Manipulative-
Christmas Stockings

Make a large Stocking shape into lacing cards. Make two for each child using laminated construction paper, a hole punch. Have the children use yarn to lace them together. Not only are the children lacing and using fine motor skills, they will have a stocking to put any of their little gifts in to take home!

Sensory-
1. The Smells of Christmas – Preschool Sensory Activity
Preschoolers will use their noses to guess what’s inside containers. Place different smelling Christmas items into individual containers (or individual clean socks) that prevent children from seeing what’s inside. Preschoolers will smell each container and guess what’s inside.
Great smelling items for this activity include:
peppermint candy
cinnamon stick
a snip of Christmas tree
gingersnap cookie
cloves.

Scratch and sniff books such as The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry [Golden Books, 2003] can also give preschoolers opportunities to use their sense of smell at a science table.

2.Shiny or Dull Sorting Science ActivityShiny things reflect light while dull items don’t reflect light well. A high interest science lesson for Christmas, preschoolers will have fun shining a flashlight on items to determine whether the item is shiny or dull. Many Christmas items are shiny and plenty are dull so this activity acquaints preschoolers with popular items associated with Christmas. Books to add next to this science activity are Is it Rough? Is it smooth? Is it shiny? by Tana Hoban [Greenwillow, 1984] and Shiny and Dull by Angela Royston [Heinemann, 2003].Shiny items include:
tinsel
foil wrapping paper
ornaments
metallic ribbon
jingle bells
metallic Christmas cards
glittery items.

Examples of dull items for this activity are:
felt Christmas stocking
flat toned wrapping paper
miniature Christmas wreath
candle
ornaments made of fabric
ribbon

A preschool Christmas themed science center adds hands-on learning fun to a classroom. Young children will spend plenty of time immersed in science activities at a science table with a Christmas theme. Engage young children with holiday activities that use the senses and explore science in a fun way.

SOURCE: http://preschool.suite101.com/article.cfm/christmas_science_center_ideas_for_children

Science: 
Pinecone Science Center Activity

A collection of different sizes and types of pinecones can be explored and sorted by young children. Science investigation tools for pinecone exploration include:
magnifying glass
tape measure
tongs

divided containers such as muffin tins, ice cube trays and egg cartons
paint chips in brown tones books about pinecones such as From Pinecone to Pine Tree by Ellen Weiss [Children’s Press(CT), 2007] that show preschoolers the purpose of pinecones and why trees produce pinecones

Preschool teachers may want to make a simple size gauge by tracing three different sized ovals onto a large piece of construction paper and laminating the paper. Teachers can label the ovals “small”, “medium” and “large”. Preschoolers will be able to lay the pine cones on top of the ovals to gauge the size of each pinecone. In addition, teachers can set three containers in the Christmas science center and tape a small oval to one container, a medium oval to a second container and a large oval to a third container. Preschoolers may choose to sort the pinecones by size. A similar activity can be set up using paint chips so that children can sort pinecones according to color shade.

Math:

1.
Christmas Tree Matching Game
Print out an instant Christmas Tree Matching Game from
Preschool Printables.
http://www.preschoolprintables.com/filefol…oldertree.shtml

2. Jingle Bell Sorting

Collect several types of bells.
Have the children sort them according to size or color.
The children always love this center because they love ringing those bells!
3. Christmas Chain
At the beginning of December have the children make paper chains. Put enough links for each day leading up to Christmas. Attach the chains to a paper bell with the following poem:
How many days till Christmas?
It’s mighty hard to tell
Take off a link every night
When the Sandman cast his spell
And Christmas Eve will be here
By the time you reach the bell.
The children take the chains home and take off one link every night to count down the days until Christmas.

-OR-

Attach chains to a big yellow star and use this poem:

Each evening when goodnights are said,
Take off one link and hop into bed.
When only the star is left to shine,
Then you will know it’s Christmastime!

4. Math concepts
Make a snowman with different sizes of paper plates or with white construction paper. Ask your child to identify the Top, Middle, and Bottom of the snowman. Discuss which part is bigger, smaller and largest. .

Coloring Pages:
http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/christmas/coloringpage.php
http://www.preschoolcoloringbook.com/color/cpchristmas.shtml
http://www.first-school.ws/THEME/cp_h_christmas.htm
http://www.free-coloring-pages.com/
http://www.apples4theteacher.com/coloring-pages/christmas/
http://www.coloringpages.net/christmas.html
http://www.abcteach.com/directory/fun_activities/coloring_pages/holidayseasonal/christmas/
http://coloringbookfun.com/

 

 

Art and Craft Projects:

Christmas Wreath
Cut a wreath shape out of cardboard, glue cheerios to the cardboard, spray paint green, after dry add berries(cheerios sprayed red) and a bow. Kids love to do this…make sure you have enough cheerios for eating, because it is one for the wreath, one for me etc.


Holiday Wreath

To make this holiday wreath cut out the center of a paper plate. Keep the outside ring. Have children tear or cut green scraps and glue them on the remaining part of the paper plate until no white is showing. I photocopied a bow and had the children color, cut out, and glue on the wreath. The children used a hole puncher and red paper scraps to make the berries.
Ornaments
One clear round ornament
Acrylic paints (various colors)
Have the children squirt some paint into the top of the ornament. Let them roll the ball around in their hands. Make sure that they don’t roll the opening upside down so the paint does not pour out. When the ornament is completely colored, it is done. Place it upside down to get all the extra paint out and to dry on some paper towels. Put the top back on the ornament.

Candy Cane Art Project
This is a quick and easy art project that the children always love! Ahead of time cut some 1 x 1 inch squares of red and white paper. Cut green construction paper in half and draw a candy cane shape on it (I always draw one on each side). The children put glue along the candy cane line and then stick on their red and white squares in a pattern. When dry, hang from the ceiling.

Christmas Tree Marble Painting
Have children trace and cut out green Christmas trees. Place in a box top. Dip marbles (or jingle bells!) into paint and drop into the box tops. Have the children roll the marbles onto the tree by holding the box top and slowly moving it back and forth. Have the children use various colors of paint. Allow to dry and then have the children glue on sequins and beads for more decorations

Silver Bells
Give each child 2 styrofoam cups. Poke a hole in the bottom of each one. Cover the cups with aluminum foil (Add further embellishments, if you wish. LOL) Put a colored pipe cleaner through the inside of the cup and bend to hold. Tie the bells together at the top. The children love to make these, & they make great gifts for the parents. You can even add a small jingle bell to the pipe cleaner clapper—so the bells can really ring!

 

 


Tree Ornaments
Print using card stock, have kids color, laminate, put on tree. Click here for pattern.
http://stepbystepcc.com/holidays/ornament.html

Pasta Christmas Wreaths
Supplies: Small Paper Plates, A Variety of Different Shaped Pasta, Craft Glue, Silver or Gold Spray Paint, Tinsel Bow

Cut center out of the paper plate. Glue pasta noodles around the outer ring. Try to completely cover the paper plate. Let glue dry and then spray paint the desired color. Embellish with a bow of tinsel.

Clothespin Angel

Paint old fashioned clothes pin white. Paint knob on top like a face. Cut out wings & glue to back.
 

 

SOURCES:
http://stepbystepcc.com/holidays/christmas2.html
http://www.theteachersroom.com/christmas.htm

Crafts as gifts

Pretzel Wreath
Use the little pretzels (the ones that are shaped like a heart with a cross in the middle). Glue 1 layer of them in a circle like a wreath, then glue a second layer on top of the first joining the pretzels together over the middle of a pretzel on the first layer. You can weave ribbon between the holes if you would like. Hang with a ribbon.
Candy Cane Reindeers
This is an inexpensive gift that teacher can make and put in children’s stocking.
 

 

What You Need:
Candy canes
Brown pipe cleaners
Small wiggle eyes
Mini red or black cotton balls

What You Do:
Wrap the pipe cleaners around the top of the cane and shape to resemble antlers, glue on eyes, and cottons balls for nose. Tie it with a ribbon and put in children’s stocking

Candle for Parents Gift
Take a baby food jar. Tear different colored pieces of tissue paper. Cover the jar using a paintbrush with glue diluted slightly with water and attach the pieces of tissue paper. Throw a few sprinkles of gold or silver sparkles. Add ribbon around the top and place small votive candle in jar. Before making test candle size with baby food jar, as not all jars are the same so the candle sometimes will not fit.
Votive Candle Holder
Purchase clear plastic cups (8 oz.). In a small margarine tub pour white glue and dilute with water. Tear red and green tissue paper into small pieces. With a paintbrush let children paint the glue mixture onto the outside of the plastic cup then put tissue pieces on top of glue. Have them cover the entire cup. Let dry. Now a tea light candle can be placed inside and when lit shows the Christmas colors beautifully.
Gift Soap
Each child needs a bar of soap and a pretty sticker. If your stickers are a little large they will completely cover up the soap “name” on the bar (if it is marked). Have the children each choose a favorite sticker, unwrap the bar of soap, and place the sticker on top. Melts a bar of paraffin (like canning wax–very inexpensive). ( melt the paraffin in a pie tin placed on top of saucepan, kind of like a double boiler). When the wax is melted you dip the top of the soap into the wax to seal the sticker. Then the sticker will last a long time and not come off when the soap gets wet. The paraffin not only seals–it makes the soap very shiny and pretty. After it cools it is ready to be wrapped and given away. The children enjoy making something that their parents can really use! These make nice Mother’s Day presents too–Mom could put them in a drawer, like a sachet. You could use pastel soaps too and flower stickers.

Foam Magnets
Get a sheet of Fun Foam, a package of Christmas stickers, & a strip of self- adhesive magnet. Cut the Fun Foam in squares bigger than the sticker, & the magnet in about 1/2″ pieces. Give each child a piece of foam, a sticker, & a magnet. Put the sticker on the foam, trim around it as desired (leave some color from the foam showing as a border) & stick the magnet on the back. These are great for any holiday/occasion. A variation is to hot-glue a pin back to it instead of the magnet.

Simple Picture Frame Magnet
Glue wide tongue depressors in a rectangle shape. Have the children paint them & then glue crayons on the four sides. Then put a photo on the back, fitting it into the frame. Cover the back & add a magnet.

Puzzle Picture Frame
Pick up jigsaw puzzles at garage sales (the more colorful the better). Then take popsicle sticks & make a triangle shape (hot gluing them together). Then hot glue the jigsaw pieces on the popsicle sticks (as wide as you can, leaving enough space in the middle to attach the child’s picture to the back) then cut out poster board in the same size as the triangle & hot glue it behind the picture. Attach string or ribbon to hang this ornament to your tree or a magnet. *Variation: Cut out a circle probably the size of a margarine container, & cut out a circle in the middle big enough to place the child’s photo in. Cover with puzzle pieces. Leave the puzzle pieces plain or spray paint them green to look like a wreath. Attach a small bow at the top.

Puzzle Pieces Frame
Several handfuls of miscellaneous puzzle pieces
Spray paint or craft paint
“Tacky” glue
Spray clear acrylic paint (optional)
Felt Hanging ribbon or magnet

Scrounge into the toy bin and make good use of old puzzles. Spray or brush paint both sides of your puzzle pieces. Arrange your puzzle pieces into frames. Carefully glue pieces together. (Spray frame with clear acrylic if paint is dull.) Glue photo to back of frame and cover with felt. Attach hanging ribbon under felt or magnet on felt.

Source: http://childfun.com/

 

 

 

Recipes/cooking

 

 

 

Snowflakes
Scissors
Flour Tortillas
Oil
Pan 
Powder Sugar
Take flour tortillas and using the same technique as cutting out “paper” snowflakes, make snowflakes. Put a touch of oil in a pan and fry tortilla until it is crisp. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
OR
Make tortilla snowflakes as above. Spread butter on one side of the tortilla and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

 

Supplies:
Ice Cream Cones – Sugar Cones
Green Frosting
Candy Items
Take a sugar cone turn it upside down and spread green frosting all over it. Stick candy on to decorate it.
Reindeer Sandwich
For 1 sandwich:
1/2 slice of bread that has been cut diagonally
peanut butter
pretzel twists
2 brown M&Ms
1 red M&M
Spread the peanut butter on the bread. Add 2 brown M&M eyes, a red M&M nose, and pretzel antlers.

Reindeer Treat Cup Cakes

Prepare your favorite cup cake recipe
Prepare or buy frosting/ icing and color it brown with food coloring
Decorate: Antlers:
break pretzels in half for two antlers and insert on either side of the cup cake
Nose: Half a maraschino cherry
Eyes: Small Hershey kisses or other small candy (M&M’s) for eyes
Christmas Snacks-Candy cane ice cream
You need an 8oz. clear plastic cup,1 quart of vanilla ice cream and 1 quart of strawberry ice cream and peppermint extract. Mix the extract in the vanilla ice cream. Then make layers of vanilla-strawberry, vanilla-strawberry until you reach the top. This is a candy cane treat. My kids love it and it helps them learn to pattern.

 

 

 

Christmas Trees
You take a waffle cone and turn it upside down. Then let the children “paint” green icing on their cones. After they have painted the icing on, let them decorate with candies (mini M&M’s work GREAT!). When the are through they will have their own Christmas Tree complete all the ornaments to enjoy by EATING!

Snowman cookies
graham cracker crumbs (about 10 whole crackers) peanut butter (18ou) 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar 1 stick margarine white chocolate (several bags of chips)

Mix graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, margarine and peanut butter. Roll into balls. Stick into freezer for a few minutes to chill. Melt white chocolate chips. Stick a toothpick into the chilled dough and dip each cookie into the white chocolate. Stack 3 balls on top of each other to form a snowman. Use sprinkles/candy for eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons.

Sources:
http://www.perpetualpreschool.com/holiday_themes/christmas_snacks.html

 

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