Elementary classrooms and Christmas can be one of the most fun, joyful, and let’s be honest really busy times of the year. When you look back after the Christmas fun, at the joy the students, parents, and staff have had it is all worth the extra work.
And planning and work it is! Especially if you plan for your students’ Christmas activities, parent and student gifts, crafts, and the special holiday party.
This may be the first opportunity besides conferences to involve families and help parents to feel connected and supported in their child’s classroom.
It is an opportunity to give parents and students the gift of making memories with their little ones and connect them with the school culture as well.
Whether you plan to have one day filled with Christmas activities or sprinkle them out throughout the month here are 7 Christmas activities you can incorporate into your classroom to have a successful holiday season this December.
If you go for the traditional Christmas party they can last up to an hour and planning activities for parent engagement is an important key to success.
It’s important for families to be able to interact, help, and play with their child.
Upon arrival it can be helpful to have students engaged in an activity at their desks or meet together for the morning or afternoon meeting and invite families to join.
1. Have a Christmas Activity Before Parents Arrive
Before parents arrive, you can have students work on a Christmas Journal Writing Prompt. You can get that below!
This will give you a few minutes to put all of the goodies they bring where they go and welcome them. Parents can join in with the student as they complete the journal writing activity and read what they have written before the festivities start.
Ideally, it’s great if parents can bring items such as napkins, plates, and cups early so you have those ready. Sending home a letter ahead of time with a date you would like them brought in, is ideal because then you can prepare the snacks or material for the Gingerbread House ahead of time.
Some parents want to bring individual treat bags for each kid and this can easily become more to manage when all those goodies and gifts pile in. You will need a place for the extra goodies and treats and it’s nice to have a table or ledge to add everything so you can hand out class goody bags at the end of the party.
2. Decorate Cookies or Make Gingerbread Houses
I have tried several food making activities and the cookie decorating and Gingerbread Houses were my favorite. One year Christmas Trees were made with Waffle Cones, Frosting, and M & M’s. It was fun to make, but not very good to eat.
Gingerbread Houses can be made by saving milk cartons that come with lunches. You can wash them and add frosting on the outside. This gives a sturdy wall for the graham crackers and roof.
This does take some extra prep time. If you have a parent volunteer who can set up the bowls of different toppings, frosting, graham crackers and plates this can save time.
3. Christmas Ornament Station
This can be as simple as using the Cricut to cut out ornaments and have students decorate them with markers, watercolor paint, or glitter glue.
I love Oriental Trading and find excellent parent gifts as well as ornaments of all types for students to enjoy decorating. If your school celebrates Jesus or Hanukkah you could have special ornaments for each student to make. * (A small commission is earned if you purchase through Oriental Trading)
4. Play Game or a Christmas Sensory Bin Open
Fun holiday games such as Christmas Bingo where all students win a prize at the end can be a good idea.
Providing opportunities for play can be very beneficial and strengthens attachment of parent and their child.
An open ended experience such as a Christmas Sensory Bin for students to explore.
To create this, you can use small red or green decorative foam balls they sell at the Dollar Stores and boxes of instant potatoes for the SNOW. Yes, instant potatoes! Students love to sift or scoop through the “snow”, count, make patterns with the added beads or sort by small, medium, or large and use their imagination with the Little Tykes Christmas Houses and people.
I recommend having two Santa’s or an extra sleigh if you can get them because although scooping snow into containers and adding the red and green balls into cups is very engaging, the highlight is definitely Santa and the sleigh.
5. Make Reindeer Food
This can be made ahead of time or at the time the parents come in. I had a parent volunteer help the kids make reindeer food one year during our regular class time and it was fun to sprinkle a bit of the fun activities in with the regular learning times.
To make reindeer food you need oatmeal and your choice of glitter. Students can scoop reindeer food into their bag and then Christmas Eve give the reindeers a treat. You can download this FREE Template below
6. Morning/Afternoon Meeting Fun
It can be important to keep structure to your day. Before the celebration it can help to provide the normal routine until it’s time for families to visit. You can talk about the celebration and show the students when it will be on the calendar.
I have found that parents seem to enjoy being apart of the learning and seeing what school is like for them. I have had whole class meetings where we will go over some routine things we do each day and then incorporate Christmas activities so parents can be part of the learning and games.
During morning meeting, you can answer the Christmas Question of the Day!
and Read a story Santa Claus Where Are you Hiding? Which helps students learn prepositional words.
Then you can even incorporate movement and a sensory break and dance to the Reindeer Pokey. Hand out sets of antlers and have them get all their holiday wiggles out.
7. Students Sing Christmas songs to wrap up the Party.
You Tube has some good Christmas songs with the video graphics. You can have a backdrop on your smartboard of the music below and students can stand and sing with the music.
Some good suggestions you may like are Jingle Bells and Up on the Rooftop. Some of my favorites are below.
Snowflake Song (Children hold snowflakes and move them to fall gently down and back and forth)
(Children can sing and perform the motions to this song)
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with fun and laughter!
Here are some other products you may like.
Build-A-Scene Positive Behavior Charts Enjoy creating a Santa and Reindeer Scene as students earn pieces throughout the day.