A good way to encourage your students and really engage preschoolers in the classroom is to bring the joy and festivities of Christmas into the classroom.
The colorful sights and sounds of Christmas, the anticipation of gifts, the magic of Santa – the festive season provides a wonderful opportunity for teachers to engage students and encourage them to learn using entertaining and easy to organize activities.
Picturing the holiday from a preschooler’s perspective, and exploring the sensory experience of Christmas through the eyes of a child, is a wonderful way to foster the development of new experiences and skills.
Research has shown time and time again that play as a part of learning is extremely important. There should be a strong emphasis on students being active in the learning process rather than passive because children can learn so much more through actually experiencing something as many studies have shown.
The number of activities that promote problem solving, teamwork, numeracy, literacy, and creativity are virtually endless.
Classifying, counting, drawing and painting, categorizing, narrative and recounting, storytelling, relationship building, and problem solving are just a few simple ideas that promote learning while having fun! Here is a great list of 5 exciting Christmas activities that will encourage your preschoolers to learn through play!
1. Glittery Christmas Wish List
This activity develops identifying, classifying, and organizing skills using a Christmas wish list to develop and enhance these skills.
Materials: Glue, construction paper, scissors, glitter, magazines, and toy catalogs. To get these supplies and tons of others check out this online teacher supply store.
1. Give students some big sheets of construction paper.
2. Have the students decorate the border by putting glue around the border and sprinkling glitter over it.
3. Color in the heading ‘My Wish List’
4. Cut out pictures of toys that the children like from the toy catalogs.
5. Have the students glue the images on their list based on shape, size, color, or value.
2. Hunt for Candy Canes – Outdoor Activity
This activity is great fun and develops problem solving skills and team building using a treasure hunt outdoors. Bundle your little students up and brave the cold!
Materials: Six identical treasure maps of the outdoor play area, a whistle, candy canes, and clue sheets.
1. Divide students into groups of 4 or 5 ‘Elf Teams’.
2. Provide each ‘Elf Team’ with a treasure map.
3. Hand out clue sheets and tell preschoolers to find the candy canes.
3. Christmas Art and Music
Enhance your students’ art, design and creativity skills using a range of awesome craft activities.
Materials: art supplies, CD player, cookie decoration kit, Christmas CD
1. Play Christmas music to the class while they create and decorate Christmas cards for loved ones, make Christmas ornaments or decorate gingerbread cookies.
2. Encourage students to sing along to jingles as they make their artwork.
4. Creating Fun Christmas Stories
To inspire imaginations and creativity read a wide range of Christmas stories to your preschoolers. Watch Christmas DVD’s and share favorite Christmas experiences in order to develop recounting skills, narrative skills, and collaborative skills. Have the students sit on soft classroom rugs as they share their stories!
Materials: DVD’s, stories, colored pens
1. Divide students into groups of four and ask students to create a Christmas story.
2. Each group storyboards the tale on big pieces of cardboard.
3. Have students present their storyboards and share their Christmas tale to their classmates.
5. Christmas Clues
1. Make a list of places, people, or objects related to Christmas. Examples – snowman, reindeer, elf, star.
2. Students ask up to 15 questions about the item and answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ depending on the relevance. For example: Snowman – ‘Does he melt?’, ‘Does he love the snow?’