In our home, we tell our children about the St. Nicholas of old and have chosen to let them know that Santa Claus is pretend like fairies, elves, etc. Kids love to pretend so we have lots of fun with this!
This year I found a pattern online for making a pair of paper clogs - I adjusted my pattern so it would be more the size of my kids' feet (click here for an article on how to make these and the pattern at the bottom of the article). The kids decorated their shoes and laid them out on the eve of St. Nicholas Day along with a letter (what a great time to teach letter writing skills!) Miss A had written to jolly old St. Nick and a platter of festive cookies.
(Speaking of baking, Miss A had lots and lots of time to practice measurement because of all the cookies she helped make this year! Christmas and Valentine's are great times for measurement practice in the kitchen.)
The next morning the children were rewarded with little presents and sweets inside their clogs (or behind) and a letter from "St. Nick". ;)
I found a cute little Santa Claus activity here, and I added in some math addition practice using a few dice. Miss A would roll the dice, add the numbers together and put that many cotton balls on Santa's beard or hat.
Where would Santa be without his reindeer, right? We had fun making these silly symmetrical characters by placing globs of brown paint on one side of a folded paper, closing it, rubbing the paint around, and opening it once more to reveal the finished product!
After the reindeer faces had dried we did the same thing with antlers for each one. Finally, we added google eyes, noses and Miss A decided what to name each according to "Twas the Night Before Christmas". (As many of us know, Rudolph was not a part of that story but a pretty important reindeer all on his own, so he deserved a place among our pictures as well).
Have you ever wondered what the reindeer do the rest of the year to stay in shape? One might imagine they have races across the world! If you are learning about the seven continents - this easy game might just be for you!
I printed out a map of the seven continents (found online or just use a world map of your own) and used some snowflakes (blue and white) for markers. I also purchased two wooden reindeer pieces (I think they were only like $0.30 a piece (?) at Michael's or another craft store) - which my kiddos happily colored.
I placed a blue and a white snowflake marker on each continent (each player was one color). Each player would roll the dice and add the numbers together for a total (yep, more addition in our play). The player would then check our list to see what continent corresponded to that number and remove their snowflake from it signaling that their reindeer had successfully made it to that continent. The first reindeer to collect all their snowflakes (having touched down on each continent) was the winner!
(Side note: if a player rolls a total they have already collected - it is tough cookies - and the reindeer has to wait it out until the next turn before having another chance to leap to a new continent.)
We also spent some time practicing spelling words related to the season. This was one activity where I glued some sentence strips together in the shape of a Christmas tree. Miss A would write out her spelling words (we divided them up over more than one day as it could become tedious for young children otherwise) and add "lights" with her markers so the spelling words became strands of lights on the tree.
And what is a Christmas tree without a star on top, right? So we saved that special spelling word for the tip top of the tree, complete with lots of gold glitter! :)
And on that note - here's to a beautiful new year full of the sparkle of learning....
2013 - here we come!!! :)
(As always - if you blog about one of my ideas or activities, please be kind and include a link back here! Thanks so much!)