As we reach the end of Fall and its holidays, it’s time to start planning for winter and all the fun it can bring to your childcare center! Tis the season to tap into the holiday spirit and spread some cheer in your classrooms and with your students. Whether you’re looking for ideas to help keep little ones focused during the hustle and bustle of the holidays or you just want to spread a little holiday cheer, Jackrabbit Care has you covered! Join us as we walk through a sleighful of fun holiday activities that are sure to bring some joy to your classrooms, no matter what age group you’re teaching, and some ideas on ways to help kids understand the reason for the season. So, slip on your favorite ugly sweater and grab a mug of hot chocolate as we go over these festive holiday activities!
Holiday Activity Ideas
1. Make Your Own Ornament
Having your students make their own ornaments is the perfect way to spread a little cheer and make a lasting, family keepsake that parents will cherish for years! Your family may even have a few of your homemade ornaments from yesteryear that they like to bring out around the holidays. Why not provide the same experience for the next generation? You can even display them in your classroom throughout the season to involve students in the decorating of their learning space.
Provide your students with supplies like popsicle sticks, glue, construction paper and glitter, and let them get as creative as they like! Arts and crafts like this are also a great option even if certain students don’t celebrate Christmas. Have them create snowflakes or imagery from the holidays that they do celebrate! You can even take this a step further and have parents send their children in with a family photo to use in their crafts to help make the keepsake that much more important. Just make sure you let parents know with enough time to prepare and remind them along the way.
Concerned about the cost and prep? There’s a way around that too! Consider partnering with a local arts and crafts business. Many shops will come in and facilitate the ornament-making process, and you can pass the bill on to parents for an easy event that’s sure to create lasting memories for everyone involved.
2. Build a Snow Sculpture (No Snow Required!)
What child doesn’t love the opportunity to roll up a snowman or build a little fort when the weather is right? It can be an absolute blast but playing in the snow for extended times can lead to weakened immune systems and unfortunately, real snow sculptures are extremely difficult to transport and keep. Many areas of the US and beyond don’t even get snow around the holidays! So how do you provide the next best thing? Keep your students safe and warm indoors and have them create snow sculptures out of shaving cream or playdough for a masterpiece they can take home with them.
3. Craft a Gingerbread Dreamhouse
Let your students’ creativity soar with the opportunity to create the house of their dreams in gingerbread form. Gingerbread can be inexpensively made and prepared ahead of time for students to use in their construction projects. Simply prepare some rectangles and icing and have students bring in their own candies or treats to decorate it with! Though gingerbread doesn’t last forever, a gingerbread house can still be taken home and displayed during the holiday season and your students will have an amazing time building it. It’s also one of the only crafts they can also eat if they like! Just be sure to make sure no students have allergies to the ingredients used before using this particular idea.
Scaling Activities For Different Ages
Depending on the age of the students in your classroom not every activity may be the perfect fit for them as is, but with a few adjustments, you can make sure each idea is safe and fun for the children in your care. In all cases, it can be helpful to provide a premade example to serve as a guiding light for students, especially for any visual learners in the mix.
If your classroom leans younger, try making these changes:
- Premake some simple popsicle stick snowflake decorations and simply have students color or decorate them.
- Encourage your students to keep their snowman designs simple and help them roll the modeling clay into balls to stack.
- Premake some small, simple gingerbread houses or people and have the children decorate them. Alternatively, you can get their families involved and request that they make the main gingerbread structures at home and decorate them with the class.
If your students are a little older, try to modify the ideas like this:
- Have students make a 3D ornament with popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners.
- Kick the sculpting up a notch and have them create other classic holiday iconography like a reindeer or a festive present with a bow on top.
- In a similar vein as our last suggestion, challenge students to create gingerbread creations other than the classic house, like a sleigh or dreidel to help keep them engaged.
Help Children Learn About The Holiday Season
The holiday season is a fantastic time to expose children to traditions and cultures outside of their own and reinforce why it’s such a festive time of year for so many. Set aside some time to discuss multiple traditions and celebrations that occur this time of year. Encourage questions, and discussions and invite children to share their own favorite traditions and holiday memories with the class. It can be a great way to exemplify the togetherness that the holiday season represents for so many people.
By bringing these festive holiday activity ideas to your classroom, you create an amazing opportunity for children to engage with one another, share their experiences, create precious keepsakes for parents and most importantly have fun during this special time of year.