January 1, 2019

Simple Christmas Activities in Kindergarten

Okay teachers, we made it. We have finally earned our well deserved break. The last week of school before break is NO JOKE!

While I love all the fun activities we do before we leave for winter break they are EXHAUSTING. I love my job, honestly, I would never do anything else. But those days before break I was in bed by 8:30 most nights.

Our students are typically off the walls because they are excited for break just as much as we are. So to compensate we plan all the fun things. However, this is more work because our students are off their routine and ultimately makes one tired teacher.

This year I decided to keep things simple. For example, my team was making gingerbread houses one day. FUN! Or so it sounds. I have never made houses with my students before. Why? Well for one that is a lot of messy work. 2nd - EW. You build the house around a milk carton. The kids can't eat that! Or at least they shouldn't. So I saw an Instagram post by KinderCraze and just knew that I needed to not conform and make myself go more crazy. The alternate? Decorate Christmas Tress.

Decorate Christmas Trees

This was my teacher win of 2018, hands down. Not only was it practically zero mess, but my class of 5 and 6 year olds were SO engaged. The focus they had on spreading the icing was amazing.  


The Materials

Tree decorating materials

I have 19 students and used:
3 cans of frosting
Green food coloring
2 Packs of sugar cones
2 bags of sugar cookies
1 bag of m and m's
Plastic cups - I ordered these and have enough for next year.

The Plan

Ahead of time I used food coloring to make the frosting green. I used frosting and attached the sugar cone to the sugar cookie and also then used the frosting to attach it all to the lid of the cup. I did this a day ahead of time. The next day I passed out their cups with their cone inside (so clean, sanitary and easy to transport home on the bus.) I gave each student a dixie cup of frosting and and a thick Popsicle stick. While my students were coating their tree I passed out some candy for them to decorate the trees. I was so impressed at how hard they worked and how creative they were. I had one student who was a frosting pro and other doing awesome patterns. Some even used a candy as a star on top. (Note - I'll bag a bag of the regular next year so they can each have a yellow).

The Outcome

Super cute trees to decorate the outside of our gingerbread classroom! I think these are much more age appropriate for my Kindergartners. They didn't even know what they were missing by not making a house. 


After we made our trees we went and saw the gingerbread village the 3rd graders did. They were super impressive!


Parent Gifts

In addition to keeping yourself sane and doing simple things - let's talk parent gifts. I always like to make sentimental gifts with my students for their parents. (Also - do not feel guilty if you do not make gifts with your students. It may not be appropriate, affordable or possible. Do NOT FEEL BAD). Last year, post Christmas I purchased ornaments, ribbon and boxes in anticipation of my gift this year. I helped them make the ornament with ribbon to show their height. Simple and a super success.


Another ornament I make every year is the hand print reindeer. I laminate the handprints with my personal lamination because it is thicker. Then my students help place on the eyes and the nose after I hot glue. I give them the choice of a red or black nose and tada! Simple and so CHEAP!


A few days before the start of break I send home their boxes filled with these special ornaments. 


I truly love the holiday season, however, I can not burn myself out because I have my own loved ones to give my energy to. While I did things cheap and easy, I do not feel that my class noticed or missed out in any way. We had a special week and I hope they treasure that!

Student Gifts

This idea goes hand in hand with the parent gifts, do not feel obligated. Maybe you can't afford it (zero zero shame in that!) or it is not appropriate for your school community. I have found that my favorite gifts are coloring books for my class. This year I gifted them two Scholastic Dollar Books I purchased earlier in the year, one for them to work on reading and one for the family to read together. (The reality of the family reading them together is that it may not happen. So I read it to them first.They love following along and reading along with their own book). My mom very kindly bought them all a coloring book and new box of crayons. Ultimately about $4 a student was spent. The first thing my students opened was their crayons. That moment filled me with so much love that I nearly cried. You guys, they screamed they were so excited and yells of thank yous. It was a magical moment that made the rest of the unwrapping even more special.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. These words hold true in so many things. You students love you and you love them. That love does not mean you need to spend lots of time or money. In addition, not doing any of this will make you less of a teacher and they will not love you any less.