You know how the song goes…”It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s hard to argue that, in my opinion. While I consider autumn my favorite season, the month or so leading up to Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t know about you, but as soon as Thanksgiving leftovers are put in the fridge, the tree goes up, the decorations are placed throughout the house, the lights are strung outside, and the Christmas tunes are playing on every speaker.
Not to mention the holiday-scented candles (the aroma of hot buttered rum is wafting through my house as I write this), the baking, gift-wrapping–it’s just a fun time of year. So why not make the homeschool year a bit more festive with some Christmas-related activities? Don’t worry–there’s plenty of educational value in each one. These don’t simply involve hopping on the couch and watching “Elf”…though that’s never a bad idea. These activities exercise your creativity, your reading and writing skills, and even some math sprinkled in for good measure!
Without further ado, here are 7 fun and festive ideas for Christmastime homeschooling.
- Write your own Christmas carol/song: You don’t have to be an accomplished songwriter to create your own Christmas tune. If you know how to write music, great! If not, simply put together a few sentences (you can almost treat this activity as writing a poem) to create your lyrics. Then, use an app or program like Chrome Music Lab to create the music for your words! Trust me, as much as I love music, I have no idea how to play it or even read or write it. But this program was so much fun to use–you can choose different instruments and create your own notes until you’re happy with the way the song sounds. Then you can use the mic to record your voice–and you’ve got yourself a Christmas song! If you don’t want to record your own voice, just create the music and read your lyrics over the music to your family. Who knows? Maybe you’ll wind up being the next Frank Sinatra or Mariah Carey! (Look them up, kids.)
- Paint your favorite Christmas scene: I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get enough of those classic Christmas scenes you see in old paintings and advertisements. The dark sky illuminated by warm lights, glowing trees, and smiling faces in a cozy small town. There’s snow on the ground, people shopping for gifts, and ice skaters on a frozen pond. Those scenes just project a warm feeling to me, as do those of a family cuddled up under blankets by a roaring fire, sipping hot cocoa, and reading Christmas stories by the beautifully decorated tree. But enough about my favorite scenes–paint (or draw) your favorite wintertime or Christmas scenes, whatever they may be. Show your family how you view the holidays by expressing yourself through colors. Then explain why you painted the scene you did by describing the emotions this particular scene brings you whenever you see it or think about it.
- Make your favorite Christmas recipes: Adult supervision will be required, but this is an activity that not only tests your culinary skills…it works on your math skills as well! You probably have your own family favorites to make–if so, use those recipes. If you want to try something new, check out these Christmas favorites. Once you’ve decided on a recipe or two, gather your ingredients and start baking…or cooking! Use your knowledge of fractions to determine the right measurements of each ingredient for the recipe–too much or too little, and it’s just not going to taste right! You can really challenge yourself by doubling the recipe to make an extra-large batch–now you’ll have to multiply fractions. Cooking and baking are exciting activities that exercise your brain, give you some valuable experience in the kitchen, and provide some delicious results for everyone in your home!
- Learn the true story of Santa Claus: We know him as Santa, Saint Nicholas (or Nick, if we’re being informal), Kris Kringle, Father Christmas–the list goes on and on. But what’s the actual story behind Santa Claus? How did Saint Nicholas become the internationally adored symbol of Christmas? Why do kids leave him milk and cookies? What’s the deal with the flying reindeer? You can learn all about it by reading this fascinating account from Coca-Cola Australia (of all places!). If this brief recap of Santa’s story grabs your attention, you might be interested in The Story of Santa Claus by Teresa Chris or the identically titled The Story of Santa Claus by Joseph McCullough, both of which go into much more detail on the history, traditions, and magic associated with Saint Nick. Once you’ve finished reading either the article or one of the books, give your family a short presentation on some of the little-known facts about Santa–have other family members and friends join via Zoom and wow them with your newfound knowledge of Santa Claus and his origins!
- Write your own Christmas story: Now that you’ve been inspired by the story of Santa, put your imagination to work and write your own Christmas tale! It can be based on fact (like a personal story or experience) or it can be ridiculous and silly–it’s up to you. Books like The Christmas Carrot, The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas, and How Santa Got His Job are great examples of silly Christmas stories that are fun to read. If you’d rather go for a more serious theme, classics such as The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol, and The Night Before Christmas are wonderful sources of inspiration for a Christmas story. Use the writing and storytelling skills that you own and create a brand new holiday classic–feel free to illustrate the book as well! Then share the joy.
- Create a Christmas memory slideshow: All who celebrate Christmas have their own special memories of the holiday, whether it’s Christmas Eve traditions, waking up and running to the tree on Christmas morning to see what Santa delivered, spending time with family, and enjoying a delicious Christmas dinner. Odds are you or your family have captured many of these unforgettable moments on camera, so go through the family photos and pull out some of your favorite pics that represent your most cherished Christmas memories. Then use PowerPoint, Google Slides, or another presentation program and create a slideshow full of these moments. Add the pictures, decorate the slides with some holiday themes, and write a short caption for each photo, describing why this moment was so special for you. Once you’re done, grab some cookies or hot cocoa, gather the family around the TV, and show your presentation on the big screen!
- Adopt a Family: Above all else, Christmas is the time for giving. Donating money or time to a charitable organization not only helps out those less fortunate, but it also gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that your money and efforts are helping out those who need it most around the holiday season. My favorite charitable endeavor is Adopt a Family. Through this charity, you’ll get a list of gift ideas for each member (it may be children only, or children and adults in the family) of a family, and you’ll buy the gifts for them so they have a memorable Christmas. After all, no child should ever have to go through Christmas without receiving a gift, and no parent should have to see the looks on the faces if that were to happen. With Adopt a Family, you can bring holiday cheer to everyone in the family. For more information, check out Doing Good Together, where you can learn more about Adopt a Family and how to get started. Of course, your time or donation doesn’t necessarily need to go toward this particular charity. Any effort or money you can give around the holidays is sure to be appreciated by whichever organization you choose. This link provides a list of other organizations and charities that give to low-income families.
We hope you enjoy these activities in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you’re comfortable sharing any of your projects or your work from any of these activities, we’d love to see it! Please feel free to share in the comments below. Happy holidays!