The Christmas season is an exciting time for everyone, especially children. School Christmas parties usually require parent and teacher collaboration and advance planning to coordinate crafts and games that are appropriate for the ages of the children and the size of the class. Many party activities can be adapted to different age groups by adjusting the complexity of the task and the level of supervision accordingly.
Children of all ages can make cards for family members, members of the military, nursing-home residents or those in the hospital, or the entire class can work together on a special card for a community business or elected town official. Use simple materials and allow the children to be creative. Make sure to have plenty of construction paper, scissors, glue, markers and glitter available in the classroom.
Students can make handprint wreaths at their Christmas party and bring them home for decoration. This craft utilises the basic skills of tracing and cutting; materials needed are pencils, construction paper, glue, glitter, markers and scissors. Each child gets three sheets of green construction paper, glue and safety scissors. The children trace their hands 10 times on the green paper and cut out their handprints. They then arrange the handprints into a circular shape and glue them together. The finishing touch on the "wreath" can be a red bow, either made of construction paper or drawn on with a marker, and decorated with glitter.
To make reindeer puppets, each child is given a pencil, a brown paper lunch sack, one sheet of red construction paper, markers, glue and scissors. The child will trace each of his hands on the red paper and cut them out. He will then glue the handprint "antlers" to the top of the folded part of the bag and then use markers to draw eyes, a nose and a mouth. The puppet comes to life when the child puts his hand inside and moves the folded part of the bag--the reindeer's head--up and down.
A school Christmas party should also include a fun learning game. A Christmas spin on an old favourite is "Santa Says" instead of "Simon Says." The emphasis is on listening and following directions, and the difficulty of the instructions can be modified to fit students of all ages. Tell the children that they are the elves, and choose one child at a time to play the part of Santa and give instructions to the elves. For younger children, a teacher or parent volunteer can be Santa. Children should do only the actions preceded by "Santa says." If Santa doesn't "say" and a child follows the instruction anyway, she must sit down. The last one standing wins.
Pin the Ornament on the Tree
Play a Christmas version of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" with ornaments and a Christmas tree. The hidden lesson in this activity teaches children to waiting for their turn and to follow directions. You'll need a small, undecorated Christmas tree (real or artificial is fine), blindfolds and enough ornaments for each child to place at least one on the tree. Place the ornaments on a table, line the children up and let the fun begin. Blindfold the first child, spin him around three times and stand him in front of the table of ornaments. The child must select the first ornament he touches and follow your directions to walk to the tree and hang the ornament. Continue with each student until all of the ornaments are on the tree.
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