The month of December is the perfect month to incorporate engaging, multicultural lessons into your classroom. Christmas around the world is a fantastic and cohesive way to implement this idea.
We as educators know students’ attention span grows shorter during this time of year. Keeping students engaged can be quite the challenge in December. Choosing fun, relatable Christmas Around the World activities will definitely keep your kiddos engaged and you sane!
Below are some suggestions to keep up that learning momentum during that uphill climb to the treasured holiday break for all!
Keep it simple!
Yes, you can go all out and decorate your entire classroom each week or day! But truth be told, this time of year’s uphill climb is already a challenge, why make it more difficult? Focus on the key components that will get you the most educational bang! Focus on food, music, games, crafts, geography, and other traditions. Students can easily relate to all of these aspects of Christmas. Christmas Around the World activities lend themselves perfectly to compare and contrast activities!
My best tip is to incorporate the activities in what you are already doing: Reading, Math, storytime, music, dance, snacks, art.
Storytime is the best time to incorporate Christmas Around the World activities. During storytime, read a book that focuses on a particular country or countries. Thanks to today’s technology you do not have to go out and buy a bunch of new books, most books can be found online nowadays. Youtube, youtubekids, Epic, and other various sites and apps have a vast variety of books to choose from, for free. If available, you can mirror an iPad to your tv or other devices for the whole class to watch together.
A World of Cookies for Santa is a perfect read-aloud for Christmas Around the World activities in the classroom. Kids will follow Santa’s Tasty Trip Around the World. The book even includes recipes for each cookie! You can purchase the book or share a reading of the book with the whole class from here.
For more great read-aloud stories that focus on Christmas around the world check out Our Next Adventure’s 11 Must-Have Books about Christmas Around the World!
Snack time! Even if you do not already have snack time I highly recommend incorporating one during this unit. You do not have to cook up a pan of Tamales which are custom in Porta Rico, unless you want to. Remember keep it simple. Swiss rolls translate easily into the Swedish ‘Yule Log’, yum!
Want to involve families? This would be a lovely opportunity for parents to get in the kitchen with their children! You could always assign each student a country, and have them bring in a food dish or snack from that particular country.
Australia’s popular Fairy Bread does not get any simpler! It only has three ingredients, sliced bread, butter, and sprinkles! You could even let the kids make their own Australian Fairy Bread in the classroom! Incorporate Math by having them measure their ingredients! For a writing activity, they could write the recipe on a recipe card and place it in their souvenir collection!
To incorporate even more math in these Christmas Around the World activities, you could have students graph the results of which snack they enjoyed the most! For younger students, you could do a large class graph and allow them to ‘mark’ their favorite on the graph themselves.
ECEeduation101 has a wonderfully organized and fun unit on Christmas Cookies Around the World Prek-2nd Holiday Project on TPT. You could narrow the snacks down to cookies from around the world, cookies, YUM!
If you are like me and love to incorporate music daily, use this time to incorporate a Christmas Around the World playlist. Depending on if you are focusing on one country that day, use that time to play the music that originates from each particular country while students are working independently or during transitions. Remember to include your own native festive music as well!
In Australia, Santa’s sleigh is pulled by 6 white kangaroos or boomers, instead of reindeer! This fun jingle, 6 White Boomers, is perfect for Christmas Around the World and a great way to tie in geography and climate!
For more great music videos to share with your class to help immerse your students in holiday traditions from around the world check out efedu who has compiled the 12 best Christmas songs from around the world. The videos can be played right from the site!
Games, Crafts, and Traditions
Did you know that in Germany they hide a ‘pickle’ in the Christmas tree for the kids to find on Christmas morning? This tradition always brings giggles in my classroom! Finding the pickle brings good luck and cheer throughout the next year! Below is a fun craft for Pennie the Christmas Pickle.
There is a cute little song that tells the tale of Penny the Christmas Pickle! Pair this fun jingle with the Pennie the Christmas Pickle craft when learning about Christmas in Germany.
If you have a Christmas tree in your room, perhaps you could start hiding a Pennie the Christmas Pickle in it each day and have students try to find it, without touching it of course! This would be a fantastic activity for all ages. Younger learners could practice communications skills and direction words. Older students could write about where it is located in the tree. To add more art, students make an illustration of the tree and the pickle’s location! These activities are great for practicing details in both writing and art.
Did you know in Sweden children place their boots in the window each night for 13 nights before Christmas? If they were ‘good’ they would find a treat inside their shoe. If not they would find a rotten potato in their shoe!
In Denmark, they place their tree in the center of the room and dance around it while singing Christmas Carols each year on Christmas Eve! How fun!
In El Salvadore they celebrate Christmas with fireworks displays!
For more fun traditions, crafts, and games for Christmas Around the World activities check out All the Party Ideas. Teaching Without Chairs has a wealth of resources for bringing holidays around the world alive in your classroom.
Christmas Around the World activities are a perfect way to incorporate Geography! If you are blessed to have a world map in your classroom this is a great time to make use of it! Place little flags on it each time you introduce a new country.
If not, a globe works just as well, but you want each student to have access to a map for these activities Maps International’s Kid Zone has free printable maps you can download and print for your students.
Passport and Souveniers
You cannot travel around the world with a Passport, right? Have students create their own little passport book to track their journey around the world at Christmas. For older students, you can have them fill in the details in this cute Christmas Around the World Passport Book.
For younger learners, you may wish to preprint these little flags and let them glue them in a passport book.
Below is another cute little Free Passport Book students can decorate and glue their little flag stamps in as you learn about various countries during your Christmas Around the World Unit.
To remember their exciting trip around the world this year, have students collect souvenirs from each country they visit during their trek around the world this Christmas! Use these adorable ‘suitcases’ for students to hold their passports and other projects they complete throughout the Christmas Around the World Unit!
On the last day, let students go back and revisit all the countries and discuss all those fun facts they discovered throughout their adventures around the world! This is a great time for those comparing and contrasting activities.