Christmas Unit with Free Printables

The Christmas season is here and all activities reflect that.  There's no better way to keep kiddos learning during the holiday season, than to bring the excitement of Christmas to them.  Our Christmas unit with free printables does just that!  All of their favorite aspects of the holiday are included in one activity or more.
Christmas Activities for Kids
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Let's take a look at the Christmas activities on our shelves!

Language

Christmas Synonyms
Christmas Synonyms
Christmas provides great opportunities to learn new vocabulary and synonyms.  Kiddos will match synonym cards using the pictures as a control.  They have really enjoyed this activity and have even attempted to use new words in conversation outside of the classroom.

Source: Jason and I created the printable for this activity as part of our Christmas Unit Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Christmas Picture and Sentence Match Up with Grammar Analysis
Christmas Picture and Sentence Match Up
I love that all three older kiddos can now read.  Creating activities like this are so much more fun.  The kiddos will match pictures and sentences, using the control strips provided if necessary.  Once sentences are matched, the kiddos will analyze sentences and place the correct grammar symbols over each word.

Source:  Jason and I created the printable for this activity as part of our Christmas Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Decorating the Tree Using Prepositions
Christmas Tree Decorating Prepositions.
The kiddos love to decorate their mini Christmas tree as we've done in years past.  This year I've added a twist to the activity.  They'll be reviewing preposition words using the instruction cards provided.  I've also added a strand of mini lights to the activity which adds a little fine motor challenge for the kiddos.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of our Christmas Unit Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Math

Christmas Addition and Subtraction Word Problems
Christmas addition and subtraction word problem
This Christmas themed word problem activity is fabulous for reviewing addition and subtraction facts.  It's also helping the kiddos remember key words for addition and subtraction word problems.  The kiddos read each problem and mark the answer using the red and green glass beads provided.

Source:  Jason and I created the printable for this activity as part of our Christmas Unit Math Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Skip Counting Christmas Stamp Activity
Christmas Skip Counting
The kiddos now know how to skip count by numbers through ten.  This activity is to help them review all they've learned.  They will select a stamp and ink pad and skip count by a number of their choice.  Once finished, they will select a second stamp and the other ink pad, skip counting by another number.

They love finding patterns as they go along.  I enjoy listening to them sing the skip counting songs we've learned as they complete their work.

Source: The free printable for this activity can be found at The Pinay Homeschooler.

Stocking Stuffer Division
Stocking stuffer division
The kiddos are doing fabulous with addition, subtraction, and multiplication, but are still struggling a little bit with division.  For this activity they will divide gifts among stockings provided to find the answer to each problem listed on the clip cards provided.

At first we were putting gifts inside the stockings, but realized that ribbons were falling off, so instead we've been putting the gifts on top of each stocking.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of our Christmas Unit Math Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Science

Christmas Sink or Float Experiment
Christmas sink or float activity
We've done many sink or float experiments in the past, but this one is Christmas themed and has a prediction sheet to go along with the activity.  Now that the kiddos are all writing, I'm trying to incorporate as much writing into activities as possible.  I'm also trying to teach the kiddos about the process of science experiments and how we record them.

The kiddos will fill out the form writing in object names and predicting whether objects will sink or float.  They will then begin the experiment and record results as they go along.  For this activity we used small Christmas objects we had at home.

Source: The free printable for this activity can be found at The Measured Mom.

Candy Cane Experiment
Candy Cane Experiment
Through this experiment the kiddos will learn what happens to candy canes in vinegar, cool water, and warm water.  They will record their predictions and results using the printables provided.  As this activity remains on our shelves, they will also test out results using other liquids we have around the house.

Source: I first saw the idea for this activity at Lemon Lime Adventures.  You can find directions there.  The free printable used in this activity can be found at First Grade Wow.

Christmas STEM Challenge
Christmas STEM Challenge
I must confess, my kiddos have never done a STEM challenge before.  For those who don't know STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  The experience has been quite interesting.

The first day they attempted a challenge Dinomite melted down for about 20 minutes because he couldn't figure out how to make things work.  Princess tried copying the ideas of others and then ended up melting down for 30 minutes because she couldn't get anything to work right.  Bulldozer went right to town.  When one of his plans wouldn't work, he had a plan B.  He did amazingly well.

Dinomite eventually calmed down when I told him he could create anything he'd like, rather than the task he had selected.  Princess had a hard time calming down, until she decided she was going to draft out a plan with steps as to how she could succeed the next day.

I still can't figure out if we need to do more STEM activities in our classroom, or if I should avoid them, because of the turmoil this one created, but I'd like think the process is worth it as it's teaching the kiddos problem solving skills.  And Bulldozer is in heaven.  He has always been my little engineer.  Instead of making one Christmas tree, he makes a forest.

The object of this activity is to use any or all of the materials provided to complete a task card selected.  Each kiddo selects a different task card each day.  Items used to complete tasks were Christmas items we had at home.



Source:  The idea for this activity came from STEM Activities for Kids.  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Christmas Unit Science Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Sensory

Christmas Magnetic Sensory Bin
Christmas Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are crucial to our classroom during the holiday season as they help to keep senses regulated and reduce anxieties.  This sensory bin is particularly fun because magnets are involved!  The boys can't get enough of it!

Source:  The idea for this sensory bin came from Little Bins for Little Hands.  You can find details and directions there.

Creating Christmas activities and free printable for kids is so much fun for us. I know I've said it before, but it's amazing what a unifying theme them can do to help motivate kiddos to learn.  We find that the Christmas season is particularly stressful and anxiety ridden for the kiddos as they're preparing for the big day.  Christmas activities tend to help them relax a bit and enjoy the moment.

For those interested in the free printables, click on the links below.




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Nutcracker activities for kids

Christmas activities and free printables


Holidays and PTSD in Children


Gift Ideas for Dad

Alas, the last wish list of the season!  If you're looking for gift ideas for Dad, these are Jason's top picks this holiday season.  There's a little something for every dad here if you're willing to give the list a closer look.
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Sony black headphones (Purchased)

SimpleLight for Kindle

TireTek Tire Pressure Gauge

Sandisk Clip Jam MP3 Player

Black & Decker LI2000 Rechargeable Screwdriver

Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet (Purchased)

Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Purchased)

Matter of Fact Trivia Game

Star Wars Trivial Pursuit

A Hard Day's Night DVD

Indiana Jones Complete Adventures DVD

New York Times Fierce Crosswords (Purchased)

Levav Pepper Mill and Salt Mill

Global G-4 7-inch Chef's knife

Analon 5.5 quart saucier pan

Microplane Zester/scraper (Purchased)

Harbor Instant Read Cooking Thermometer

Taste & Technique Cookbook by Naomi Pomeroy

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017

Everybody Writes

The Bipolar Child (Book)

Appetites by Anthony Bourdain

Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Volume 1) by Michael Burlingame


Woodlink Platform Birdfeeder

Black & Decker battery charger

Eversaw 8.0 Folding Hand Saw

Kinglake Outdoor Camping Hammer

Rand McNally Road Atlas (Purchased)

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

For those looking for more gift ideas for Dad or Jason, be sure to check out Jason's wish list from last year.

Nutcracker Themed Gift Ideas for Kids

The story of the nutcracker has played a significant role in our Christmas traditions and celebrations for quite some time, as a result of Princess' trauma history and PTSD episodes related to Santa. 

As we prepare for another holiday season, we can't resist surrounding ourselves with all things nutcracker related.  In honor of our favorite Christmas character I have compiled a gift of Nutcracker themed gift ideas for kids.
Nutcracker gifts
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When Princess was able to express her fear of “The Big Red Giant” aka Santa Claus, we eliminated the figure from our Christmas celebrations. It wasn’t enough to just focus on the birth of Jesus.  Princess craved the joy that other children experience during the season.  She just wasn't going to get it from Santa.

Instead, she experiences sheer delight as we read and celebrate the story of The Nutcracker each year.  The idea came to me as I was searching for non Santa-related Christmas activities for homeschooling a few years back.  I love The Nutcracker Ballet.

Each year, our family reads the story of The Nutcracker together.  Music and movies about Santa have been replaced with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and various children's version of the beloved story.  Nutcracker decorations abound.

And last year, for the very first time, Princess attended a live performance of The Nutcracker Ballet.  She instantly fell in love and danced her way through the season, while listening to her favorite music.  Princess can not wait to see the ballet again this year.

We could have never imagined how much one simple change in tradition changed our holiday season.  It’s absolutely magical.  Truth be told, we don’t miss Santa Claus one bit.  And who can resist all of these nutcracker themed gifts?


Nutcracker dolls and accessories

Clara Doll with Pockets

Sugar Plum Fairy Musical Doll

Clara Musical Doll

Snow Queen Doll

Purple Sugar Plum Fairy Doll

Barbie Doll Ballerina

Barbie Nutcracker Ken Doll

American Girl Bitty Twin Ballerina Nightgown

American Girl Bitty Twin Toy Soldier PJs

Nutcracker Finger Puppets and Case

Nutcracker coloring books

Nutcracker Coloring and Craft Book

Nutcracker Sticker Activity Book

Glitter Nutcracker Ballet Stickers

Nutcracker Ballet Coloring Book

Nutcracker Ballet Creativity Set & Book

Nutcracker Ballet-Coloring Book

The Story of the Nutcracker Coloring Book

Nutcracker Ballet Playing Cards

The Nutcracker Ballet:  A Book, Theater, and Paper Doll Fold Out Set

Nutcracker toys

Ballerina Role Play Costume Set

Toy Soldier Dress Up Costume

Drum

Paint Your Own Nutcracker Prince

Nutcracker Nesting Dolls

Nutcracker Ballet Nesting Dolls

Nutcracker Rubber Stamps

Nutcracker books

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers

Nutcracker by Maurice Sendak

The Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig

The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig

The Nutcracker by New York City Ballet

The Nutcracker by Rita Balducci

The Nutcracker by Janet Schulman

The Nutcracker by Alison Jay

The Nutcracker Board Book

The Nutcracker Ballet by Vladimir Vagin

The Nutcracker by E. T. A Hoffmann

Nutcracker character ornaments

Clara Ornament

Nutcracker Prince Ornament

Drosselmeyer Ornament

Mouse King Ornament

Sugar Plum Fairy Ornament

Snow Queen Ballerina Ornament

Mother Ginger Ornament

Arabian Dancer Ornament

Chinese Dancer Ornament

Spanish Dancer Ornament

Russian Dancer Ornament

Nutcracker movies


The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker (another)

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture

Barber in The Nutcracker

Care Bears: The Nutcracker

Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale

Angelina Ballerina: Nutcracker Sweet

The nutcracker has become a symbol of happiness at Christmas time for Princess.  Whenever she sees one she smiles.  When there’s talk of Santa, she can think or talk about the Nutcracker and the Sugar Plum Fairy instead.  The Nutcracker is a clear visual symbol and manipulative that helps Princess avoid PTSD triggers during the Christmas season.

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Holidays and PTSD: A Parent's Guide to Survival

This post is part of the Parenting Children with Special Needs Series.  If you'd like to read about more fabulous gift ideas for special needs kiddos, check out the posts below.
Nutcracker Themed Gift Ideas for Kids | Every Star is Different
Best Gifts for the Autism Mom | This Outnumbered Mama
Best Sensory Swings for Kids | Parenting Chaos
Great Gifts for Children with Anxiety | Raising Lifelong Learners
Nutcracker gifts

Christmas Movies for Kids

We love Christmas! One of our favorite holiday traditions is our Christmas movie countdown. We all watch one holiday movie each night leading up to Christmas Eve. It has been fun to observe our kiddos as they become enamored with some of the movies we loved as kids. 

Take a look at our favorite Christmas movies for kids!
Christmas movies
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The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set is the best way to jump start a children's Christmas movie collection.  Included in this set are all-time favorites:
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Frosty Returns
  • Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
  • The Cricket on the Hearth
  • The Little Drummer Boy
If you had to choose only one movie collection for your kiddos to watch during the holidays, this is would be it..  

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the classic 1967 animated special, adapted from the story book with the same name. The kiddos have watched this dozens of times over the years, and still enjoy it as much as ever.  It makes a great companion to the live-action version with Jim Carrey.

The Polar Express is a highly imaginative, visually striking film that tells the simple story of a boy who begins to question if Santa is real.  He gets a chance to ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express to discover the truth. Whether you are a fan of the book or or have never even heard of it, there is a lot to like about The Polar Express.

 A Charlie Brown Christmas is as much a part of Christmas time as tinsel and candy canes. Highlights include one of the greatest soundtracks of any holiday special (performed by the fantastic Vince Guaraldi Trio), as well as Linus' famous speech about the true meaning of Christmas.  Both children and adults have plenty to look forward to with this one, year after year.

Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas is unique among our kiddos' favorites.  It is a collection of three fun little stories, full of the usual laughs, pratfalls and spills, with a nice moral built into the narrative. If you prefer children's entertainment that teaches values as well as keeps the kiddos' attention, this is a great title to add to your collection.

Mickey's Christmas Carol is exactly what is sound like: a retelling of Charles Dickens' classic tale, with Mickey and the gang playing the parts of Scrooge, Marley, Tiny Tim, etc.  For parents who love the story, this is a great way to introduce the kiddos to the story and characters, before inviting them to watch the more grown-up versions with you.

Sesame Street - Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is a personal choice, since there are some very warm, precious childhood memories of watching this every year around Christmas time for Renae. It's the perfect movie to help little ones get into the spirit!

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas is a huge favorite of all of our kids, especially our youngest. This holiday episode from the show is one of the best. Who doesn't love Curious George?

Arthur Christmas is a very clever story from the producers of Chicken Run and the Wallace and Grommit films that addresses the question of how Santa builds and delivers ALL of those toys. Jason is a big Wallace and Grommit fan.  Anyone who enjoys those films will love this one.

Frozen is not a Christmas film in the strict sense. However, it is to us. Our daughter Princess has PTSD from early childhood trauma she experienced before we adopted her. Most of her triggers are related to Santa Claus, reindeer, etc, so it was necessary to find an alternative to movies with those themes for her to enjoy during the holidays without going into PTSD episodes. This one is perfect for Princess, for numerous reasons.

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