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Christmas Unit Week 1: The Nutcracker

Christmas would not be the same without the story of the nutcracker for our family.  We love it!  The nutcracker is more popular than Santa Claus around here.  It's only natural that as others learn about Santa Claus, reindeer and elves, that we learn more about our favorite characters with this Christmas Unit: The Nutcracker.
Nutcracker activities for kids
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Here's what's on our shelves! The kiddos can't get enough of these activities.


The Nutcracker Nomenclature Cards
Nutcracker nomenclature cards
 The kiddos will match up pictures and words to corresponding cards.
Nutcracker nomenclature cards
 Source: I created this activity.  For your free copy, click HERE.

Compound Words in The Nutcracker
Nutcracker compound word activity
The kiddos will put together compound words, using the control cards provided.

Source: I created this activity. For your free copy, click HERE.  (The printable for this activity is after The Nutcracker Nomenclature Cards in the printable pack.)

Nutcracker Spelling
Nutcracker spelling activity
 The kiddos will use letter cookie cutters and play dough to spell the words provided.  This activity has been a huge hit this week so far.

Source:  I created the cards for this activity. For your free copy, click HERE.


Ballet Position Sequencing
Ballet positions
 The kiddos will put the ballet position cards in order from first to fifth.  If they'd like, they can also attempt to do all five positions themselves.  This has been a lot of fun to watch.
Ballet positions
Source: I created these cards. For your free copy, click HERE.

The Nutcracker Addition
Nutcracker snow addition cards.
The kiddos will solve the problems on each card, using the snow counters provided. They will then mark the answer using one of their snow counters.

Source: I created these cards.  For your free copy, click HERE.  These cards are part of a printable pack.

Greater Than/Less Than Nutcracker Activity
Nutcracker greater than/less than cards
 The kiddos will count out nutcrackers and mice to determine if the answer is less than, equal or greater than.  They will use the Christmas trees to mark their answers.

Source: I created this activity.  For your free copy, click HERE.  It is part of a printable pack.

One Less
Nutcracker ballet subtraction
 This activity was inspired by an activity we've used from Homeschool Creations.  I remembered how much the kiddos enjoyed it and thought it would be a great intro into subtraction this month.  Kiddos roll the die and then mark a number one less than the number shown with a snowflake marker.  They continue to do this until all of the numbers are covered.

Source: I created this printable. For your free copy, click HERE.


Assorted Nut Matching
nut cards
A nutcracker unit wouldn't be complete without the study of nuts.  This proved to be a challenge with Bulldozer's severe peanut and tree nut allergies.  I would have loved to have real nuts for the kiddos to sort, but I was too nervous, even if I sealed them all in Ziploc bags.  Instead, I just printed out two sets of the cards and am having the kiddos match them.

Source: These free cards can be found at Counting Coconuts.

Geography and Culture

The Nutcracker Cultural Dances
Nutcracker cultural dance cards
 Using the puzzle provided, the kiddos will match up The Nutcracker cultural dance cards to their origins.  The puzzle used in this activity is no longer available, but there are several alternatives available on Amazon.

Source: I created the cards for this activity. For your free copy, click HERE.


Orchestra Instruments Sorting
Orchestra instrument cards
 We haven't been the greatest at covering our groups of instruments this year so far, so I figured I'd take this week to cover them all.  Dinomite was super excited, as I checked out one of his favorite orchestra book with CD to teach them the sounds and names of each instrument. Today he used the book as his control to sort out all of the instruments.

Now, in regards to the keyboard group.  There is contradicting thoughts in the music world about keyboard instruments being percussion instruments.  I provided a card for keyboards, if you would like to keep them separate.

I love how much my kiddos love their instruments. I'm really hoping they'll be ready to see them live next year, it being their third year studying them. Perhaps even a Nutcracker performance?!

Source: I created these cards. For your free copy, click HERE.

Sensorial and Practical Life

The Nutcracker Sensory Bin
Nutcracker sensory bin
 I loved how this sensory bin turned out.  Here's what it includes:

Holiday Treat Taste Testing
Holiday taste testing
 In The Nutcracker novel, fruitcake, peppermint, gingerbread, and eggnog are mentioned.  I figured it would be fun to have the kiddos taste everything.  So far, the gingerbread cookies are the favorite, except with Princess who really enjoys the fruitcake. Bulldozer is not able to eat the fruitcake, which is why it's in it's own wrapper. I wash the plate and remove it, when he selects the activity.

The Nutcracker Castle Making
Nutcracker Castle Building
 A castle that looks like sweet treats?  I found these marshmallows at the grocery store and just couldn't resist.  The castle creations have varied greatly. I tried to take pictures of them, but they didn't turn out for some reason.

Tweezing Snowflakes
Tweezing snowflakes
 The kiddos transfer the snowflakes from one dish to the other using tweezers.  It's been a fabulous fine motor activity, as snowflakes are a little tricky.

Transferring Snowballs
Transferring snowballs
 Kiddos will transfer metallic pom poms "snowballs" from one dish to the other using the spoon.

Paper Snow Fairies
Paper snow fairies cutting activity
 I loved this activity/decoration when I saw it.  It's proven to be a little more difficult than expected.  It takes great strength to cut through all layers of the folded paper, when creating the snowflake. Still, Princess loves hers.

Source: I found this activity at Krokotak.

Snow Safety
Snow Safety Activity
We're talking a lot about snow safety this month.  Princess really struggles with snow. It seems to be a trigger for her.  What better way to remember to stay safe than to practice putting on our hat, mittens, and boots!

Transferring Ice Cubes & Pouring Water
Transferring ice cubes
You can't tell from the picture, but the ice cubes are Christmas tree and snowman shaped.  The kiddos use the tongs to place the ice cubes into the glasses and then pour water in each one.  This is not only a great practical life activity but a science activity. The kiddos have been asking so many questions about ice and why it does what it does when in water.  I'm loving their little experiments!

It's been a fabulous week so far. We've been reading the book, The Nutcracker, watching the ballet, and listening to the music all week long.

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Nutcracker Activities for kids


  1. Your unit studies and printables are wonderful, Renae! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday and for generously sharing your printables! I featured your post as the Free Printable of the Day at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and on Pinterest. I also featured your post and photo in my Montessori-Inspired Set-Ups for Christmas Playdough Activities at

    1. Thanks so much Deb! Your comment made my day, (as always). I checked out the Christmas Play Dough Post. You have some pretty great ideas! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

  2. Amazing! I going to work the math exercise. I love the Nutcracker theme!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Wally! Good luck with the math exercises. The Nutcracker is one of my all time favorite Christmas themes. I hope you stop by again soon!

  3. You are amazing! Such creative and interesting ideas.

  4. This is an absolutely amazing resource. Thank you so much for putting it together and sharing it with us. My kids will LOVE this!

  5. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
    Bring you Good wishes of happiness.

    Sorry for greeting you earlier,, just don't want miss saying this.
    By the way, I'm clotee. It's my first time visiting your blog. I am blogger too, and now try my best luck to open an e-store. Nice to know you.


  6. It seem too late for reading this post for the Christmas last year. By the way, your post is still great. So creative !