I don’t know about you, but November and December can be tricky when it comes to education. We want to do special Thanksgiving and Christmas activities to celebrate the holidays and make memories, and yet somehow we still need to keep up with academic life.
Well, have you ever considered that you don’t have to make a choice? Why not combine the two? You can take off a little time from some of your everyday schooling activities and create meaningful memories WHILE learning.
It’s true. Learning is super fun. Especially during the holidays!
We’ve compiled a mega list of 76 simple Thanksgiving and Christmas activities just for you! They span all ages and are easily adaptable. So don’t let that curriculum box you in; take a break and enjoy a little seasonal bliss.
- Have a blessings party with your friends or co-op and create things to bless others.
- Read books on thankfulness. (We have a list of our favorites here.)
- Write a letter to each of your Compassion International children.
- Write cards thanking people for their service, kindness, or friendship.
- Copy seasonal verses into a journal
- Create your own concordance of seasonal verses and illustrate them.
- Research and report on where traditional Thanksgiving foods are grown.
- Learn how to say “Thank You” in different languages represented in your community. Practice using them in appropriate situations.
- Cover a door in your home with blank paper. We use the back of wrapping paper and do this on our pantry door. Each day at every meal, have all members of your family add something they are thankful for. Decorate the door with a Bible verse on thankfulness and Thanksgiving pictures.
- Study the story behind popular hymns on the topic of thankfulness. (We have a unit study put together here.)
- Create a Thanksgiving acrostic. T is for Thankful, H is for Humility, etc. Try looking for verses to support each one, especially with your older kids.
- Scarecrow activity for help not letting our thankful attitude be stolen away.
- Practice a thankful hymn or song each day. We like “Count Your Blessings.”
- Create Thanksgiving placemats with Bible verses and things each person is thankful for.
- Look for things to say thank you for in your home. When you do, or someone else does, add a feather to a pre-made turkey body. See how many feathers you can get on your turkey by saying “thanks” during a week, day, etc.
- Same as #15, but use a tree and leaves concept
- Do a Thanksgiving hymn puzzle hunt.
- Learn what type of house the pilgrims lived in. Have older students research and find the info. For elementary age, have them read a page similar to this one or a library book and then take notes or write a report on what they learn.
- Make an Indian teepee. (Search Pinterest for tons of easy and practical materials to use.)
- Play fall games such as candy sort, shuck the corn, and 52-leaf pick-up. Shh… they don’t have to know they are learning something.
- Watch a Thanksgiving video and do activities listed if desired.
- Make paper weavings to learn skills the pilgrims would have used.
- Use these pilgrim fact cards to make a “Go Fish” type of game to learn facts about the Pilgrims.
- Use a Thanksgiving prompt question to either journal or write.
- Choose a Thanksgiving poem to print and illustrate. (I’m sure there are other sites that offer more.)
- Cute footprint turkey for little ones
- Thanksgiving tree
- Print off a fun word search depending on child’s age.
- Print out the recipes for pumpkin food crafts and create something yummy. Take them to a neighbor or friend needing encouragement.
- Make a picture collage of things you are thankful for or a thankful Turkey.
- Start a Thankful Jar or make a thankful Hands Tablecloth.
- Play the Turkey toss of thankfulness game. (Great for younger kids.)
- Plan a Christmas countdown involving daily reading/learning. We love to keep a little journal for ours.
- Do something kind every day like these Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. Keep a journal of what you do each day or write them on a calendar.
- Plan holiday menus as a family, learning to balance out the food groups, stay within budget, read recipes, and create shopping lists.
- Research the origin of the candy cane and write an essay or paragraph sharing your findings with others.
- Read a Christmas book every day of December through Christmas. Start with these Christ-centered read-alouds.
- Do a unit study on the nativity. (free here)
- Create an advent reading plan for each day. (free printable here)
- Have a daily writing activity to go with your advent readings. (free printable here)
- Make crystal candy canes as a science activity.
- Write a Christmas story – either update a classic story or create an original idea.
- Write a paragraph on something you want for Christmas that isn’t a physical gift. (Takes a child’s focus off “presents” and causes them to think about intangible and more important things.)
- Make bath salts as a science activity to be given as gifts. Teaching applications also in the link.
- Use Christmas cards with younger elementary children to point out nouns, adjectives, etc.
- Print out recipes for edible Christmas crafts and follow the directions.
- Start a “Round Robin” Christmas story. Each child writes a paragraph or two before passing it on to the next. Younger children can narrate to a parent or older sibling. Consider swapping with your friends either locally or through the mail.
- Have younger children count the ornaments on the Christmas tree. Have them classify them by shape, size, or color.
- Have children use a Venn diagram to compare a normal day and Christmas day or a baby born in a hospital and Jesus born in a stable, etc. Older kids can research facts to compare Christmas in different time periods.
- Study the Nutcracker ballet (unit study ideas here).
- Rewrite the names/lyrics of Christmas songs and carols using synonyms (Joy to the World = Delight to the Globe).
- Watch favorite movies and write a creative advertisement to convince others to watch it.
- Write up the story of Jesus’s birth like a newspaper article or Facebook timeline page.
- Learn about the ten ages of Christmas.
- Watch the First Christmas Town by Answers in Genesis. Make a chart showing the things you believed about Christmas that were not really true. Have older students write a paper on this topic
- Come up with ideas for and make your own Christmas Bingo.
- Study ways other countries celebrate Christmas. Have each child study a different country and present a report to the family in whatever style they wish. Or consider getting together with other homeschool families and doing this on a larger scale.
- Study snowflakes and make your own. Have older children make a “Top 10” fact sheet about snowflakes.
- Make your own Jesse tree or get together with friends and do a Jesse tree ornament swap.
- Go caroling with your family or friends to the police station, fire station or nursing home. Have the kids make cards thanking people for serving or telling them about the hope we have in Jesus’s birth.
- Retell the nativity story with puppets.
- Bake cookies and other treats to share with neighbors. Teach math through baking and measuring. Remember that learning cleaning skills is a life skill and needs to be taught as well as academics. Also include a note written by the kids with a poem, verse, or some type of encouragement.
- Research who St. Nicholas really was. Let the kids have fun being a St. Nicholas to others.
- Listen to A Christmas Carol and illustrate it, act it out, or have older kids write a paragraph talking about a time when they acted like Scrooge and what they have learned.
- Read The Gift of the Magi and explain the real meaning of gift-giving in a picture, paragraph, or creative way of your choice.
- Research the Star of Bethlehem and write a news story covering your findings.
- Try and figure out how much the extra decorating with lights costs at Christmas. Learn about watts and usages.
- Write a Christmas acrostic using popular words like Christmas, Jingle Bells, or Shepherds.
- Select a missionary family and send a Christmas care box filled with new items. Be sure to write them notes of encouragement with Bible verses and/poems.
- Use one of these 54 Christmas writing prompts.
- Have older students research when the Magi might have visited Jesus and have them write a paragraph explaining the difference between what the Bible really says and what many popular stories convey.
- Go on a Christmas lights scavenger hunt.
Download your printables today:
You can download a printable version of these Thanksgiving and Christmas activities, by clicking here.
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