Here are some ideas to spice up your homeschool at Christmas time.
In case you haven’t played before, the rules for Scattergories are really simple. Start by choosing a letter and putting time on the clock. For bigger kids, one minute is usually long enough, but when my little ones are playing we use a two-minute timer. You start in the Game #1 column and write down something for each category that begins with the letter you chose. Once the timer runs out you tally up the scores. You get a point for each unique answer you come up with. Then you choose a new letter and play the next round of Game #1. When you’ve played both rounds you tally up the scores and the one with the most points wins!
Here’s an example, if our letter was “S” I might write down:
- Christmas Song – Silent Night
- Something at the North Pole – Santa
- Something on your wish list – sander
- A goodie – Snickerdoodles
- A winter activity – sledding
- A gift – Socks
- Something you’d see at a lights displays – Sleigh
When the timer runs out, you compare answers with everyone else. If anyone said the same thing as you, everyone with that answer must cross it out. You get a point for each unique word you come up with. Then you choose another letter and play another round. Keep going until the sheet is filled up. Add up all your points and declare a Christmas Scattergories champion.
Print out as many of the first page as you have kids. Print out one copy of the second page. The second page becomes the cards you draw. On the first page, kids should fill in the Christmas words from the word bank to whichever square they like. There are a few more words than squares so not every word will be used. Make sure the kids understand to use each word only once. There are pictures next to the words in the word bank to help non-readers and beginning readers play the game with the bigger kids. Four in a row wins. But the kids we played with wanted to keep going until all the cards were called and they all had a blackout.
Paper Chain Advent Calendar
Make this simple paper chain advent calendar.
Just cut strips of paper and glue them in a ring. You’ll need 25 for a Christmas countdown. Or you can start later in the month with fewer rings.
We made these Printable Advent Calendar Tags to attach to the rings to up the style. Inside each ring, I wrote one activity or treat per day in December. We’ll tear one ring off the paper chain advent calendar each day until Christmas and read and do the activity.
Here’s my list
- Christmas Shopping
- Watch a Christmas Movie
- Decorate the Tree
- Look in Your Stocking (I’ll put a treat in there ahead of time)
- Cookie Party With Our Friends
- Make an Ornament For the Tree
- Church Christmas Party
- Homeschool Christmas Party
- Make a Christmas Video For Grandma
- Have a Snowman Target Shoot
- Make Christmas Candy
- Look Under the Tree (I’ll put treats under the tree ahead of time)
- Indoor Pom Pom Snowball Fight
- Build a Snowman
- Go on a Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt (see below)
- Look Under the Tree (Another Treat)
- Make Candy Houses
- Make and Send Christmas Cards
- Read Christmas Stories
- Make and Decorate Sugar Cookies
- Have an Epic Snowball Fight
- Go Sledding With Our Cousins
- Paint Nativity Scenes (I want to save and frame the kids’ art to put up in future years)
- Family Christmas Nativity Pageant
- CHRISTMAS DAY!
Christmas Creative Writing
Try this simple Christmas creative writing assignment. You’ll be finding out your elf name, coloring your elf and his or her Christmas tree, and then writing an elf adventure story. Use this free printable to accomplish it all! Go ahead, find out what your elf name is. And get those gears turning about what your elf adventure will be . . . starring yourself as an elf!
My elf name is Cookie Angel-Pants. I haven’t finished my story yet, but I already know it will involve delivering goodies to other North Pole residents on the snowmobile. Oh, and also a large polar bear who wants to have all those treats to himself.
Find out what your elf name is and create your own story. You can use the elf picture as a boy or add braids to it and it will become a girl elf. Hope you have a fun time with this Christmas creative writing assignment.
A Visit From St. Nicholas Book Project
Every year we read several versions of “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore. It’s really interesting to read the same poem over and over, but with different interpretations by various illustrators. Today we read a very beautiful and classically illustrated one alongside the version by Mercer Mayer with his little critters. One was done with oil paints and has an old-time, formal feeling. The other was done in an animated style with animal characters rather than people. The difference in tone is amazing. We talked about illustration and what an illustrator’s job is.
You can create your own version. Type several lines from the poem on each page, print them, and create a booklet. Add collage-style illustrations on each page using yarn, fabric, glitter, pom-poms, and other items.
Here are a few sample pages from the version I made when I was a little girl (I think that was a typewriter, folks!):
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Poem Game
Make sure everyone starts with a wrapped gift (you can just use things you find around the house, small treats or candies, dollar store items, ornaments, or silly gag gifts). Have everyone sit in a circle holding their own gift. Whenever the word “right” is read, everyone passes the gift they’re holding to the right. Whenever the word “left” is read you all pass to the left. When the poem ends, you keep whatever gift you have in your hands (no one will end up with the gift you started with if you do it right!).
I like playing this with little unpainted ceramic ornaments (all different) and then letting the kids all paint their ornament once the game is over. Then we write their name and age on the back and hang it on our tree. Each year they make their own ornament to add to our tree.
‘Twas the night before Christmas when RIGHT through the house, not a creature was LEFT stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung RIGHT by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be RIGHT there. The children were nestled RIGHT snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced RIGHT in their heads. And Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled RIGHT down for a long winter’s nap; when RIGHT out of the LEFT of the lawn rose a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the RIGHT window I LEFT like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the newly fallen snow LEFT a luster of midday on objects RIGHT below. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. With a little old driver, RIGHT lively and quick, I knew RIGHT away it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them RIGHT by name. “Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen! To the RIGHT top of the porch! To the LEFT top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash RIGHT away all! As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly when they meet RIGHT with an obstacle, mount RIGHT up to the sky, so up to the housetop the coursers they LEFT and flew with a sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too. And then in the twinkling, I heard RIGHT on the roof, the prancing and pawing of each little LEFT and RIGHT hoof. As I drew in my head and was turning LEFT around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur RIGHT from his head to his LEFT foot, and his clothes were all LEFT tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung RIGHT on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His RIGHT and LEFT eyes– how they twinkled! His dimples–how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was LEFT drawn up like a bow, and the beard LEFT on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held RIGHT in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a round little belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was RIGHT chubby, a RIGHT jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself. A wink of his LEFT eye and a LEFT twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word but went RIGHT to his work, and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying a finger to the LEFT of his nose, and giving a nod, he LEFT- up the chimney, he rose! He sprang RIGHT to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all LEFT like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim e’er he LEFT out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Writing Letters To Santa
Practice letter writing with a letter to Santa. Make sure kids include the date, a greeting, the main body, and also a closing.
Other Things To Include In Your Letter
- Tell Santa how good you’ve been this year. You may even want to give him some specifics!
- Use good manners – pleases and thank you’s go a long way to getting you on the nice list.
- Choose one or two things you want most. Think about it and don’t just give him a long list of fifty or so wishes. Be thoughtful and think about what you’d really like most.
- Remind Santa about a gift for someone else (your parents, a friend, or a sibling) who may not have written to Santa.
- Let him know you’ll have cookies and milk waiting for him on Christmas.
- Draw Santa a picture. Maybe you can draw him in his sleigh or by your tree. Maybe you can draw your favorite reindeer or an elf at the North Pole.
Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt
Go on a Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt as a family. Drive around enjoying the lights and seeing how many items from the list you can find. If you’d like, you can divide into two teams and make it a competition, but our family likes to stick together and just conquer the list as a family.
Just for fun, we also search for the best-decorated yard, the funniest decor, and the coolest street in town. We call it the “Lightsy” Awards and leave a Christmas card on the doorsteps of some of the coolest houses, thanking them for their awesome holiday spirit.
Once we finish enjoying the Christmas lights and have checked everything off on our scavenger hunt, we head home for some Christmas cookies and hot cocoa.