Friday, December 6, 2019


Oh yeah, you just need one more thing to do this time of year - gifts for parents!  Here are inexpensive, simple, and easy gifts your students can make.  Or, if you have children of your own, you can save money on gifts for relatives with these crafts. Best of all, these projects will be treasured because they are one of a kind! They are made by the gifted hand of a child!

Note!  It’s important to be sensitive to different beliefs children may have this time of year. Gifts don’t have to be for Christmas or Hanukkah ~ you can give someone a gift anytime just because you care about them!

*Make sure that children DO these projects themselves! They need to reflect the children’s individuality and efforts. 

Materials: juice or vegetable can, glue, pasta, spray paint
Directions: Remove the label from the can. Let children glue pasta (bow ties, spirals, macaroni, etc.) around the can. Spray paint gold or silver.
Adaptation: Children can also cover a can with construction paper. Next, let them create a collage on the can with pictures and words cut from magazines.

Materials: wood scraps (4” x 10”), nails, markers, picture hangers
Directions: Let children decorate the wood with markers. Next, let them hammer 4 nails spaced evenly apart. Attach a hanger to the back.

This is similar to the key rack except children attach plastic hooks to hold scarves, belts, and ties.

Materials: paper, markers, pens, construction paper, ribbon
Directions: Each child will need 3 sheets of paper. Cut the paper into fourths to make 12 pages. On each page, children write (or dictate) a different job they could do for their parents, such as set the table, give a back rub, clean their room, etc. Make a cover from construction paper. Hole punch in the upper left hand corner and tie with a ribbon.


Materials: rocks, yarn, glue, markers, felt, wiggly eyes
Directions: Go on a rock hunt and let each child find a special rock. Have children wash their rocks and set them aside to dry. Decorate the rocks with wiggly eyes, markers, yarn hair, etc. Add a piece of felt to the bottom to make a paper weight.
Adaptation: Let children name their rocks and write stories about how to care for them.

Directions: Cut the cardboard roll into 1 ½” sections. Decorate with stickers, yarn, fabric, lace, etc. 
Adaptation: Insert holiday napkins.


Materials:  cardboard, puzzle pieces, glue, photograph
Directions:  Cut cardboard into 4” x 8” picture frames.  Let children glue puzzle pieces around the edges.  Tape a photo to the back.
Adaptations:  Add a magnetic strip to the back so it can be hung on the refrigerator.
Decorate with buttons for mom and say “Cute as a button!”
Decorate with golf tees for dad.
Stack colored craft sticks to make a frame.

Materials:  copy paper, construction paper, crayons, stapler
Directions:         Ask each child to bring a copy of a favorite family recipe from home.  (You could ask parents to send in a recipe for a special dish from their culture, a healthy snack food, a “kid friendly” dish, etc.)   Have each child decorate his page with a black pen.  Run off copies for each child, and then put them in a construction paper cover to make a recipe book.
Adaptation:  You could also let each child dictate how to make the recipe her parents have sent in.  Put her version at the bottom of the page.

Materials:         old shoes, gallon of school glue, old paint brush, gold spray paint
Directions:  Ask each child to bring in one old shoe.  Pour the school glue in a disposable container, and then let them paint the glue all over their shoe.  (Inside, outside, all over!)  Dry for several days on wax paper.  Have children paint glue all over their shoe a second time.  Dry.  Spray paint gold or silver.
Adaptations:  Stick a sprig of holly in the shoe or add this poem: 
Here is my little shoe. 
I made it just for you. 
When I’m grown and tall,
you can remember me small.

Materials:  burlap, felt scraps, glue
Directions:  Cut burlap into 8” x 3” strips.  Let children unravel ½” from all four sides.  Cut flowers or other shapes from felt and glue on the burlap.
Adaptation:  Children could also use plastic needles to sew yarn designs on burlap bookmarks.

Materials:  pipe cleaners, letter beads
Directions:  Let children string beads on a pipe cleaner.  (They can do initials, names, or a pattern.)  Twist the ends and you’ll have a perfect bag tag.

Materials:  cardstock, black felt tip pen
Directions:  Cut an 8 ½ x 11” piece of paper in half.  Fold in half and ask child to draw a picture of her family with a felt tip pen on the front.  Open and place two pictures at a time on the copy machine.  Make 5-10 copies on cardstock.  Cut apart, fold, and tie with a decorative ribbon.         
Materials:         white tube socks, fiber fill, rubber bands, markers, felt scraps, wiggly eyes, and other craft accessories

Directions:  Have children fill the bottom of the sock with 3 large fists of fiberfill.  Put a rubber band around this section.  Put two fists full of fiberfill in and then put a rubber band around the middle section.  Put one fist full of fiberfill in to make the head and put a rubber band.  Pull the top cuff of the sock over the head to look like a hat.  Decorate with wiggly eyes, felt scarf, yarn hair, etc.  Draw on a mouth and buttons with markers.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


I had a great time making this video last year.  I hope it makes your children smile!

Sara Lensing adapted these words for the "Santa Hunt" from “The Cool Bear Hunt.” 

Santa Hunt 

Get out your backpacks.
Open ‘em up.
Let’s put in some cookies for Santa and his reindeer.
And, let’s put in a thermos of milk in case he gets thirsty.
Oh. and don’t forget your Christmas lights in case it gets dark.
Zip ‘em up and repeat after me.
(Children repeat each line.)
We’re gonna find Santa (March and slap thighs.)
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly (Extend arms.)
And a long, white beard. (Pull down from chin.)
Look over there! (Point.)
It’s a Candy Cane Forest!
Can’t go over it. (Arms over head.)
Can’t go under. (Arms down low.)
Can’t go around it. (Circle arms.)
I guess we’ll go through it. (Open palms and shrug shoulders.)
Slurp, slurp, slurp! (Pretend to suck on candy cane.)
We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a hot chocolate river.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll swim across it. (Stroke arms as if swimming.)     

We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a gingerbread house!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Yum, yum, yum! (Pretend to eat gingerbread.)
We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s Santa’s workshop.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Shhh! (Finger over lips.)
Get out your Christmas lights. (Pretend to get out lights.)
Turn them on – click.
Let’s set out the cookies and milk.
I see a big, round belly.
And a long, white beard!
It’s Santa!
He-he-he! We can’t let him see us!
Tip toe! (Tiptoe.)
Quick! Go through the gingerbread house! Yum, yum, yum,!
Swim across the hot chocolate river!
Go through the Candy Cane Forest! Slurp, slurp, slurp!
Go home.
Open the door.
Shut the door.
We found Santa.

Merry Christmas to all!



Note!  Each year I buy some inexpensive canvas and let me grandchildren paint a holiday picture.  We date these and they are my favorite decorations.  Some day when they get married I will pass the "gallery" on to them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019



Go to this link and you can download these books and songs FREE!

Jingle Bells
Jingle bells, jingle bells, (Pretend to hold bells and shake.)
Jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh. Hey! (Fist in the air.)
Jingle bells, jingle bells, (Pretend to jingle bells.)
Jingle all the way.
What fun it is to ride and sing
In a one horse open sleigh.

*Have children sit on the floor facing the same directions. Demonstrate how to hold the person’s waist in front of you. As you sing the song sway forwards and backwards to the beat as if riding a sleigh.

S A N T A  (Tune: “BINGO”)
There is a jolly bearded man (Put arms out in front of you
And Santa is his name-o. like Santa’s tummy.)
S – A – N – T – A,
S – A – N – T – A,
S – A – N – T – A,
And Santa is his name-o.

He lives at the North Pole… (Clap instead of saying “S.”)
His wears a suit all red and white… (Clap for “S” and “A.”)
He makes toys for girls and boys… (Clap for “S,” “A,” “N.”)
He drives a sleigh with 8 reindeer… (Clap for “S,” “A,” “N,” “T.”)
He’ll visit you on Christmas Eve… (Clap for all letters.)

*Write the letters S A N T A on paper as shown.  On the back of each sheet draw a hand.  Turn over the hands as you sing.

My Dreidel
I have a little dreidel, (Pretend to hold out palm with a dreidel.)
I made it out of clay;
And when it’s dry and ready,
Then dreidel I shall play.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, (Clap as you dance in a circle like a top.)
I made it out of clay.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
Now dreidel we shall play.


Holiday Alphabet
Deck the room with letters and sounds,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la.
Read and use them all year round,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la.
Listen up and then you’ll know,
How the letters and sounds do go.
Start with A and end with Z.
Happy holidays for you and me!
A for angels, /a/ /a/ /a/,
B for bells, /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/ /b/
C for candles /c/ /c/ /c/ ...

Kwanzaa – December 26-January 1
Chorus: Kwanzaa is coming
We’ll celebrate with gifts and lights.
Kwanzaa is coming
For seven days and nights.
We’ll unite and come together
With people everywhere.
We’ll work and help each other
To show how much we care. (Chorus)

Hint!  One teacher said she made 4 copies of each song and put it in her listening center with the book. 

How about an easy song to sing that can be adapted for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or just December?

Holiday Cheer (Tune: "We Wish You a Merry Christmas")
Let's all do a little clapping,
let's all do a little clapping.
Let's all do a little clapping
to spread holiday cheer.

Let's all do a little jumping...snapping...blinking...laughing (Let the children suggest different movements. Tie in with the concept of VERBS.)

End by singing:
Let's all do a little smiling,
let's all do a little smiling.
Let's all do a little smiling,
and be kinder this year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Don't let standards be the Grinch and steal away your fun this month. Take a look at some of these ideas I’ve got for you!

Sight Words
Each day let children write a high frequency word on a strip of paper and glue the ends to make a link in a chain. They can practice reading over previous words each day as they add a new word and link.


Snowman Math 
Give children the outline of a snowman similar to the one shown. They can take buttons or other manipulatives and place sets in the top two sections. Join them together in the bottom circle to make the sum. Ask students to write the equation.

*Give children a certain number of buttons. How many different combinations can the make on the snowman to come up with the same sum?

Descriptive Writing
Fold 2 sheets of paper in half and staple to make a book for each child. Children think of a title for their books and add their name as author and illustrator. Have them write and complete the following statements on each page:
     (My holiday) smells like…
     (My holiday) looks like…
     (My holiday) sounds like…
     (My holiday) feels like…
     (My holiday) tastes like…

*For younger children run off the sentences and let them dictate sentences.


Preposition Elf 
Hide an elf or similar seasonal toy in a different place in the room every day. Encourage children to use complete sentences as they describe where the elf is.

*Let children take turns hiding the toy and calling on friends to describe its location.

Read, Read, Fast as You Can!  You Can Do It!  We Know You Can!
I saw this delightful bulletin board several years ago.  What an engaging way to get children to read sight words!


Give children long pieces of paper so they can make a time line of the “Gingerbread Man.” (I cut my strips from grocery sacks.)
*Read several versions of the “Gingerbread Man” and compare and contrast.

Monday, December 2, 2019



Jingle Bell Club (Kitty Allen)
Kids get to sign their name as members of the “Jingle Bell Club” when they learn to tie their shoes. They also get a jingle bell on a ribbon to tie on their shoe laces.

Science -Winter Nature center
Materials:  magnifying glass, clip board, paper, pencils, tub

Let children look at the items with a magnifying glass.  Can they make a list of all the items they find in the tub?

Can they write descriptive sentences about what they find?

Gel Stickers

Free play on windows or a mirror. These can also be used on a cookie sheet.

Santa Chair Cover
Those of you who do flexible seating could use this as a special treat.

*Children could sit in the chair and write a letter to Santa.

A Coloring We'll Go
I am the last person in the world who would encourage coloring books over creative art, but the truth is that some kids just like to color. I was working with some child care centers years ago and my rules were no worksheets or coloring sheets and no screen time. I went into a teacher’s room and to my dismay there was a group of girls sitting at a table coloring. They were chatting and have a grand time. The teacher said, “They beg to do worksheets and use coloring books.” Oh, well! So, put a holiday coloring book and crayons in a center as a reward if children finish their work early.  It might entertain them and it certainly will do no harm.


Sunday, December 1, 2019


It's December 1st and time to download your FREE Happies!

Match and Memory

Materials: stickers or gift cards, heavy paper cut in 3 1/2” squares

Attach 2 of each different sticker to the squares. Younger children can use these as a matching game.

Older children can play a memory game with these by place them face down and turning over two at a time.

Fit Like a Puzzle

Materials: puzzle and frame, marker

Write an uppercase letter on each puzzle piece and a lowercase letter on the shape in the frame. As children match up letters they will complete the puzzle.

*Use for math facts, synonyms, number words, and other skills.

Foam Letters

Materials:  gift bag, foam letters, paper, pencils


Place foam letters in the gift bag.  Children draw a letter, write the letter, and then draw something or write a word that starts with that sound. 

*Hide the letters in the classroom for children to find.  Can they get with a friend and make a word with their letters?

Silly Glasses 

Materials:  silly glasses, paper, pencil, clipboard

Children walk around the room and write words they can read.

*Can they find a word for each letter of the alphabet?

*For a partner project let one child wear the glasses.  The friend takes a pointer and points to words for their friend to read.

Book Presents (Danielle Underwood)
Wrap holiday books up like presents. Randomly choose a name out of a popsicle tin and let that child unwrap the present. After reading the book, display it for the children to look at during free time.

Holiday Brain Breaks 
(Sharon Smith)
Have the children stand and in place and..

     Melt like a snowman…
     Waddle like a penguin…
     Twinkle like a Christmas tree…
     Prance like a reindeer…
     Laugh like Santa...
     Smile like an elf...

*Adapt for different seasons and themes.


Have you downloaded your free December Happies yet?

Enter this code DecHappiesFree and the purchase price will be reduced to $0.00. Put in your email address and you’ll be ready to download 159 pages of fun and 15 songs.

Saturday, November 30, 2019


Keep those little hands busy with these materials.

Cookie Cutters
Materials:  cookie cutters, pencils, scrap paper, scissors


Children trace around the cookie cutters on scrap paper and then cut out with the scissors. 

Children can hole punch and then use the shapes to make ornaments or a necklace.


Paper Plate Sewing Cards
Materials:  holiday plates, hole punch, yarn

Punch holes around the outside of the plates.  Let children “sew” yarn through the holes.

*You can also make sewing cards out of old greeting cards.

Play Dough Writing
Let children make a pancake with the play dough and then write with a golf tee.  This will strengthen those little fingers as they practice writing letters, numbers, shapes, words, etc.

String bells on pipe cleaners and string to make jewelry.

Gifts for the Birds
Materials:  pipe cleaners, cereal with holes


Let children string cereal on pipe cleaners.  Twist the ends to make a circle and hang outside for the birds.

Cut It Out
Materials:  catalogs and advertisements

Put catalogs, coupons, advertisements, etc. in a center with scissors, glue, and paper.
Children can cut out objects they would like to “get or give” and glue them on a paper.

Use children's hand prints to decorate your room.