As we get closer to the winter months, Christmas is filling the air—and our classrooms! Each year, teachers and parents alike find ways to incorporate the holiday season into learning activities for their students and children.
Especially over the past couple years, I’ve had to get creative with the activities I’ve planned for my classroom and figure out which activities work better for online vs. in-person learning. I am sure other teachers and parents need inspiration for some festive activities as well, so I decided to compile this information as a resource for those who want to get their kids reading and writing.
During my time working with preschool aged children, I found that holidays were great motivation for getting kids excited to learn. My students were always excited to be doing a holiday related activity or game, and I noticed a lot of improvement in the skills we were practicing during this time.
If you’ve been looking for fun Christmas activities you can do with your preschoolers to practice their literacy skills, you’re in the right place! After reading this article, you will know all about:
- The reasons why celebrating Christmas at preschool is beneficial
- Literacy skills your preschoolers should be developing
- Christmas literacy activities you can do with preschoolers, both online and in person
3 Reasons Why You Should Celebrate Christmas at Preschool
Before we get into examples of some great Christmas literacy activities for preschoolers, let’s talk about the reasons why you should celebrate Christmas at preschool. There are a lot of great reasons you should talk about and celebrate this festive day during school, including:
1. Learning about Culture and Customs
The holidays can be a great opportunity to teach your children about culture and customs, which allows them to have a little more insight into how the world works and how different groups of people celebrate.
2. Christmas Gets Kids Excited
If you’ve been looking for more engagement in your classroom, Christmas is the perfect time to get students excited to learn. For many preschoolers, Christmas-related activities and Santa are a big deal, and they’ll jump at the chance to engage with festive classroom content.
3. Teaching the True Meaning of Christmas
In addition to using the festive season to encourage growth in skills like literacy, Christmas can be a great opportunity to talk with your students or children about character traits and the spirit of giving. The earlier children are able to put the holiday and perspective and understand that it’s not just about Santa and receiving presents, the better!
3 Literacy Skills that Preschoolers Should Have
Before you decide which activities you want to do with your preschoolers around Christmas time, it’s important to take into account which literacy skills preschoolers should have.
- One of the most important skills preschoolers should have is letter recognition and alphabetic code. This includes knowledge of the alphabet and the foundations of spelling, as well as the ability to recognize sounds in words.
- Another thing your preschoolers should be developing is their vocabulary, as students in crucial preschool years learn a lot of new words by reading and being read to. This is one of the major building blocks for literacy and will help students later when they are learning how to read and write on their own.
- One last literacy skill preschoolers should have is recognition of pictures and objects. When a child sees a picture or object, it’s great to practice using words and phrases to talk about them.
12 Preschool Christmas Activities
Now that we’ve gone over the reasons why preschoolers should celebrate Christmas and the main areas of literacy to focus on for this age group, let’s take a look at these twelve Christmas literacy activities for preschoolers.
- Reindeer Alphabet Bingo →
- Christmas Story Sequencing →
- Christmas Story Sequencing →
- Christmas Vowel Practice →
- Letters and Pictures →
- Christmas Color by Letters →
- Five Little Gingerbread Men Song →
- Queen of Christmas List Activity →
- Christmas Vocabulary Flashcards →
- Christmas Scene Listening Comprehension →
- Christmas Handwriting Practice →
- Fill in the Blank Gift Giving Sentences →
I know it can be hard to stay creative year after year, but there are some ideas on this list I know parents and teacher alike will love!
These first six Christmas activities are designed for in-person learning in the classroom, which is a crucial part of childhood literacy development.
One fantastic activity you can bring to your preschool classroom is reindeer alphabet bingo. This activity consists of printing Christmas-themed bingo sheets with different letters of the alphabet and having students place red and green candies or tokens on letters called out. The first student to get five letters in a row can call out “reindeer!” to win the game.
Best for: letter recognition and learning the alphabet
Another activity you can do with preschoolers is have them sort pictures of the main events of the story of Christmas. To do this, have the students look at pictures showing the main events from the story and put them in the correct order. For preschool aged children, the goal should be to sequence three pictures to tell a story.
Best for: recognition of pictures and sequencing events
The next activity you can do is to have the children practice using words that signify direction using pictures of Santa and a present. On your whiteboard or bulletin board, place a photo of Santa and a present in various positions while your class decides which phrases best describe their positioning. Is the present above, behind, or below Santa? Have fun with it and enjoy!
Best for: developing vocabulary
Find out more about the best interactive whiteboards you could use for this activity here!
For this activity, your preschoolers get a chance to practice recognizing and pronouncing vowels found in Christmas words! To do this one, print out and laminate sheets with Christmas-themed words and graphics and highlighted vowels. Have your students practice reading and pronouncing the vowels in each word on the sheet to keep them in Christmas spirits.
Best for: letter recognition and alphabetic code
It is always a good thing to have a board with letters and related pictures up in your preschool classroom as it helps children associate letters with sounds. For the Christmas season, you can change up the pictures to be festive and holiday related! For example, ‘R’ could be for ‘Reindeer’ and ‘E’ could be for ‘Elf’! Sit back and watch your students become engaged with your new festive classroom graphics!
Best for: letter recognition and picture recognition
Our last Christmas literacy activity for preschoolers in an in-person classroom is a Christmas color by letters. Give each of your students a coloring sheet with a Christmas-related picture or scene and small letters in each of the white spaces where the colors should go. On your whiteboard, write a ‘key’ telling students which letters correspond to what colors.
Best for: letter recognition and following instructions
These next activities are for online learning, so your preschoolers can get into the holiday spirit and develop literacy skills no matter where in the world they may be!
If you need more ways to photograph documents and engage your students, check out this article about the best document cameras for teachers.
One great activity to do with your students online is to sing songs. It’s easy to put the words on the screen and play a song in an online classroom, making virtual circle time that much more fun! This song is a fun Christmas-themed tale that helps children practice singing words aloud and practice counting, but any Christmas-themed song would be a lovely addition to the class.
Best for: letter recognition and counting
This is also a great activity to record for students to watch at a later time. Check out this article to find the best equipment for recording lectures!
Another great online activity is reading a Christmas story and doing a related activity. For this one, the children’s Christmas book Queen of Christmas is a great choice, as it has some new vocabulary and introduces the concept of a Christmas list. After reading the story, have your students write their own lengthy Christmas lists and put one item for each letter of the alphabet. It’s great to watch how engaged your students can become when thinking of items that correspond to each letter!
Best for: alphabetic code and spelling
Christmas is a great opportunity to introduce new vocabulary words to your students, which you can either do in person or with online flashcards. Use a variety of Christmas-related words like ‘Santa’ and ‘sleigh’ and have your preschoolers practice sounding them out and using them in sentences.
Best for: developing vocabulary
Another great literacy activity that you can do in an online classroom is Christmas scene listening comprehension, which is where your students will listen to instructions to know how to color in a picture. Take a coloring book picture of a Christmas scene and make your preschoolers listen to which color should go in each part of the picture.
Best for: listening comprehension and vocabulary
Another great way to engage your students in some Christmas cheer is to give them some Christmas-related words in their handwriting practice sheets! Kids get really excited about the holidays and it’ll be great practice for their handwriting if you get them writing words like ‘cookie’ or ‘Santa’ on a practice sheet. You can even have students draw or color in a picture related to the words on the side or back of the vocabulary practice!
Best for: handwriting practice and vocabulary
The last Christmas literacy activity we have for online learning is fill in the blank sentences about gift giving. In this activity, you can help your students think of meaningful gifts to give their family and loved ones for Christmas. Give your students a sheet to print out that says “I can give ___ a ___ for Christmas” five times. Then, have your students fill in the person and gift they plan to give their relative for Christmas!
Best for: spelling, vocabulary, and constructing sentences
- Setting up the Christmas theme in the toddler and preschool classroom
- 17 gift ideas for curious preschool kids
- 18 Christmas crafts for toddlers and preschoolers
Some Final Thoughts
There are a lot of really great Christmas literacy activities for preschoolers, and these twelve are some of the best! Preschool students can become really excited and engaged when their activities involve the holidays and festive season, so be sure to get creative with your kids! Are you ready to see the improvement in your students’ literacy from these fun Christmas exercises?