5 Cracking Christmas Activities for Schools and Libraries

It's the most wonderful time of the year - hurrah! Yet with prelims to mark, Christmas shows to organise and restless pupils, it can be a testing time too. With a wee bit of help, though, you'll soon hear the sleigh bells ringing again. Check out this selection of festive ideas, with plenty of quality learning taking place.

What does Christmas mean to you?

It's easy for us to forget the true spirit and meaning of Christmas amidst the rush to get everything organised and the flurry of adverts for iPods. Encourage your pupils to take some time to reflect by asking them to produce a presentation on the theme 'What does Christmas mean to you?' It'll challenge them to think beyond the more obvious connotations of Christmas - presents, food, snow - and get them thinking about abstract concepts like compassion, empathy, forgiveness and tolerance. I saw a fantastic example of this at an event where a teacher showed us one of his pupils' presentations on 'What does beauty mean to you?': it was one of the most moving things I'd seen in a while. Your pupils can use Windows Movie Maker, WeVideo and a host of other tools to make their presentations.

Finger puppet shows

Get your younger pupils making some finger puppets of characters from Christmassy picture books, and use them to act out stories. Older pupils can write their own Christmas stories and perform them for younger ones. Check out our list of picture books for Christmas for inspiration!

Make some Christmas trees out of a book

This one makes a reappearance from our Christmas activity blog from last year. The idea is simple: fold all the pages of an old paperback into a triangle shape, and then bring them together to make a tree! You can find a tutorial here.

Ask your pupils to find songs whose messages they think should be spread at Christmas

Christmas number one debate

Every year we hear the same Christmas songs, and the Christmas number one usually ends up being brought to us courtesy of the X Factor. But back in the anarchic year of 2009, a hard-fought protest campaign resulted in Rage Against the Machine's 1991 single Killing in the Name being the Christmas chart-topper, beating X factor winner Joe McElderry into second spot. Ask your pupils to find songs whose messages they think should be spread at Christmas, and get them to debate why their chosen songs should be the Christmas number one. Why does the world need to hear the message in their chosen song this Christmas? They can relate the song lyrics to the global context - what's going on the world right now that makes their song relevant and important?

Make a snow globe

Just because. There's a nice tutorial here - and if you don't want to use glycerin, baby oil does the job fine. For wee ones, you might want to glue the centrepiece to the mason jar lid before you let them do the rest! You could get them to make up stories or poems about their centrepieces, and display them in the class.

Top image credit: By Adam from Phoenix, Arizona, USA (Tortured Cat) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons