I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love this time of the year! I love driving around at night and seeing the houses lit up with Christmas lights, listening to Christmas music, baking cookies, and of course, watching Christmas movies!! (I have already watched Elf twice since Thanksgiving break started!)
December is a crazy month in the classroom– schedules get changed, students are super excited (who can blame them?!), and there is so much to get done. Therefore, I thought it might be helpful for me to compile a few posts FULL of ideas to help keep your students engaged this holiday season.
Over the next few weeks I have over 35 STEM inspired ideas to share with you. In each blog post I will include easy to implement ideas with items that you probably already have in your classroom or at home. So without further ado, here is the first installment!
Science: Christmas Star Slime
As many of you know, I work at a private Christian school. When I make this slime with my students we are going to call it “Bethlehem’s Star Slime.” However, I know that many of you work in public schools. Therefore, feel free to change the name of it!
To make slime, I tend to stick to the same tried and true recipe:
1 Bottle of Elmer’s Clear Glue
1 Bottle of Elmer’s Glitter Glue
1/2 Cup of Liquid Starch
1/2 Cup of Water
In your bowl, pour in the two bottles of glue and the water.
I added in a few drops of Myrrh and Frankinsence oils to go along with our Bible story next.
Finally, slowly add in the liquid starch until the slime starts to clump together. I’ll be honest, I don’t always need to use all of the starch and other times I need to add a bit more. I add it in slowly and once it is “slime consistency” I stop adding it! As a note, slime can go from the perfect consistency to too hard very quickly!! To avoid this, add a bit of the the starch in, stir and test it, and then add more.
For fun, I added in some plastic stars. It’s great fine motor work for students to pick them out and push them back in– but they don’t know that. 😉
Language: Christmas Sight Words
In my classroom, I tend to set up a variety of centers and activities for my students to engage with. This is one that I foresee them really enjoying during our literacy center rotations. For this, I purchased fillable ornaments at Michaels (they give an awesome teacher’s discount!) and simply added letter beads to them!
For this center, students can either hunt for specific sight words on the tree or they can find an ornament and figure out what sight word is scrambled inside of it.
Another option for this center is to turn it into a sensory table activity. For this, simply fill up your ornaments with the sight words that you are working on and add them to a sensory table filled with water.
I also included a few other ornaments! This is really fun because the ornaments fill with water and the students can shake them to determine what sight words are hidden in each ornament. I used red water in my sensory table to make it more festive!
Christmas Sink Or Float
Sink or float is a classic science experiment in kindergarten. I prepared a tray of Christmas items for my young learners to experiment with.
On the tray I included pine branches, jingle bells, peppermint candies, a clementine, and real ornaments.
I also added cranberries and cinnamon sticks! Students can document what they predict and what happened once they drop each item into the bowl or sensory table.
Water Xylophone Jingle Bells
One of the kindergarten science standards includes students knowing that energy, force, and motion are related and are a part of their everyday life. The student is expected to use the five senses to explore different forms of energy such as light, heat, and sound.
In first grade, the NGSS standard states that students will plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound.
This Christmas activity hits all of those standards. For this, you can have students (or you can) set up a water xylophone using mason jars. To make it festive I added red and green food coloring to the jars.
Students will use a mallet to try to play “Jingle Bells” using the water xylophone.
I am going to add a few other musical instruments to this center so that students can really rock out while playing Christmas songs on the xylophone!
In case you were wondering how to play it, if you think of the first jar (farthest to the left) as 1 to play jingle bells it would go:
333 333 35123 44444333322325
Math: How tall are you in Christmas Bows?
The last activity that I will share with you today is a math activity. For this one, set out a basket of Christmas bows and have students practice measuring using them. My students always love measuring themselves and their friends with non-standard units of measurement and doing this practices so many skills!
I hope that you enjoyed this first installment of ideas! In a few days I will post another set including technology and engineering provocations (I’m SO excited to blog about these!!) As always, feel free to follow me on Instagram to see what we are up to!
If you are in need of any Christmas/December centers, words, pictures, or printables, feel free to head over to my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have my December word cards printed and laminated and ready for our writing center!