# My Really Long Christmas Tree

Measurement concepts are often a part of children’s interactions. “My dad is bigger,” “I can jump higher,” and “I have more Playdough than you!” are common comparisons that children make. From the child’s perspective, these statements compare quantity; however, they provide a nice introduction to measurement.

Unfortunately, it is an often-neglected Content Standard in early childhood classrooms. Throughout the many projects we do throughout the week, we use both standard and nonstandard tools for measuring. Students are also provided with a multitude of measuring experiences throughout the year.

For this activity, your little one was presented with a problem. They were given five strips of paper of varying length. They were then asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest. Young children are natural problem solvers. To increase vocabulary and the comprehension of new concepts, students are asked questions that facilitate further exploration. The purpose of this is to promote measurement investigations and an interest in “figuring out” the answer.

# Père Noël

In France, Christmas is a time for family and for generosity, marked by family reunions, gifts and candy for children, gifts for the poor, Midnight Mass, and le Réveillon . There are many traditions, and they are strongly integrated into the celebrations of most French families.
From a special meal on Christmas Eve, to the exchange of gifts, traditions vary across different regions of France, as well as among different families. The celebration of Christmas in France varies by region. Most provinces celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, which is a bank holiday.
French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace, in the hopes that Père Noël (aka Papa Noël ) will fill them with gifts. Candy, fruit, nuts, and small toys will also be hung on the tree overnight. For this activity, we placed pine boughs, candy canes, and small toys into our shoes for Père Noël!

# Trail of Numbers

Contemporary theories of learning place a high value on the contribution of movement feedback during the learning process.

One way to use active games is their application to students’ basic knowledge and abilities in cognitive areas.

For this activity, your little ones followed a trail made of chalk. Because our shape of the week was a triangle, small triangles were written and interspersed with numbers.

As your little one traversed the thoroughfare, she were encouraged to jump, and, while doing so, shout out the number and shape she landed on with each impact.

This targeted two different memory processes, which they integrated throughout the course of the activity. To keep their level of interest high, we later added cars and other manipulatives, to which they were encouraged to play at their own pace.

# Trimming the Tree

Christmas is a theme that offers activities for your preschoolers to explore family traditions together!

It is such an exciting time of year and an exciting theme!

Taking the time to explore the different aspects of this time of year can help give your preschoolers some perspective and understanding to it all!

For this activity, we decorated Christmas trees! Using artificial trees, garlands, and ornaments, we lavished our creations with color and fun.

Experiences like these grant children the independence to be creative and purposeful. When children choose how to play for themselves, they experience freedom in making those choices. They also begin to see connections between choice and the consequences or results of that choice.

Open-ended materials can be used in many ways so children can decide for themselves how to use them. It is this intrinsic motivation that allows a child to regulate her own feelings and desires in order to keep playing.

# Pine Bough Weaving

Using collanders and artificial pine boughs, we created our very own Christmas tree structures!
This was a collaborative group project, and your little one enjoyed making our school a little more festive by poking pine boughs into a collander together with a partner.
Twisting their garlands enabled them to make a variety of fun creations!
This activity incorporated several developmental domains.
When piercing the pine boughs into the collander, your little one was practicing fine motor control and hand eye coordination.
The importance of hand eye coordination lies in your child’s ability to manipulate their environment. Simple hand-eye coordination techniques, such as weaving, are a great way to help your little one learn how to control their mind and their hands.
These skills are transferable to literacy, and when your little student is then exposed to holding a pencil, crayon or pair of scissors, the coordination will be in place.

# Pine Forest

When children create an artificial environment, they bring three-dimensional reality to any concept.

Though your little ones are aware of what a Christmas tree is, they may not fully comprehend the trip it took for it to become one.

To help our budding arborists connect to this idea, we decided to create our very own pine forest!

This activity enabled students to not only learn about a foreign ecosystem, but additionally honed their academic skills and nurtured their innate curiosity and creativity.

The components of this project included white dough, artificial and organic pine boughs, styrofoam, and candy canes.

# Christmas Tree Cones

Using styrofoam cones, your little one decorated and painted their own little holiday trees!
Your little ones first learned about the shape of a cone, and how it is similar and different from that of a triangle.
The next phase of the activity included painting the cone and adorning it with plastic golf tees and lacing these “tees” with small ornaments. This activity incorporated several developmental domains.
Learning about new shapes fosters spatial recognition, encourages mathematical reasoning, increases vocabulary, and helps young children make connections to the world around them.
Puncturing the cones with the golf tees, and lacing the ornaments onto the tees provided your little one with ample attempts to strengthen their fine motor and pre-writing skills.

# The Legend of the Poinsettia

In addition to our regular Christmas activities, we also began to learn about the Legend of the Poinsettia, a Mexican legend depicting the adventures of Pepita and her brother Pablo.

Using colorful illustrations, your children were told a preschool-friendly version of the legend, and then were given red tinsel, plastic poinsettias, and baby food jars to make there very own poinsettia plants!

Young children are eager to learn about the world and they soak up the information like little sponges.

In our classroom, children discover their relationship to other humans through stories, cultural celebrations, and the enriched cultural curriculum and materials. Diversity activities teach young children to respect and celebrate the differences in all people. Learning about different cultural aspects offers new experiences for children. This activity aimed to do just that.

# The German Christmas Tree

Long before the advent of Santa Claus and his elves, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter.

Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows.

In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness. But it is Germany that is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it.

It all started in the 16th century, when the German people would bring decorated trees into their homes.

Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce.

To recreate these early trees, we constructed our very own! Using blocks as our wood base and pine boughs, we formed our trees and then talked about them with our friends!

# Candy Cane Symmetry

When learning about symmetry, young children benefit most when they are introduced to new vocabulary with hands on activities. Because they think in three dimensions, an impasse arises through verbal instruction, unless they are granted hands on experiences at the same time.

Young children will begin to understand the concepts and vocabulary of symmetry if you give them time to play symmetry games and experiment with symmetry art. For this activity, I placed a long piece of ribbon down the center of a piece of butcher paper, with a basket of candy canes to the side.

Because this was our first time exploring symmetry, we paused a moment to talk about what symmetry is and identified some examples of symmetry in our classroom. We started this activity by taking turns placing the candy canes on the “board”. For the first round, your little one placed a candy cane on her side of the “game board”, and Miss Carrie placed a matching candy cane on her side. As we moved forward in the game, each child began to see how we were creating a symmetrical design (and everyone noticed when I intentionally placed my candy cane in the wrong spot!).