10 Christmas and Holiday Explorations

Christmas and winter holidays awe children with their colours, lights, textures, smells, and sounds. We’ve decided to tap into this natural interest to encourage learning in math, science, engineering, fine-motor, sensory, literacy and art.

Sensory Holiday Exploration

We love how educators  can intentionally add different materials to sensory exploration for different purposes. If we add math or literacy tools and materials the direction of learning can take multiple paths. It can also become a rich learning experience to allow children to add or remove materials of their choice so they can take the learning in their own direction.  Have you given yourself permission to follow the lead of a child lately? Slow down, listen, and observe and next steps for learning may become even more clear.

christmas-8These amazing light-up figures are from Shoppers Drugmart and the beautiful sensory beads from Dollarama. We added some stone tiles to encourage the children to explore spatial reasoning.

christmas-10Eric Carle books are precious and this sensory invitation encourages children to retell and create their own stories. Add clipboards and writing utensils to encourage literacy or maybe a rekenrek or 10 frames encourage math.


These christmas balls from the dollar store are becoming all the rage with crafts. How about use them in the water table first? We also added christmas shaped ice cubes and observed the children measuring to make punch.


Math Holiday Exploration


We saw this on pinterest and thought it was awesome. There they were making Christmas trees, but our littles wanted to decorate their car garages and we thought that was brilliant. They noticed each side could get at least 2 bells to attach and sometimes more if they balanced out the magnetism. Incredible!
christmas-2I picked these up off my lawn after the snow melted last year and threw them in a basket for patterning. The children can’t get enough of them. These are also fun to sort, count in 10 frames, and put in the water table.


christmas-5Once again the 10 frame ice cube trays from the dollar store lure me in. Sometimes they come in 12 and I cut 2 off. I put the cut-off pieces on our play dough table. Depending on the child we may ask them: What’s 1 more/1 less? What’s 2 more/2 less? How many more to make 10 or 5? How do you see 7?

christmas-6The children have been collecting their snack lids for loose parts and math. My teaching partner set these out on a table and the children practiced counting and tracking 1 to 1.

Art Holiday Exploration

christmas-3Home Depot seems to love my teaching partner. They gave her way more paint chips than me. 🙂 The children were invited to make a Christmas tree, a forest, and wherever else their imagination would take them.

christmas-4Every Monday we have a messy Monday provocation. This past Monday they were challenged to create a Christmas tree with fork prints. 

christmas-7We saw a provocation on Twitter from @KingEdFDK with children who first drew with a black Sharpie trees and decorated that with yarn and thought how beautiful.  We decided to invite the children to use natural materials like sticks also if they wished. Some drew. Some used sticks. Both processes were unique and had different and gorgeous journeys. 



View some some of our previous posts about Christmas and the holidays with the links below.

Reindeer Thumbprint Holiday Tree Cookie Decoration

Christmas Math Centre Ideas

Santa’s Candy Shop

Christmas Read Aloud Advent Calendar

Winter Holiday Art


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