This post is part of my ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series. To see all posts in the series, click here.
During the holiday season, I switch out our regular homeschool reading selections for holiday-themed books. Beginning around mid-November, I pull out some old and new favorites to use for our daily read aloud time. The library is a wonderful resource for finding holiday themed books, and our bookmobile even has a special shelf for them when they come around, so it’s super easy to put together a holiday collection. I pile our holiday choices in a basket, but if you’re really motivated, you could wrap each book like a gift and have kids open one each day leading up to Christmas, like a countdown calendar.
My kids love to do hands on activities, especially during the holidays, so it’s fun to pair up an activity that correlates to the theme of the book we’re reading. For The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, we made gingerbread man and mixed up different colors of icing to decorate them, along with some candies and sprinkles, of course. See our list of a week’s worth of our favorite books and activity ideas below, and have fun reading through the holidays!
Books and Activities for Reading Through the Holidays
Merry Christmas Mouse–Cut out paper snowflakes, and cover them with lots and lots of glitter (if you’re brave)!
Mooseltoe–Make a picture of Christmas lights: Stamp your thumbprints onto paper with different colors of washable ink, then turn them into Christmas lights by drawing “sockets” on top. Glue a piece of yarn across the top to make the light strand.
Night Tree–String popcorn and dried fruit using a yarn needle and heavy thread. Hang them outside on a tree for wildlife to discover.
The Gingerbread Boy–decorate gingerbread cookies with icing and candies.
The Polar Express–Make simple ornaments with a package of jingle bells and some pretty ribbon. Simply thread ribbon through the loop on the bell to make a hanger. These are fun embellishments for presents, too.
This is the Star–Paint wooden pegs or clothespins with simple features to make a sweet Nativity scene.
The Twelve Days of Christmas–Make salt dough ornaments representing different items from the 12 days of Christmas. Mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 1/2-3/4 cups water (add the water gradually so the dough doesn’t get too sticky). Knead until smooth, then roll out and cut with cookie cutters or mold into desired shapes with hands. Don’t make them too thick, or they won’t dry well. Poke a hole through with a drinking straw to make a hanger. Either set out to dry for a day or two, or bake in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure they don’t start to brown. Once dry, paint as desired and add a loop of ribbon throughthe hole to hang.
Anne Campbell, mom to 3 boys (in every sense of the word!), a writer, editor, chicken wrangler, and former middle and high school teacher, loves to share resources and ideas to encourage other moms and homeschoolers. In her 13th year as a home educator, Anne blogs about her family’s experiences at www.mylearningtable.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.