It’s December in Kindergarten – my favorite month of the year and not just because it is my birthday month! I love the start of winter and all that comes with that! What are my favorite activities I like to do every December in kindergarten with my students?
December in Kindergarten: Snow and snowflakes
I just love the start of winter, and the change of the seasons so I love incorporating snow and snowflakes into my activities. We don’t only do snow related activities in December, but I definitely start them in December in kindergarten! I like to use these Roll and Cover activities with snowflakes on it to connect snow to math. We also talk about the shapes and patterns we see in snowflakes after reading Snowflake Bently, the first photographer of snowflakes who helped us realize that each snowflake is unique.
If it snows in December in kindergarten, I bring snow into my sensory table and let children explore with it and watch it melt. If it doesn’t snow, I can still bring in ice to the sensory table. Sometimes I just put out the ice and some water tools like sponges and basters and see what the children do with it. They make fascinating discoveries! It’s also fun to hide things in the ice and see if they can get the objects out. Additionally, with ice or snow, the children love having watercolors added to the table to see what happens when they paint the frozen water.
I also have a ton of snow related books that I pull out in the winter. You can buy all my favorites in my Amazon storefront.
December in Kindergarten: Gingerbread stories
Another favorite activity of mine that I do every December in kindergarten is read from my large collection of different versions of the gingerbread stories. We do one whole week where each day we focus on one or two different versions and the children do related activities. It is always a huge hit and one that previous students always reminisce about when they see me. You can read more about this unit here.
Post Office Dramatic Play Center
I love changing up my dramatic play center in December in kindergarten to a post-office. Many children are receiving holiday cards in the mail or sending cards and so mail is a topic many of them are thinking and talking about. Plus, it helps relate to our study on community helpers. I encourage sending kindness notes to people in the classroom or around the school. You can read more about the benefits of dramatic play here.
Winter Holidays Around the World
The week before vacation in December in kindergarten (speaking of vacation… I have some tips here about how to ease your return to school!) We always do a week of winter holidays around the world. Try to pick holidays that your students celebrate and holidays that are different from what your students are familiar with. I love exposing my students to different cultures and traditions around the world. This is not the only time I teach about holidays, as I teach about different holidays as they are occurring, which is more meaningful to students. This week is specifically made for winter holidays. It is cool to see that most of the holidays have a theme of light and dark. You can read more about this Winter Holidays Around the World unit here.
I see a lot on social media teachers celebrating holidays with their students, specifically Christian holidays like Christmas. There is a big difference between learning about many holidays and celebrating the dominate religions holiday. Celebrating Christmas in schools is not only breaking the whole “separation of church and state” in public schools, but it is also extremely othering and isolating for children who don’t celebrate Christmas. We need to be mindful that, even if students don’t specifically tell us they don’t celebrate Christmas, not all students celebrate Christmas, and we shouldn’t assume they do. Additionally, even if all your students do celebrate Christmas at home, they are surrounded by Christmas everywhere they go in society. These messages teach children that everyone celebrate Christmas and Christianity is the “right” religion for our society. It’s important to expose all students to the rich traditions of different cultures.
December in kindergarten is my favorite month of the year and I always look forward to activities around snow, gingerbread books, and winter holidays around the world. These activities are fun and easy to set up and plan for. They definitely help keep kids engaged before their upcoming vacation!
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