## "Cent-sational" Christmas Craftivities

1-2-3 Come Study Coins With Me

I'm always looking for quick, easy and fun ways to study the various standards and still include my theme.

With that in mind, I designed this Christmas tree craft, that's decorated with coins. (penny, nickel, dime & quarter).

Run the tree template off on green construction paper, or use white and have students color.
Children pick a partner and take turns rolling the dice four times.

Their 1st roll equals how many penny ornaments they will glue to their tree, the 2nd roll is for nickels and so on.

Students color, cut and glue the matching number of coins to their tree.
This way, each tree will be trimmed differently.

After they are done “decorating” their tree, older students complete their math worksheet by adding up the total value of their tree, writing that on the star or trunk.

I’ve also provided a worksheet where students break down the total of each coin.

For more advanced math practice, have everyone share their total, write them on the board, and figure out how much all of the trees are worth.

Also included, are several worksheet options for different levels of study, including one that reinforces color wordsThe photographs of completed samples help clarify things.

Completed projects make an awesome bulletin board too. Caption: "Cent-sational Math Work".

Click on the link to zip over to my TpT shop to have a look: Christmas Money Tree

The other money activity that goes hand-in-hand with this one, is my "Christmas Cookie Dough" packet.

The packet includes an emergent reader, with several options for you to choose from, including 2 sizes.

The first one is a “cut & glue” the appropriate coin to the page, the other version already features a picture of the coin.

Students read the simple sentences, filled with 20 Dolch sight words. I’ve switched up the pronouns for that teachable moment as well.

They trace & write the coin words, as well as the values, and color words, then color the cookies accordingly.

I’ve also included a “Sum Cookies” craftivity, which makes an awesome interactive bulletin board, or wall display.

Children choose which cookies they want, then color, cut and arrange them on their aluminum foil “cookie sheet”. When they are satisfied with how things look, they glue their cookies down.

Using the “cookie key” or referring to the pocket chart cards, students figure out the price of all of the cookies on their cookie sheet, writing an equation showing the price of each cookie, then adding to solve the problem.

I’ve included a spatula to show their work, which is attached to their cookie sheet.
When everyone is done, collect and number the cookie sheets, then display them, along with the spatula answers.

For more math practice have children figure out how much the various sheets of cookies cost, writing their equations and solutions on the worksheet.

Students can do one a day, or however many you want them to do. They check their work, by flipping up the spatula flap.

Finally, there’s a cookie matching game. Depending on ability, students simply match a cookie to a cookie.

Older kiddos can match a cookie with its value, to the matching coin card, and/or the coin word card.

There’s also a certificate of praise as well: “When it comes to coins, you’re one smart cookie!”

Today's FREEBIE also features coin identification.   It's a set of poster-poems. I hope you find them useful.

Well that's it for today. All this talk of cookies, brought on the cravings.

Time to grab a mug of milk and dunk my favorite--chocolate chip . . .  Wishing you a delicious December.

"Never spend your money before you have earned it." -Thomas Jefferson

## Christmas Crafts

1-2-3 Come Make a Gingerbag House With Me

Do you do some gingerbread activities during December? Are you contemplating making a gingerbread house?

If so, I think you and your kiddos will really enjoy making a "gingerbag".

It's a non-messy, quick, easy & fun craftivity, as an alternative to the gooey graham cracker creations, that often fall apart.

There are 8 pages of candy, cakes and ice-cream trimmings, chimneys, doors, and windows, that your kiddos can choose to decorate their paper bag gingerbread house with.

Face the bag towards you so that the bottom of the bag is at the top, and looks like a flap. This is the perfect place to glue the “candy roof” and chimney.

Students cut out whatever pieces they want to glue to the front of their house.

They arrange the pieces ‘til they are satisfied with the look, and then glue them down.

Children then color the trimmings with crayons or markers.

White puffy paint, glitter glue, and stickers can all add pizzazz to the houses.

For that finishing touch, glue a child’s photo in one of the windows.

You can also spritz them with a bit of cinnamon fragrance.

For writing practice, I've included 2 worksheets, where students describe their gingerbread house.

Completed gingerbags make a cute bulletin board too.
Caption: “Mr(s.) _____________’s kindergartners are wishing you a sweet and cozy Christmas.” OR…. “From our house to yours, we’re wishing you a yummy New Year.”

Click on the link to zip on over to my TpT shop to take a look: Gingerbag Craftivity.

The featured FREEBIE today, also has a gingerbread theme.

They are a set of gingerbread-themed parts of speech posters. I hope you find them useful.

Well that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'm thrilled to be having the entire family over for dinner and games today.

That's 21 people!  Woo hoo.  Gotta' get going on the yummies.   Wishing you a love and fun-filled day.

"Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained." -Maurice de Vlaminck

## Christmas Craftivities

1-2-3 Come Countdown To Christmas With Me!

Counting down is a great way to help your students practice counting backwards, as well as visually being able to "see" the passage of time, which is a rather abstract concept for young children.

My Countingdown To Christmas Craftivity packet includes a variety of quick, easy and interesting ways for your kiddos to countdown to Christmas.

I've included a file folder cover, which your students can decorate, to keep all of their countdown work in.

Since there's a nice variety of options, why not have them do a countdown that they can color, another they bingo dot, and finally, one that they earn stickers for.

I’ve also included a Christmas tree and Santa’s beard countdown activity, where students snip off a section each day. (Let's "trim" the tree & Santa's beard.)

After the last one is gone, children have a paper ornament to hang on their tree.

Snipping paper is a super-fun way for kiddos to strengthen finger and hand muscles too.

The "fingerprint" keepsake wreath, is another fun way to keep track of time, and comes with a sweet poem for the center.

Children keep their work in the folder and take it out each day to countdown.

Only takes a few minutes, and frees you up to do some pull-out activities.

Send the folder home on the last day before vacation, so students can finish their countdown at home.

Finally, I’ve also included a “How many days until vacation?” Countdown paper chain that you can suspend from the ceiling by your calendar.

I review all sorts of math skills in just a few minutes, with this festive decoration.

Click on the link to zip on over to my TpT shop to take a look at the Countingdown To Christmas Craftivities.

If you do Elf on a Shelf you may like the "Elf Help" countdown craftivity.

Have your students color the elf's "stockings" in an ABAB pattern to reinforce patterning.

I've included a traceable calendar of December, for years 2015-2017, with a blank one if you want students to fill in their own.

Tracing and writing the numbers as they countdown to Christmas, is also a fun way to practice numbers, as well as have a visual of "time passing".   Click on the link to check out the Elf on a Shelf countdown craftivity.

Today's featured FREEBIE is also a countdown activity. I put "Santa" on my whiteboard and we do "You Can Count on Santa" during our calendar time.

Simply print off the poster on card stock, color, then choose a different child each day to pull apart a cottonball, and glue it to that number on Santa's beard.

Well that's it for today, have to make a mad dash to the store to get a few things before everything closes up for Thanksgiving.

Wishing you a day filled with many joy-filled moments.

"If men liked shopping, they'd call it research."  ~Cynthia Nelms

## Name Ornaments Keepsake Craft

1-2-3 Come Make A Name Ornament With Me

I'm not sure about your kiddos, but as the last day before vacation neared, I could sense the energy levels climbing.  To help them stay focused, I always tried to do a few hands-on "craftivities" that my students would really enjoy, but also wanted to include standards to keep the administration content as well.

With that in mind, I designed the Keepsake Name Ornament packet.  It's a quick, easy & fun Christmas ornament that helps reinforce your students' names, letter recognition, vowel identification, capitalization, graphing, counting and addition!  Woo hoo!

This would be a wonderful center on the last day before vacation, or a special "craftivity" to do for your Christmas party day.

I've included upper as well as lowercase letter tiles that your students trim and glue to a strip of construction paper.  I used red & green, but just one color looks nice too.

While children are at lunch or recess, laminate your students' completed projects and have a room helper cut them out, punch a hole at the top & add a yarn tie.

Gluing on a school photo makes them even more special, and even though the ornament spells their name, have them write their name and the date on the back.

For some math fun, I've included two point value charts, so your students can practice a bit of addition, by adding up the point value of their letters.

Use the chart with point values to 4, with younger students, and the chart with numbers to 26, for older students. Because their total will be large, have children figure out the place value of their name using this grand total.

There's an ornament worksheet to record their answer, along with other data, so that you can review consonants and vowels as well.  Students can color this ornament, or simply run off on a variety of colors of copy paper.

Vowels are also reviewed, with a graphing extension. There's a graph for the total number of letters in your students' names too.   As you can see, I've packed in all sorts of math extensions in this simple ornament "craftivity".

To add to the fun, I've included a "secret" coded Christmas message that you can challenge your students to solve.  Students refer to the point value poster to figure out what the sentence says.

Make it a "speed" game, and see who can decode the message first. To save you time, I put two on a page for quick printing, and included an answer key.  Click on the link to view/download the Keepsake Name Ornament activities.

Thanks for visiting today.  As always, my December days fly by.  I've got to get to the post office today or my family in Wisconsin, won't get their goodies in time for Christmas.  Wishing you a stress-free day.

"May voices join with the multitude of the heavenly host to proclaim His glory. May hearts be filled with His everlasting song of joy and peace this Christmas season."  -Unknown

## Creative Writing Prompts For December

1-2-3 Come Do Some Interesting and Fun Writing With Me

Having interesting and fun writing prompts, will motivate your students to want to write.  Tossing in a bit of crafty coloring, will be icing on the cake.

With that in mind, I just finished designing some creative-wintry writing prompts that I think your kiddos will enjoy.  They are pretty simple, so they'd easily fit into your Daily 5 or writing block.

A Sweet Tweet For Santa, is based on the popular idea of "tweeting".   Students color, cut and glue the bird to the top of their writing prompt paper, then each day (for 10 days) they jot down (tweet) something sweet that they've done, that Santa might be interested in knowing.

Remind them to use proper spacing, capitalization and end punctuation.  I've also included a completed sample for you to share with your students.

"Stuff It!" is also a unique writing prompt.  I've included several options, with two different stocking patterns, so you could actually do both of them, or give students a choice.

To reinforce patterning, have students write their name on the "cuff" of the stocking in an ABAB color pattern.

After coloring and trimming their stocking, students make an alphabetical list of things they'd enjoy finding "stuffed" in their stocking.  Once they've completed and checked their list, they rewrite the final draft on their stocking.

For the other writing prompt, students gather in groups of 3-4 and exchange their stockings with each other.

Everyone in the group "stuffs" a Christmas compliment into their classmates' stockings, by writing something nice about that person.  Encourage the use of adjectives.

This activity is especially appropriate if your class does the "Fill a Bucket" program. Completed projects make a nice, self-esteem building, December bulletin board.

Now You're Talkin' is an especially imaginative writing prompt, that I really enjoyed making samples for.

It's especially beneficial if you're working on the proper use of quotation marks.

There are 5 different writing prompts to choose from.  Pick one for your students, give them a choice, or have them do a different one each day and assemble them into a journal.  I've included a cover if you want to do that.

Students color the pictures, then pretend to be a gingerbread man, reindeer, and snowman, jotting down things they might say if they could talk.

To help explain things, I've included completed samples for each one for you to share with your kiddos.

If you could hear Santa or his elves, what might they be saying? are the other two writing prompt options.

Encourage the use of adjectives and remind students about proper spacing, capitalization and end punctuation.

If you're not doing these as a journal, have students choose their favorite, mount on construction paper and hang them on a hallway wall or bulletin board.

Finally, my personal favorite, is a class made book entitled Who Will Pull Santa's Sleigh?  Making class booklets, were always my first grader's favorite writing activity, as well as much sought-after reading options during quiet time.

Here's the scenario for this fun December writing prompt: Oh no! Santa's reindeer are sick!  Who will pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve?

Students choose an animal and write why they think they would be a good choice, then illustrate their page.  Collect and collate your students' contributions and make into a class book.   I've included a cover for it.

Read your completed book as a whole group, by having each student read their own page when you come to it.  Be sure and make one of your own, or share the completed sample that I've included in the packet.

To help give your students some interesting ideas, and get them excited about writing, you might want to read Who Will Pull Santa's Sleigh Tonight, by Laura Rader.

In this story, as with the writing prompt, the reindeer are sick, so Santa holds auditions for replacement animals.

Another hilarious story, with awesome illustrations, is Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight? by Jerry Pallotta.  This story takes place pre-reindeer time, when Santa was wondering who could pull his sleigh.

Your kiddos will get lots of ideas, as there are many silly scenarios presented by different animals trying out for the job --  from skunks, kangaroos and giraffes, to monkeys, mice and even snakes.  In the end, Santa finally realizes that reindeer are the perfect animals for pulling his sleigh.

I've included a Venn diagram, as well as a graphing extension you can do if you read both books.  Click on the link to view/download the Who Will Pull Santa's Sleigh? class-made book packet.

That's it for today.  Thanks for visiting. I hope these writing prompts help to get your students excited to practice.

The sun is trying to peek out, making the snow sparkle, which puts me in the mood to do some decorating.  Wishing you a festive day.

"Christmas without reindeer is like snow without moonlight: it loses its sparkle." -Unknown

## Interesting Activities For Counting Down To Christmas

1-2-3 Come Countdown To Christmas With Me

One of the things that I realized rather quickly, during the 10 years that I taught Y5's, was that younger children don't have a real good grasp of time.  To help my kiddos with this, I did all sorts of calendar activities, so that they could visulalize the passage of time.

Counting down the days of each month, was extremely helpful.  For holiday months, this was especially nice, because it dispensed with the "When is?" questions.  "When is vacation, the party, fieldtrip..." or other special activities that they were looking forward to.

With that in mind, I decided to design a bunch of countdown to Christmas activities. These are simple, quick and easy, so you can choose several.  They are fun independent activities that children can work on a few minutes each day, freeing you up to work one-on-one with students.

Each month I displayed a different countdown paper chain from the ceiling.  I chose 2 to 3 different colors (appropriate for that month) to make the links out of, so we could review colors as well as patterning

You can make the countdown to Christmas gingerbread paper chain craftivity for your class, or have students each make their own, to take home for more practice.  I used white puffy paint (for frosting) and a plaid ribbon bow for extra pizzazz.

"You Can Count On Santa" is another fun visual for your students.

As with the gingerbread craft, you can simply make one for your classroom for calendar time, or run off copies for students to make one of their own.

Using a glue dot, children add a cotton ball to fill in Santa's beard.  This is not my original idea, although I've been doing it long before the Internet.  I love drawing Santa, and hope you like my version.

Since the Elf On A Shelf story has become a super-fun classroom management tool, I decided to make an elf-themed countdown craftivity as well.

As students countdown to Christmas, they trace and write the numbers and then color each section of the elf's stockings in an ABAB pattern.  I added flat-backed jewels and mini pom poms for that finishing touch.

Since jewels are an especially "big deal" to little ones, you can use them as an incentive:  Stay focused and complete your work and earn a bit of dazzle for your countdown elf.

1-2-3 Countdown To Christmas Alphabetically,  is one of my favorites.

It's an alphabet booklet.  Students trace and write the letters, as well as the Christmas-themed words.

They color the letter and picture, then write another word that also begins with that letter.  There are so many options for Christmas-related words, you can easily request that the extra words also need to be about Christmas.

Starting December 1st, have students complete one letter.  Since there are only 25 days 'til Christmas, remind students to complete letters Y and Z on the last day.

For more alphabet reinforcement, the packet also includes 10 worksheets, to help practice writing upper and lowercase letters, putting words in alphabetical order, skip counting the 24 days 'til Christmas by 2's, as well as practicing writing numbers to 31 (The number of days in the month.)

The worksheet in the photo, asks students "What Lowercase Letter Is Missing?"  There are also two "I Spy" game worksheets.

Click on the link to view/download the Countdown to Christmas Alphabet packet.

Since my Y5's needed lots of scissor practice, I designed two countdown activities, where students snip off the days 'til Christmas.

The "Trim the Tree" scissor-snipping countdown craftivity, is my own idea, however, cutting off Santa's beard, was an idea I found dozens of versions of, on Pinterest.

I felt that Santa still needed a beard for his Christmas Eve adventures, so I revamped the concept, and designed a "Snipit Santa."

Both the Christmas tree and Santa, when completely trimmed, make cute paper ornaments or gift tags.

Click on the link to view/download the Let's Trim the Tree & Santa's Beard Christmas countdown - scissor practice craftivities.

Finally, if you're just looking for something super-simple for your little ones to do, as a countdown activity, click on the link for some Countdown To Christmas Coloring Pages.

I've included a cute gingerbread house cover, for a Christmas countdown file folder, so students can keep all of their countdown activities in one place.

I'd include one that they can color, one they use a bingo dauber on (dotting the days away), one they can earn stickers for, plus a scissor snipping option.  These worksheets only take a few minutes, and because kiddos can work independently, you are freed up to work one-on-one with students.

That's it for today.  I hope you found something here that you can use to help your students understand the concept of time passing.

My grama Lydia used to say that the older she got the more quickly time passed.  Now that I'm enjoying my "golden years" I find that to be truer than true.  Wishing you a peaceful, savor-each-moment kind of day.

"How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?" -Dr. Seuss

## A Few More Winter Craftivities

1-2-3 Come Do Some Winter Craftivities With Me!

Hopefully things are winding down this last week of school before Christmas Break.  If you're looking for a few last-minute things for your kiddo's to do, you've come to the right place.  Here are some quick, easy and simple activities, I think your students will enjoy.

Since the 3D cylinder shape was always the "toughy" for my Y5's to wrap their heads around,  I tried to do several projects each month involving that shape.  The cylinder-shaped Santa windsock, was one of their favorites.  I made Santa's beard by tracing their hand once and then cutting it out 4 times.

Children work on a flat surface; when they are done, then help them roll their Santa into a cylinder shape.  Pulled-cotton and glitter, add those finishing touches. Punch a hole in the top, tie a yarn loop, so it can hang from the ceiling.

Review the triangle, oval, and circle shapes as well.  If you have your kiddo's do a craft on party day, these are great as a whole-group, or independent center activity.

To expedite things, make sure you trace and cut their hand prints the day before. Click on the link to view/download the Keepsake Hand Print Santa

Quite a few of my favorite Christmas Stories involve mice, so I thought it would be fun to design a sweet treat for my Y5's, featuring this Christmas character.  You can review the oval shape with this craftivity as well.  His ears are heart-shaped.

I don't buy peppermint candy canes for my kiddo's, as when we graphed whether they liked peppermint or not, most of them did not.

This was true every year, so I looked for the flavored candy canes.  You can get a box of a dozen at The Dollar Store.  Wiggle eyes and a pom pom nose added extra pizzazz.

You can make these for your students as a gift, but I liked doing them as a craftivity the last day of school.  I used silver wallpaper for a sparkling effect.  You could also glue metallic wrapping paper to tag board.  Click on the link to view/download the Christmas Mouse.

Another peppermint activity I call "Me Mints."  I made the larger one out of a sturdy 8-inch paper plate.  Students striped the edges.  Enlarge a photo, cut into a circle and mount it in the center of the plate.

Wrap with clear cellophane.  (You can buy it by the roll at The Dollar Store.)  Twist the ends and tie with curling ribbon.

These make a super bulletin board boarder, or have students glue the "greeting" to the back and suspend from the ceiling.

I also made a "Mini Mint" ornament template for you. Run off the peppermint candy.  Students color with markers and glue to a circle of tag board. Follow the above directions to complete this "Awww-dorable" craftivity.  Click on the link to grab this FREEBIE.

Finally, Wally,The Wallpaper Snowman, would be fun to do on the last day, so that you would have some winter decorations up when your students return from Christmas vacation.

If you look closely, you'll see that Wally's face is textured.  I made the circles out of embossed wallpaper.  You can buy a roll of white textured wallpaper for less that \$5, or visit a paint, wallpaper, or home-decor store, where they sell wallpaper, and ask if you could have or buy a sample book.

I used these sample books for die cuts, banners, backgrounds, and stationery for my students to write on.  I've included 4 winter writing prompts so that students have a choice.

Children write a rough draft and when they have finalized it, they write it on the circle and glue it to the back of Wally.  These look wonderful dangling from the ceiling.  Click on the link to view/download Wally,The Wallpaper Snowman Writing Prompt Dangler.

Thanks for visiting today.  Feel free to PIN away.  I design and blog daily, so I hope you have the time to drop by tomorrow for even more FREEBIES.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens from A Christmas Carol

## Fun With Shaving Cream

1-2-3 Come Make Some Shaving Cream Stuff With Me!

If you haven't heard of using shaving cream in the classroom yet, you and your students are missing out on a lot of fun.  Yes, it's a little bit messy, but oh the joy of hands-on learning.

Clear the work tables or student desks, and have children don a paint shirt.  Shake up a can of shaving cream (they sell a variety at The Dollar Store) and squirt a few big dollops in front of each child's place. The whole key to not making a mess is to give them just enough to make a writing board.

Tell them to smooth it out to make their very own "whiteboard!"  Using their index finger as a pencil,  have students write letters, numbers, or draw shapes.  This is a super-fun way to whole-group assess.

As you call out each letter, number,  shape or whatever, students draw that on their snow "board."  When you've checked everyone's work by simply a glance, have them "erase" their board by smoothing it over, so you can call out something else for them to write/draw.

After you review, give your students one last dollop for them to write their name or draw whatever they like.

An extra bonus is that the shaving cream takes off sticky glue residue, as well as crayon, permanent marker and ink marks.  Depending on the fragrance you choose, your room should smell simply wonderful.

The cream also makes your kiddo's hands feel smooth and soft.  Take a teachable moment to talk about friction, as students rub the tabletop or their desk. The shaving cream will disappear, and their hands will feel warm.  We take a bathroom break to wash our hands, and then everyone pitched in with wet paper towel, to wipe and dry our work space.  Our tables were so clean and shiny!

Shaving cream is also an excellent "frosting" or "snow" for winter "craftivities".  The results pack a huge "Wow!" affect and were some of my students' favorite artwork.  Shaving cream creations make an outstanding decoration for your hallway, but hang them above any one's reach, so little fingers aren't tempted to poke the fluffy "snow." To make the "snow frosting," mix Elmer's glue with equal parts non-menthol shaving cream; mix quickly to whip up a frothy-goopy consistency.

I plopped 1 or 2 spoonful's on each child's project and then they smoothed their "frosting"  with a Popsicle stick.  Depending on how thick the artwork is, shaving cream craftivities need at least 24-48 hours to dry.  Here are 2 of my all-time favorite shaving cream creations.

Shaving Cream Frosted Cookie Ornaments: I have my students cut their cookie out of light brown paper, frost it, and then add their photo to the middle.

If you have an Ellison Die Cutter at your disposal, these cookies are adorable cut into your students' initials. Add a few real candy sprinkles and these honestly look good enough to eat; they look so real!

These make a darling bulletin board too.  Cover with aluminum foil to make a giant "cookie sheet". Caption: "We're cooking up a batch of fun, learning letters in _____________'s class."

Shaving cream would also look cute on a frosted gingerbread man, and would be fun for your kiddo's to decorate like mine did with their snowmen below. Scatter them on your aluminum foil background above. Caption: "Some Sweet Fun With Our Gingerbread On The Run!"

By far, my favorite craft that I ever made with my Y5's, was the shaving cream snowman.  The first time I made these, I hung my students' snowmen as a border, just under the ceiling in the hallway.

We got zillions of compliments and everyone wanted to know the secret of the awesome looking "snow!"  I've also made them into a bulletin board accompanied by stern "Don't touch!" warnings.

Not sure why I used a yellow background here, when blue snowflake wrapping paper would have been awesome.

Before hand, have students draw their snowman on a pre-cut piece of tag board.  (5x7 or 8x10) Little ones have a tendency to either draw way too small or way too large, so demonstrate drawing 2 simple circles “just the right size.”

I used a template to pre-draw the ones for my Y5's.  You really need to make sure that there is a definite "neck" as the "snow" spreads and puffs up to the point where a snowman could look just like a big blog.  Make sure students have written their name in the corner.

You don't want to use colored tag board, because when it gets wet it bleeds. If I remember correctly I used 4 cans of shaving cream for my Y5's.  I had 2 classes, so this was about 35-40 students.  It's always a good idea to have 1 or 2 extra cans just in case.

You can always use it for tabletop fun.  I also had a gallon-sized container of Elmer's, so I didn't go through a bunch of smaller glue bottles.  Use equal parts of shaving cream and glue.

I collected a large tub of  pieces and parts to decorate the snowmen via a note home making a request,  searching my house, taking apart jewelry and going junking.

Put several scoops of “stuff” in paper bowls and set 2 on each table. Give students 5-10 minutes to pick out 2 eyes, 1 nose, something for a mouth and 3-5 items for their snowman's buttons.

It’s very important to have children design their snowman BEFORE you give them a dollop of shaving cream, because they need to work rather quickly spreading their “snow” with a Popsicle stick.

It’s helpful if they arrange their parts on the side, so that they don’t forget what they chose for each feature.  Children get so excited when they get the “snow-goop” that they sometimes forgot and this really helped.  Also remind them to stay INSIDE the lines as one of my kiddo's was having so much fun "frosting" that he frosted the entire piece of tag board instead of just the snowman

I also did the shaving cream board, discussed above, a day or two before.  This really helped to avoid children's curiosity of how shaving cream felt, so they got down to the business of creating a snowman, instead of getting off task and simply playing with the shaving cream

Mix up a huge bowl of “fluff” and use a wooden spoon to give each student enough dollops so they can “frost” their snowman.  I also demonstrate how this is done.  When they are satisfied with the results, they gently plop their decorative pieces in the appropriate places.

Remember to remove the bowls of decorations before you give students the frosting, to avoid children taking more and putting it all over their snowman, or it won't look like a snowman

After they have completed decorating, set aside in a designated "keep out!" drying area.

Again, you will need at least 24-48 hours of dry time.  Because of that, I always did shaving cream art on a Friday.

When you return to school they should have dried and really “puffed” up!  They look simply amazing!   Click on the link to view/download the Shaving Cream Snowman “craftivity.”

I hope you have a delightful time with these ideas.  If you take pictures, I'd LOVE to hear from you and see your "mess-terpieces!" diane@teachwithme.com

If you run into a Grinch that says: "You can't do that!" or "Shaving cream's not allowed in our school." I recommend reading Lisa Murphey's Ooey Gooey article. It's a humorous read, chock full of lots of factual information you can arm yourself with.

Want more shaving cream ideas?  My kiddo's made a puffy apple in September; a plump pumpkin in October, the snowman in January and a cloud in April.

I tinted the shaving cream with powdered tempera.  I've also used liquid paint, and added more glue and shaving cream, so it didn't get soupy.  You could also drip some drops of food coloring in, but I don't think the colors come out as vibrant.  A heart for Valentine's Day would be fun as would a shamrock for St. Patty's Day.  Oh the ideas are endless!

Jean, over at the The Artful Parent has collected 67 other shaving cream projects and lists the links in her blog article: Shaving Cream for Art, Play and Learning.

Every Day Life has still more ideas including a shaving cream experiment.

No Time For Flashcards lists 11 more shaving cream projects, and Wiki How has a tutorial on how to make this pretty marbled-rainbow paper using shaving cream and food coloring!

Thanks for visiting today.  Feel free to PIN away.  To check out all of the creative-educational things I spend way too much time pinning, click on the big heart to the right of the blog.

I have lots of winter boards.  I blog and design daily, so I hope you can pop by tomorrow for even more FREEBIES.

"If you don't mind smelling like peanut butter for several days, peanut butter makes good shaving cream!" -Barry Goldwater

## Classroom Christmas Party Games and Activities

1-2-3 Come Plan A Christmas Party With Me

The day before any vacation can be pretty wild, as children are bound to be filled with lots of energy.  Their excitement for the season finds some of them not sleeping well, so you have cranky pants to deal with too.

Because of this, I planned all sorts of educational games and especially fun activities for the last day before Christmas break.  Our official "party" was "supposed" to take place at the end of the day.  Let's face it, when it's Halloween or Christmas time, the entire day might as well be a "party" and by the time the "end of the day" rolled around, my Y5's were also pretty much done and tired as well.

Wearing my Santa hat and jingle bell necklace, I told my students that we'd be doing extra special lessons, games, crafts etc as part of our "party" and that we'd be having a great time all day, ending quietly with our gift book exchange and snack.  I never once had a child say: "When is the party going to start?"  They were also happily focused, busy learning all day, just in a different way.

Behavior was wonderful, because they got the chance to get the wiggles out throughout the day. Gross motor activities were a part of our report card standards, so even our dancing and prancing around was legit.  To keep children calm, I also played soothing Christmas music throughout the day.

I've compiled a list with brief explanations, of all of my favorite classroom Christmas games that I've played with my students over the years.  They are quick, easy, educational and fun.  Most of them require little or no preparation.  (Woo hoo!) I ho-ho- hope you find something that will fit in perfectly for your party day.    It's so important to give students brain breaks to keep them refreshed.  Click on the link to view/download the Christmas Games packet which includes 36 games!

I've up-dated the packet to include stationery for students to write how many words they can think of using the letters in Merry Christmas.

Give students 5-10 minutes to work on this individually, then have them work in groups of 3 or 4 to combine their lists.  Remind children that they can make more words by adding an s or es to make plurals.  (A teachable moment.)  Contractions are another option, or ask students how many of their classmates' names can be made with those letters.

What team had the most?  Put my list on an overhead; did they think of words that weren’t on my list?  Have them guess-timate how many words are on the list and then have them count them to see who has the closest guess. (I thought of 657!)

Make a copy of the list and have students circle all of the words that they don’t know.  For whatever time remains, challenge them to look up  as many words as they can and then share one or two with the class.

Here are a few other table top lessons you could plug in to cover standards in a game-type fashion; also, any of the winter alphabet cards that I've been posting, would work well.  All those letter packets include a 3-page tip list of ideas, including games to play.

If you're set for party day, but want something for that busy first day when you return after break, any of these snowman themed activities would also work.

This snowman matching game is a lot of fun and reinforces numbers, number words, counting and tally marks.  It also includes a keepsake "craftivity."  Click on the link to view/download the Snowman Number Puzzles.

Help reinforce upper and lowercase letters + numbers from 1-20 with an "I Spy" game.  Teen numbers are sometimes toughies for little ones.  Practicing with an "I Spy" game makes it more interesting.  My Y5's enjoyed playing "I Spy" daily. It was a fun way for them to practice, as well as a quick and easy way for me to whole-group assess.

Teacher starts by calling out a number or letter; students trace it and then raise their hand when they are done.  I could tell at a glance who was having difficulty. Play continued with different children taking a turn to choose the number or letter for classmates to find.

The worksheet served double-duty, as I'd tell my students to take it home to play again with a family member, this time circling the letter/number.  Click on the link to view/download the Snow Spy packet.

Finally, students catch on fast to the concept of small-medium and large, as well as the difference between a 2D and 3D shape, when they can do a hands-on craftivity.

This was the reason behind  "Snowman Melt"  "My snowman was 3 snowballs, 3 spheres with a hat, now he's melted into 3 circles that are flat!"  Click on the link to view/download it.

For more games and activities click on the link to visit Miss Mary's Victorian and Vintage archive.

If you're looking for some online Christmas games for your kiddo's to play as a computer center,  I found a site that lists over 1,000.

Make sure you play any online games first to make sure that they are age and content-appropriate for your kiddo & educations.

For more ideas and FREEBIES, check out my winter Pinterest boards.  They are themed and filled with lots of creative fun.  I spend a lot of time searching the web for interesting and educational FREE stuff, so you don't have to.  You can also click on this December link to pop on over to that section of TeachWithMe.

Once there, you'll find categories for the following: Christmas, Elves, Gingerbread, Ornaments, Reindeer, Santa, Snowmen, Snowflakes & Wreaths.  Lots of these activities would also be terrific for your last day or Classroom Christmas party, particularly the ornament section if you're looking for a quick craft to do as a center.

That's it for today.  I hope you found some "We're Winding Down" tips and FREEBIES for those last few days before you can collapse, rest, rejoice and get energized for next year!   Feel free to PIN away.

"A good conscience is a continual Christmas." -Benjamin Franklin

## Winter Craftivities

1-2-3 Come Do Some Winter Crafts With Me

Out of all of the items I post, it seems that the crafty activities are downloaded and pinned the most. I’m so glad!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing hands-on art with children.

You really can make some time for it if you turn the craftivities into an independent center, where standards can be reviewed and reinforced + they are excellent fine motor practice as well.

These independent centers are a great motivational tool to get kids to focus and stay on task, as you reward those who do a good job finishing by allowing them to transition to a crafty center, when they have completed their work.

I know the day is packed, but perhaps if you ban together with the other teachers in your grade level, you can make a 1-hour block for a craft exchange.  This is especially fun for the last day of school before break.  Even older students really enjoy this.  When I taught 1st and 2nd grade we did 4-fifteen-minute craft exchanges and allowed 2-3 minutes to transition.

Each teacher thought of a 15-minute quickie craft activity and supplied all of the materials.  We’d start with our own class and then rotate through to the next 3.  If “craftivities” needed to dry, we’d set them in a line in the hallway. Each teacher had their own section.

We tried to think of things that students could do independently, without a whole lot of explanation.  We often included items that children could give as a gift.   When everyone had rotated through the rooms, students could wrap their items in tissue and then read some Christmas books.

I’ve included some of my all-time favorite winter crafts in the blog today, and hope you find something to interest you and your kiddo’s.  I gave up on asking parents for empty cans, toilet paper tubes or whatever recycled item I needed.  It was simply much easier to save them myself and toss them into labeled waste baskets that I kept in my basement.

I also had a special can opener that I bought from Magic Chef that seamed the top of the can in such a way that there were no sharp edges for a child to get cut on.  The Tin Can Snowman was a huge hit with my Y5’s.

If you don’t want to mess with painting, have students wrap the cans with paper or white & black Duct tape.  They have all sorts of colors available at craft stores now.  I cut the hat brims out of foam, but you could also use black construction paper for them as well.  Don’t forget to take a moment to reinforce circles and the 3D-cylinder shape with your students (A standard covered! Woo hoo).  Click on the link for the Tin Can Snowman.

Another way to review the cylinder shape is by making  Silas, the Cylinder Windsock.
Students decorate the flat surface; glue a black strip to the top to make the hat and then gently roll the paper to make a cylinder.

Staple them at the top, in the middle and on the bottom.  Punch a hole on either side and make a yarn tie.  These look awesome displayed from the ceiling.  Click on the link to view/download the Cylinder Snowman Windsock,which can be found in the Winter Art & Activities Packet.

You'll also find this 3D snowman dangler, as well as the Doilie Dan Snowman.

He reinforces a variety of standards, including small-medium and large.

I did this as a whole group activity to assess listening and following directions, which also reinforced ordinal numbers (1st do this, 2nd this etc.)

Spatial directions were also included. (Place this above, under, to the left etc.)  Completed projects made a wonderful assessment tool, as parents asked their child the questions that were on the snowman's tummy.

Winter Art & Activities was one of the first packets that I put together several years ago, before I had all of the fonts and software programs that I use today, but I think the simple hand drawn patterns are easy to follow.

Besides snowmen, I've included penguin and mitten crafts as well.  Click on the link for this whopping 118-page packet filled with all sorts of fun. Winter Art & Actiities packet

One of my students' favorites was Charlie the paint stick snowman. He dangles from the doorknob.

Sample in hand, I’d go to a paint store or home-depot sort of place, show Charlie, explain it was for a kindergarten Christmas craft, and could I buy 20 paint stirrers.

For 11 years no one asked me to pay, and they all thought Charlie was adorable.  If you'd like to make a matching ornament, simply use an extra large Popsicle stick.  Click on the link to view/download the Paint Stick Snowman.

“Snowy.”  is my all-time favorite.  What home doesn’t have a pile of socks missing a mate?  Send a note home asking parents if they’ll donate them to your class.  Cut the toes off, tie the tops with a bit of yarn, flip up the “cuff” and tadah you have an adorable hat.

You’ll need some white tube socks as well.  These need to be the kind that are straight with no heel.

I turn them inside out so they have a nice scruffy look.  A scrap of flannel with the ends frayed makes the perfect scarf.

You can also use ribbon (plaid is a personal favorite) Adjust how tight you tie on the scarf so it  “sections” the body.  Wiggle eyes, buttons and a wooden heart all add to the cuteness factor.  I stuffed Snowy with pillow batting.  You can buy it by the bag at most fabric stores.  Click on the link for all of the directions to make this sweet sock snowman.

Finally, Snowman Prints is one of those keepsake  "Awww-dorable" craftivities that parents so enjoy.  This is not my original idea.  I've seen it all over Pinterest on glass ornaments, and wanted to make this safe and inexpensive for a teacher to do with her class, so I designed one using construction paper and added an aluminum foil top.

Sometimes, parents fail to realize that some of the art work,  especially this one, was made from their child's hand, so I wrote a poem to accompany this keepsake.

I guess it did the trick because one mom said: "I loved Conrad's ornament and didn't even know it was his hand print 'til I read the poem.  Now I love it even more!"

I think they turned out super-cute and my kiddo's really enjoyed making them.  I experiemented with red and green construction paper, but think the blue background turned out the best. Click on the link to get the patterns for the Snowman Print Ornament.

Thanks for visiting today.  I hope you can stop by tomorrow, as I will be posting lots more helpful FREEBIES. Feel free to PIN away.

"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store." -Dr. Seuss from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

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