Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The All-singing All-dancing Christmaspalooza Resource Hamper (2)

The All-singing All-dancing Christmaspalooza Resource Hamper (2)  
by Susan Stephenson,

This week at The Book Chook is dedicated to bringing you some ideas for Christmas-themed activities to try with your kids and students. On Monday, I brought you The All-singing All-dancing Christmaspalooza Resource Hamper(1). Here are more fun, educational ideas and activities to use over the coming weeks. (Disclaimer: I make no claims as to the suitability of these resources for your kids! Please exert supervision for any websites children use.)

* Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to commit random acts of kindness. Be on the alert for kind things you can do as a family or class. Here's a cute video clip at Vimeo that would make a good lead-up to a discussion on helping others. It's about how giving makes us feel good.

* Try this fun Rudolph music card with your kids. It's a Flash animation where kids need to press the reindeer noses to play one of 3 Christmas songs. They'll also be developing their mouse skills and thinking fast.

* Have you thought about getting your kids to send digital greeting cards? Larry Ferlazzo, the Santa of great websites himself, lists several online places where we can create and send digital Christmas cards.

* I promised "all-dancing" in the post title. Here's a cute Dancing Christmas Tree on YouTube that kids can sing and dance along with.

And if you'd like your kids to learn a reasonably simple circle dance, here's one set to the tune of Jingle Bells.

* It would't be The Book Chook without a comic, now would it? Making a cartoon, drawing a picture or writing a Christmas poem and presenting it with comic software means our kids are involved in creating something for others AND doing something educational as well. I'll bet you know lots of people who would rather have a child-created cartoon than a generic Christmas card! Here are some Comic Editors we can use to bring Christmas cheer: ToonDoo has some Santas under Unusuals in Characters. I made Santa Troubles, below, at ToonDoo. Creaza has a nativity world, a wonderful way for kids to tell the true story of Christmas. Disney Prep and Landing has lots of Christmas bling which you can read about in Prepare for Christmas with Disney Prep and Landing Comic Creator.

* There are plenty of Christmas-themed games online. One I liked for very young kids is Where's Rudolph, from Primary Games. Basically, kids need to click on different places in a scene and are told if they are getting warmer or colder about finding the reindeer. Hide and Sock is another of their offerings suitable for littlies who can use a mouse. has lots of games, activities and stories, and is well worth a look with your 4- 8 year-old kids. Develop children's beginning keyboard skills in CBeebies' Santa's Little Helper. Older children might enjoy Christmas Tree Light Up from Novel Games where they need to "light up the tree by rotating the wires and light bulbs, so that all of them can be connected to the electrical source." It's tricky!

* If you're looking for some "real life" silly games to play with your kids, you might like to read Two Silly Book Chook Games. I also really like the sound of this Tape Ball game described on I'm a Cub Master …NOW WHAT? It's a fun variation of pass the parcel and sounds a perfect Christmas party game.

* Innovate on a Christmas song or story and invent your own new version. The 12 Days of Christmas is an easy one to use. You could get inspiration from The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas, or have kids think of some crazy or unusual things they would send a true love. Try making up new words for Tannenbaum: e.g. "Oh Christmas Pud, Oh Christmas Pud, How very full you leave me…" or Christmasify a different song: "Twinkle, twinkle Christmas lights, Light up streets December nights…"

* The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is a wonderful book to share with kids. It has a website with games, recipes and activities that would make a great follow-up to the book.

* Explore a story in English and Jamaican in Anancy and the Christmas Plant at CBeebies.

* Here's a nice variation on Twas the Night Before Christmas. HarperCollins has a page dedicated to Pete the Cat where you can listen to Pete the Cat Saves Christmas as an mp3. If you don't know Pete the Cat, check out this video that introduces Pete's I Love My White Shoes song.

* On Monday, I told you about a great printable nativity set. Here's a different nativity set, this time made from wooden peg dolls. There are directions and a printable backdrop. Wouldn't that make a perfect holiday project? And here's a much more complicated one from DesignDazzle.

* Following directions together is a great way to be literate! Why not put those LEGO Christmas gifts to good use and follow directions to build new or different models. Let's Build it is a website that has truckloads of LEGO directions. If you have an iPad or iPhone, there's also an app with instructions. Follow this up with helping your kids create a LEGO comic at Hero Factory or Pharaoh's Quest. Read more in LEGO Literacy.

* Follow the directions at Red Ted Art to make these very cute gum nut elves. (Image used with permission.)

* Other great websites to follow directions, and where kids can learn some science by building toys are Toys from Trash, and Science Toy Maker. Recently, I discovered, a wonderful website where kids can take on challenges to acquire all sorts of skills, like paper crafting, animation, zoology.

* Work out your own directions just from the picture on this blog. Scroll down to see Elf Yourself, an activity that combines photos and construction paper to turn kids into Christmas elves. Maybe you and your kids could share the directions for this activity as a video or some other kind of presentation, or just tell some friends about it. Ask kids to imagine, draw and write about themselves as elves. Here's a template to get you started.

* If you're looking for more Christmas craft ideas, try Christmas origami. And for a megaload of craft activities to do with kids, check out Sassy Sites: 400 Christmas Crafts for Kids.

* Now for a Book Chook Challenge: How many Christmassy words can kids make from plastic letters or letter blocks? How about from LEGO bricks or tangram pieces? Use an online timer or a stopwatch to discover how many words kids can type or write with a Christmas theme within a certain time.

* December can be really hot in Australia. If it's too hot to go outside, and kids want some screen time, why not make digital books together? One way to start this is to browse clipart collections. When kids find an image they like, show them how to save it to the computer. Use software to add the image to a document e.g. Word, Pages or Comic Life. Then help your child work out a caption to go with the image. Repeat. You could also do this with one of the comic editors online. Browsing and playing with words and images is lots of fun, but that doesn't mean there aren't lots of opportunities for learning to take place. If you need a theme, you could try something simple like an alphabet book or cumulative story. Find out more about caption writing in Writing Fun for Kids - Create a Caption.

I made the little story below with LEGO clipart from Clker that I popped into Comic Life.

* Here are some places I like for the interesting and free-to-use Christmas clipart they offer:

Public Domain Christmas clip art from Karen's Whimsy
Public Domain Santa clipart from Karen's Whimsy 1 and 2
Public Domain Nativity clipart from Karen's Whimsy
Christmas clipart from The Graphics Fairy Doll Collecting Vintage clipart
Search Clker Christmas clipart, my number one site for free clipart of any kind.
My Cute Graphics has some adorable free Christmas clip art in the collection. Be sure to read the Terms of Use (free for personal and educational, attribution requested) which seem to me very generous. The reindeer and penguin below come from My Cute Graphics.

* Here's Away in a Manger at Watch Know Learn. There's a piano playing the tune, and the lyrics are on the screen.

On Friday, I'll bring you more delights in The All-singing All-dancing Christmaspalooza Resource Hamper (3).

If you've enjoyed this post, or any others at The Book Chook, I'd love you to help me spread my literacy, learning and literature ideas by promoting via Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, StumbleUpon, G+ or any other way you decide.

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