ABC Your Way to Christmas! Would you like to teach your children to give to others, think about the true meaning of Christmas, enjoy nature, be thankful for all they have in their lives, bond with others and to love reading and writing this holiday season? Then I have a perfect project for you! I’ve created my version of an Advent calendar with a literacy twist! For 26 days, beginning on November 29th, we will read 26 holiday books and do 26 family building activities that piggy-back off each book. And, you can join us! Here’s how it works.
First, create a chart with 28 boxes. In the first box, write “ABC Our Way to Christmas”. In the upper left corner of the next 26 boxes, write each letter of the alphabet. In the last box, draw a Christmas tree or some other symbol of the season. At the end of each day, you will have your child write or draw about the book and activity that you did as a family that day in the corresponding box. You will use this chart to visually document how close you are getting to Christmas. You will also be creating a memory keeper of a cherished family activity. Find a prominent spot in the house to hang your chart. You will be starting with the letter A on November 29th.
Now, you need to gather your books, ABC to Christmas Message Cards A-M, and materials for each activity. I’m going to share details about the books and activities for the letters A-M this week. Next week, I’ll share N-Z.
You will place a message card (see below for details) in each book and then wrap each one. On November 29th, your child will open the book that corresponds to the letter A. On November 30th, the letter B and so on. Each day as a family, you will read a new book and the message included inside. Every message has a fun and meaningful family activity to complete.
Let’s get started!
A is for alike, look-alikes that is.
Book: Look-Alikes Christmas by Steiner
Activity: Gather some things from around the house and recreate a Christmas scene on a shelf in your house for the season.
Materials needed: miscellaneous items from around the house
B is book, book turned movie and butterscotch hot chocolate.
Book: The Polar Express by Van Alsburg
Materials needed: The Polar Express movie, hot chocolate ingredients
C is cookies and Christmas carols.
Book: Christmas Cookies by Krause Rosenthal
Activity: While listening to some carols, look through magazines, cookbooks and the internet to decide what cookies to make this year for the neighbors. Need more cookie inspiration? Head over to my “Me Want Cookies” pinterest board.
Materials needed: Christmas music (try Pandora for free), magazines, cookbooks and/or the internet for recipes, paper and a writing utensil for creating your list
D is for doggy treats.
Book: What Dogs Want for Christmas by Radzinski
Activity: Make some no-bake treats for your four-legged friends. If you don’t have a dog of your own, you could make them to give to the neighbor’s dog.
Materials needed: doggy treat ingredients and a container for storing and giving
E is for evergreen trees.
Book: The Carpenter’s Gift by Rubel
Activity: Plant an evergreen tree in your yard. Visit a local nursery and pick out an evergreen that would be perfect for your yard. If purchasing an evergreen isn’t feasible, you could always prune and admire one you have in your yard or neighborhood. Maybe, you could leave a little treat (torn bread) for the birds around the tree.
Materials needed: evergreen shrub or tree, planting utensils
F is for foster children.
Book: Welcome Comfort by Polacco
Activity: Make Christmas a little brighter for a foster child. Purchase a present and donate it to a child in foster care. Don’t forget to make a homemade card to go with the gift.
Materials needed: gift, wrapping paper, name and address of a foster agency
G is for get well cards.
Book: Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Litwin and Dean
Activity: Santa became sick in Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. There are lots of people who are sick right now. Make some get well cards to give to people who are in the hospital.
Materials needed: construction paper, art materials such as markers, crayons and holiday stickers, address of a local hospital
H is Ho! Ho! Ho!
Book: When Santa Lost His Ho, Ho, Ho by Rader
Activity: Write some silly jokes that you think would make Santa laugh.
Materials needed: lots of imagination, paper and pen or pencil
I is interesting.
Book: 12 Days of Christmas by Isadora
Activity: Create interesting art sculptures in your yard with colored ice blocks.
Materials needed: various containers that can go in the freezer, water, food coloring
J is for joy.
Book: Santa’s Book of Names by McPhail
Activity: Spread the joy of reading. Go through the house and find two books that you no longer read and that you think someone else might enjoy. Donate them.
Materials needed: old books you no longer read, list of charities that accept books
K is for kindness.
Book: Emily’s Christmas Gifts by Post Senning
Activity: In Emily’s Christmas, she learns about manners and magic words. It’s important to be kind and friendly. Try extra hard to be kind to all those that you meet today. At dinner share what you noticed about the day.
Materials needed: none
L is for letters.
Book: The Jolly Christmas Postman by Ahlberg
Activity: Write a letter to Santa and mail it. Remember to list all of the good choices that you have made this year along with a special item you would really like from Santa.
Materials needed: paper, envelope, writing utensil and Santa’s address
M is for making ornaments.
Book: Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Barry
Activity: Just like in Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, don’t let anything go to waste. Make ornaments from your recycling bin.
Materials needed: recycled items such as cardboard, milk carton caps, newspaper, etc., glue, tape and markers or crayons
Ready for ideas for the letters N-Z. Head to ABC Your Way to Christmas (Part 2)! Have a wonderful time building wonderful memories with your family and nurturing their literacy development!
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