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December

Holiday Fun



Happy Holidays from everyone here at Education from the heart to you! It’s finally December, and with that, we have so many fun and exciting holidays to look forward to. We've created a list of some really festive activities that are not only entertaining, but can help teach your children all about the holidays!

1. Holiday Research (School age)

For this first activity, children will research the different holidays that occur during this time of year, to learn all about them! For younger children, this is a great chance to introduce them to the concepts of holidays and traditions. This also gives you a chance to explain to them some of the history behind what's being celebrated and why.

Start by making a list of some different holidays the children recognize. Ask them questions that relate to each of the holidays. This can include subjects such as:

- "What do we do on this holiday?"

- "What do we eat on this holiday?"

- "Are there any special colors you think of when you think of this holiday?"

-"When do we celebrate this holiday/ for how long?"

When they create their list, you can then expand on it, by introducing holidays they might not recognize. For this activity, we focus on different holidays that occur during December. This includes Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.

Have your children make an additional list for the holidays you want them to research, then generate questions for them to look up the answers to. Some helpful questions can include:

-"What is this holiday about?"

-"How is this holiday celebrated?"

- "When does this holiday occur?"

- "What is the history surrounding this holiday?"

-" What are some traditions related to this holiday?"

Here are some links to a couple of awesome books about the different holidays.

Recommended books:

1. Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko

- This bright and interactive book dives into what it is like to take part in two holidays and all of their traditions and celebrations. Follow Sadie as she explores her family's Hanukkah and Christmas customs. This book includes vibrant pictures that depicts Sadie's fun and educational holiday experience.

2. Grover's Eight Nights of Light (Sesame Street) by Jodie Shepherd

- An incredible book that informs the readers all about Hanukkah. There's themes of friendship and kindness, as children follow the sesame street characters in learning and celebrating this holiday. This a simple and easy to read book that also includes stickers, cards and a very special Hanukkah game.

3. My First Kwanzaa (My First Holiday) by Karen Katz

- This a fun picture book that is incredibly helpful in teaching your young ones all about Kwanzaa. This book includes colorful illustrations from the perspective of our young character, as her family celebrates the holiday. Fun and educational traditions are explored and depicted; guaranteed to be loved by your children. Another bonus, is multiple vocabulary words, that are broken down and explained to help understand the holiday as well.

4. Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington

- Join our character Li'l Rabbit on his adventure as he is determined to have a great Kwanzaa. Your children will love this adorable story, as we follow Li'l Rabbit and learn about Kwanzaa's customs and traditions, and the meaning of family, friends, and coming together.

5. The ABC's of Christmas by Jill Howarth

- In this incredibly festive board book, we follow along the alphabet, as we learn about different items related to Christmas. Adorable illustrations helps children grasp knowledge of Christmas, as well as practicing their ABC'S.

6. The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jay Berenstain

- Young readers follow the beloved Berenstain bear family, as brother bear and sister learn an important meaning related to Christmas. This book is great, in the way that it presents the message of the importance of giving to others, especially during the holiday season.

We've also include a couple of links to some helpful websites:

1.

https://www.ducksters.com/holidays/hanukkah.php

2.

https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/hanukkah/kid-friendly-version-hanukkah-story

3.

https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/all-about-kwanzaa

4.

https://kids.kiddle.co/Kwanzaa

5.

https://kidskonnect.com/holidays-seasons/christmas/

6.

https://www.kidsplayandcreate.com/fun-interesting-christmas-facts-for-kids/

2. Candles and their meanings (preschool+)

Learn the importance of candles and all of their meanings in this activity.

  • Why do we use candles?

  • What do the candles represent?

  • What are the names for the specific candles?

Candles

There are many special traditions and customs that are related to the holidays. When teaching your children about these traditions, it can also be useful to incorporate fun activities that help teach them. This can include focusing on certain items that are used for these traditions. For this activity, children will learn all about the different candles that are used throughout the holidays.

Starting off, ask your children to identify different items that are associated with the holidays. If they are younger children, this is a great opportunity to help introduce these items. We recommend including small inexpensive replicas of the items. This can include an ornament, dreidel, an advent calendar and most importantly, candles. Discuss with your children what each item is, and how it pertains to which holiday. Ask your children questions about items they are most fond of and why. This introduction and discussion allows your children to reflect on why certain items are important to them, as well as other people and traditions.

keeping the candles as the last item to discuss. When you introduce the candles, make it a point to talk about how each holiday uses candles in some way, and that they all have a very special meaning. For our activity, we focus on Advent candles, Hanukkah candles and Kwanzaa candles. For each holiday, introduce their own respective candle(s).

If you are teaching older children, write a list of questions for them to look up answers for. The questions should surround the importance of the candles in their holidays. This can include questions such as:

“How many candles are used in this holiday?”

“Does the candles have a special name?”

“Does the candles have a special meaning?”

“Does the candles each symbolize a different subject and if so what are they?”