preschool curriculum activities Preschool  Activities
Holiday Art and Craft Activities 

Preschool children have fun, learn and create practical items with 
these holiday art and craft activities.  Here are ideas for gifts,
stenciled greeting cards, wrapping papers etc. that can be adapted for many different special occasions.

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Holiday Arts and Crafts

  • Christmas and Kwanzaa
  • Valentine's Day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Easter Theme
  • Mother's and Father's Day Theme
  • 4th of July & Flag Day
  • Halloween Theme
  • Thanksgiving Activities
  • Birthday Activity Theme

For the above holiday themes go to the Rainbow Resource Room or Scroll for other holiday activities.

ideaFunny Gift Wrap Idea
When you need an inexpensive, quick and easy gift wrap that's suitable for any occasion ask preschool children to look through the colorful comic sections of old newspapers.  Talk with them about what is happening in the pictures and encourage them to make up their own stories to fit the illustrations.  When everyone has made a choice of which sheet of paper they wish to use, let the wrapping begin.  You won't have to worry about paper tearing because there's  always more comics.

 

 Hanukkah Menorah
Pat F. assists children in celebrating the 8 nights of this winter Jewish Holidaywith this early childhood activity.

Materials: 9x12" piece of felt (royal blue works best),
9 tongue depressors painted with water color,

9 "flames" cut from yellow or orange felt large enough to glue a small piece of velcro (stiff side) on back,Cloth ribbon or cord to attach for hanging,2 unpainted wooden tongue depressors

Description: Paint 9 wooden tongue depressors then use white glue to attach sticks to the felt.  Place the stick all the way on the left a little apart from the rest (this is the helper candle that stays lit all through the week).

If additional felt is available, make a base for the sticks with the far left side a little higher. Glue a small piece of velcro to the back of each flame. Place above each stick for each night of Hanukkah. Wrap the ribbon around the end of the 2 remaining sticks & heavily glue these to the top back of the felt with ribbon coming off the top of the stick, this serves as a way to hang the felt.

Comments: The older the group the more they can do themselves.  Make sure these are ready to go home for the first night of Hanukkah.  This holiday activity can be used in conjunction with Christmas &  Kwanzaa.

 

Hanukkah Menorah Candle Holders
Pre-k and kindergarten children use fine motor skills as the model clay into Menorah candle holders during this preschool activity from Heather W.

Materials: Modeling clay, we make ours using the following recipe :

1 cup flour
1 cup salt

1 rounded tsp. alum

1/3 to ½ cup water at room temperature.
Mix dry ingredients.  Slowly add the water until you get a desirable consistency, knead until clay like, a Hanukkah candle and tempera paint.

Description: Have children make a long narrow base for the menorah.  Then shape a center "hill" on the base for the Shamash candle.  Make four holes on both sides of the base using a Hanukkah candle.  Then make one hole in the center "hill" for the Shamash candle.  Allow to dry for a few days.  Then have children paint their Menorahs.

Dreidel Snack for Hanukkah
Tina J. offers this snack idea saying, "Expose children to holidays celebrated by different people and help young children understand what a dreidel is and when and why it is played with by some children".

Materials: Pretzel sticks, marshmallows, candy kisses (at least two for each child) and peanut butter or icing.

Description: Unwrap candy kiss, place a dab of icing or peanut butter on the flat side and stick it to a marshmallow.  Press a pretzel stick into the marshmallow.  Have a real dreidel on hand to show the children and explain how it is used.  Have a plate or napkin, with each child's name at the center, and they can make this during activity time to have ready for snack. 

Comments: Children enjoy making, playing with and eating this snack.  My five year olds would eat several if we made them available.

Menorah For Hanukkah
Preschool and Kindergarten children create a Menorah out of clay.

During this craft project Terri V. talks with youngsters about the eight candles for the eight nights of Hanukkah, the ninth candle is the Shamash, the helper candle, and "Why we light one candle for every night of Hanukkah".

 Materials: Small birthday candles, pencil, clay (self hardening),
 popsicle stick or plastic knife (for older children).

 Description: Young children will work with a partner (or teacher) 
 1.  Ask the children to roll out two separate balls of clay (big enough to lay their hands on).

 2.  Children will take turns using a plastic knife or popsicle stick to carve out  each others hands. 

 3.  Overlap thumbs and press together, making nine candle holders

 4. Stand hand up by gently pressing bottom of clay hands firmly on the table.

 5.  Using a pencil, make a hole at the tip of each finger.

 6.  Place a birthday candle into each of the holes.

 7.  Let dry and seal with Modge Podge or mixture of glue and water.

Comments: This results in something a family can treasure always. 

Easy Piñata 
If you've made a Piñata before, you'll find this an easy activity. Use this craft project by Susan J. when youngsters learn about the Santa Lucia holiday.

Materials: Balloon, newspaper, liquid starch, washable paint or tissue paper  .

Description: Using liquid starch for making a Piñata works very well for little hands. Only 2 layers are needed and will dry with 24 to 48 hours.  If you use tissue paper as a third layer you will not need to paint. Fill with light weight candy and token gifts.

I have classes of 12 children and this Piñata has always been strong enough for each child to have a turn without the Piñata totally breaking.

Groundhog Mask
Barb K. and her classroom of youngsters make masks for Groundhog Day during this activity. 

Materials: Paper plates, brown crayons, string,
mouth and nose out of  construction paper.

Description:
Allow children to color the paper plate brown.  Cut out two eye shapes.  Glue the mouth and nose on the paper plate.  Tie sting to fit child's head.  Pretend that you are ground hogs.

Comments: You can act out that you see your shadows.

There is more about Groundhog's in the Hibernation Theme of the Rainbow Resource Room.

4th of July art activity  Fireworks for the Fourth of July
Help youngsters to develop color recognition and cultural awareness with this
sensory experience from Amy.

Materials: Black construction paper, colored chalk and small containers of water.

Description: Children will make colorful fireworks using the chalk.  Encouragethe children to dip the chalk into the water before drawing.  The water helps the chalk adhere to the paper better.  There is no powdery mess and the colors are more vibrant.  This is an open-ended activity so they all look very different and colorful!

Comments: Try taping the paper to the table for the little ones so it doesn't keep slipping away.  Also, only put a little water into each container. Not much is needed and this helps prevent lots of clean up due to spills.

You'll find lots of ideas for Flag Day & Memorial Day along with patriotic activities for Independence Day in the 4th of July Theme located in the Rainbow Resource Room.
 

Fourth of July Wind Sock
To introduce the colors of the flag Berina C. uses this preschool activity for Independence Day!

Materials: Red, white or blue construction paper, star stickers, colored streamers that are different from the paper, stapler and string.

Description: Ask young children to put stickers on the paper. Roll the paper and then staple to create a cylinder shape.  Next, staple streamers to the bottom of the paper and staple string to top of the wind sock.  Hang your decorations and celebrate Independence Day!
The Entire 4th of July Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.


art and craft activityMay Day Celebration
Michelle C. teaches children about different holidays celebrated by people all over the world.

Materials: Butterfly pattern, strips of construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons, basket, fresh flowers.

Description: On May Day (May 1st), explain to children exactly what May Day is. Then, have them color the butterfly pattern,  (ny special pattern is fine).  Make  sure there are 2 to 3 butterflies for each child.  Then have them cut and glue them on strips of construction paper.  Staple the paper so it becomes a headband for the child to wear.

Have a basket of fresh flowers (I called my local florist about an hour before the project and they donated some flowers on the spot, I just had to pick them up on my lunch hour.)  The children  go to each class (with their headbands on) and give each teacher a flower, or two if available.  Make sure you tell the kids to say  "Happy May Day!"

Comments: Make sure you know fully what May Day is and what it celebrates.  Most people don't know and other teachers and parents picking up their children are curious too!

Earth Day
Encourage pre-k and kindergarten youngsters to care for birds by creating this bird feeder by Jennifer F.

Materials: Milk jug, bird seed, a hole punch, a piece of rope, pencil or twigs.

Description: Use a clean milk jug with a lid cut out of a side section of the milk jug. Using a hole punch, make a hole out below the cut section of the milk jug and insert a twig or pencil into it. Insert a hole at the top of the milk jug and place the piece of rope through it. Fill it with bird seed and hang it in a tree.

Comments: Have the children keep a journal of the animals that come to visit their milk jug bird feeders.
The Bird Activity Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.

Earth Day Song     Earth Day Song
Sing this song from Donna H. to the tune of  Three Blind Mice.

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse
(Tune: "Three Blind Mice")

Reduce, recycle, reuse.
Reduce, recycle, reuse.

Now's the time to choose.
There must be no excuse.

 It's up to each one of us to do
 Our part to make the Earth clean, it's true.

 So let's work together, yes, me and you!

 

Arbor Day Bulletin Board
Parents help create this early childhood education bulletin board by Marcia F. which encourages youngsters to learn about "good deeds".

Materials: Large bulletin board tree and cut out green leaves.

Description: We talk about growing a good deed tree.  Leaves are sent home and each parent is asked to write down the good deeds each child does. The leaves are sent into school and put on the tree.  We watch the tree "bloom".

Note: National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree planting times.


Chinese New Year Celebration with Paper Lanterns

When celebrating the Chinese New Year Patty H. helps to expand the children's interest in the world and enhance their multicultural awareness.
 
Materials: Old wallpaper samples from books, stapler and child safety scissors.

Description: Use a piece of wallpaper paper approximately 8 X 11 inches. Fold in half to make the sheet 4 X 11, and draw approximately 6 equal lines up to one inch from the edge (from the middle to the open edge). Have the students cut the lines and unfold the lantern. Staple together and add a handle with the extra wallpaper. Hang around the classroom.
We also use chopsticks at snack time, have a dragon parade to the gym and look at the chinese zodiac to figure out what animal zodiac we are. We also put out black paint and bamboo brushes for the children to experiment with brush strokes. It's a great day!

Note: The Chinese New Year (2005) begins on February 9 and is the Chinese Year of the Rooster.


Chinese New Year Chinese New Year 2005
Janet promotes cultural understanding with this art project and explains to young children that during the Chinese New Year Celebration, Chinese families like to put up Chinese writing for luck and prosperity.

Materials:
Red butcher paper
Yellow paint
Elmer's glue
Glitter
Paint brush

Description: Cut red squares from the red paper. Then mix yellow tempera paint with some elmer's glue or transparent glue.
Tell children that during the Chinese New Year, Chinese people like to put up red paper with gold writing on it to bring luck to their homes. Show them a sample of chinese writing. Help youngster notice that it looks more like a picture, not letters like our alphabet. The sun is shown by a squared off O with a line horizontally drawn in the middle.
Invite children to paint something that makes them happy. Once they are done painting,
they can sprinkle glitter on the painting.
Comments: Older children be invited to paint simple symbols; a happy face, or even a word.

 

President's Week
Preschool children use small motor skills as they participate in these 2 easy activities by Mindy,

Materials: Coins, paper, outline / drawing of a log cabin, glue and colored pencils.

Description: For Presidents Week I take different coins and let the kids do pencil rubbings.  They can see the different Presidents and we discuss each President. 
I also use a drawing / picture of a log cabin and ask the children color it.  Then we cut it out and cut out the door frame.  We glue a small picture of Abe Lincoln to the inside of the door, so when the door opens you can see Abe Lincoln.

Note: In the block area add Lincoln Logs and encourage youngsters to build their own log cabin.

 

President's Day Activity
Kindergarten children use their imaginations and learn a little about history during this early childhood activity by Claire.

Materials: Large sheet of white construction paper, black marker, crayons, pencils (plain and colored), scissors (optional) and glue (optional).

Description: On the large piece of paper, write as the title 
My Kind of President's Day. Draw a flag, not colored, in the center and two large ovals (until they almost reach the edges of either side of the paper).  In the first oval, have the students cut and paste a picture of a President and write the President's name underneath it e.g.. George Washington. Then have the students color the picture and color the flag red, white & blue.

Lastly, have them draw what they would like to become when they grow older in the other oval and have them write a simple sentence about what it is they're doing in the picture.

Mardi Gras Ideas
Clarencia G. shares this idea for Mardi Gras.

Materials: Beads, sequins, buttons, straws, paper plates, glue, tape (optional),  construction paper  1. purple  2. green 3. yellow.

Description:  I just wanted to share an idea on how to make a mardi gras mask using paper plates. I know you guys really don't celebrate this holiday like the southerners, but this is my first year teaching and I love it! 

First make a mask pattern from the paper plate, just to cover the eye area. Then the children can cut or tear construction paper, sequins, beads, buttons and feathers etc. You can use a straw to hold the mask to the eye area. They really come out cute!

Rosh Hashanah
Enhance your holiday curriculum with this preschool activity by Lisa who helps youngsters learn about a Jewish custom.

Materials: Apples and honey.

Description: For a "sweet New Year" a Jewish friend of mine does this with her family and friends.  I decided to use it in the classroom.

Take an apple and slice a thin piece from the bottom so that it stands up without support.  Cut the top off and core the center out.  Fill with honey.  Slice a few more apples giving each child a slice.  Dip the slices in honey for a sweet New Year (Rosh Hashanah).

Comments: I am not Jewish and do not know a lot about this holiday, but I hope that by introducing children to the names of holiday's that are not necessarily practiced by me personally, I can improve the chances of their having tolerance to new ideas and customs in their future.

Share a preschool holiday activity or holiday art and craft idea.
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