Lesson Ideas and Activities
Last Activities to Teach your Pupils about Christmas
Inclusive Craft Activities To Celebrate And Learn About Christmas:
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organisation's success.” www.diverseeducators.co.uk
Whereas the Department for Children, Schools and Families (2010) states “RE is an important curriculum subject. It is important in its own right and also makes a unique contribution to the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of pupils and supports wider community cohesion. The Government is keen to ensure all pupils receive high-quality RE.”
Inclusion in school education in both faith and multi-faith schools, should therefore be practiced all year round and not just for Christmas! All children must learn about different religions and faiths in a fun and inclusive way. Inclusion should include understanding and reflection about other people's faiths and beliefs.
With inclusivity in mind and the Christmas season being upon us, read below to find three Christmas activities from craft activities to rainy day activities where all children can be included whatever their faith or learning capabilities.
A special day to celebrate in our lives:
A lovely Christmas activity and a way to get all children involved in Christmas is to ask children about a special day in their lives that they have experienced. A big hint could be that this special day happens once a year for every one of them… their birthday! Talk to the children about what they like about their birthday, what they do with their families on their birthday, and what special moments they remember, igniting fond memories to share with their peers.
Photo Credit- CANVA
Ask the children what a celebration is. What celebrations have they experienced? Using a birthday cake put a candle in it for every answer given. Ask the children what makes a memorable birthday party. How does it make them feel?
Make the association that birthdays remember something important that happened in the past, but we still celebrate it every year through festivities such as parties, family and friends coming together, food, games, music, etc.
Link birthdays and religious festivals together and speak to the children about what fun festivals they celebrate at home: Diwali, Eid, Easter, and Hanukkah.
Photo Credit- CANVA
Mention to the children that the Jewish festival of Hanukkah is always close to Christmas in December and is a festival that lasts for 8 days based on historical stories and is a family-orientated celebration like Christmas.
Finally, remind the children that the Christian festival of Christmas remembers a birthday too. The birth of Jesus.
Ask the children who does and doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Then ask the children what they know about the story of Christmas and why it is an important Christian festival. Link it to the birth of Jesus and why he was so special, who came to visit him, and why?
Next, ask the children how Christians celebrate Christmas day. What do they do each year to celebrate? What are the main features of Christmas for those children who celebrate? E.g. Sending Christmas cards, singing and playing Christmas music, going to a Christmas panto, celebrating with family and friends, and hopefully, they will all say eating a Christmas dinner!
Photo Credit- CANVA
A fun inclusive Christmas crafts activity for all children to do is to design a plate of their favourite festive foods. Creativity is key, children can choose to use the mediums of drawing, painting, or collaging to design their desired festive meal on paper plates. Look to see if children of different faiths have the same foods and discuss the similarities and differences with the children.
A great inclusive resource is Pentagon Plays Stack and Sit with Art Easel Package 3 (featuring 4 stools, 2 Benches, and an Art Easel). There are multiple configurations to make with this package but for an inclusive Christmas crafts lesson stack the whiteboard and chalkboard on top of the benches to create a low-level table for pupils to work at. Use the stools as seats around the table or if preferred remove the cushions and let the children kneel at the table. The tops of the stools can then be used as little tables for children to use to create their art work on, allowing an inclusive creative space for all to join in, the perfect solution for Christmas craft activities!
Christmas Remembrance Game:
An old favourite for remembering objects is the tray remembrance game and a perfect rainy-day activity! This is a lovely way to get all children of different faiths involved in learning about Christmas and the Christmas story – looking at key objects that form the Christmas story. Simply get a tray, a tea towel and around 10 objects that can be related to Christmas such as:
A donkey figure
A baby doll
A toy sheep
A Santa hat
A Christmas card
A Christmas tree figure
A roast turkey figure
Ask the children why each object is related to Christmas. For children in multi-faith schools pair those children who are not Christian pair with Christian children for supported peer learning. Get them to discuss the objects together.
Photo Credit- CANVA
Having a mix of religious and festive objects will help all children talk about some parts of Christmas in their pairs. Next, get the children to categorise the objects into ones related to the Christmas story and Jesus and ones that are related to celebrating Christmas at home.
Can the children put the Christmas story objects in the right chronological order? To help children categorise the objects let them work in small groups on Pentagon’s Essential Range Group Art Easel. This 4-side Group Art Easel provides the perfect collaborative space for pupils to work together and enjoy learning. Children can work in small groups in the same environment using chalk/washable pens to note down and categorise the Christmas objects aiding communication and learning for all your pupils.
Ask the children to pick 3 to 4 objects and discuss with their partners/small groups why they think these objects symbolise Christmas to them. Ask some children to talk to the class about their chosen objects and see if the rest of the class agrees.
Photo Credit- CANVA
Finally, play the remembrance game with the children – place the tea towel over the tray and remove an object. Can the children remember which objects have been removed?
Learning Through Play About The Christmas Story:
Learning through play is an essential part of children’s learning. A lovely way of encouraging children to participate and interact with each other and learn at the same time is through role-play and is a great rainy-day activity for children to do. One of many fun Christmas activities and an inclusive way to learn about the Christmas story therefore is by setting up a nativity-based role-play area in your classroom. Pentagon’s Essentials Range – Flat – Pack – Playhouse is the perfect space for creating a nativity-based role-play area. Designed to encourage storytelling, creativity, and imaginative role play, this playhouse provides the perfect space for a stable! Just add costumes for Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Angels, Wise Men, a baby in a manger, and some toy animals e.g. a donkey, sheep, chickens, mice, cows, etc, and let the children transform into the characters and act out the Christmas Story. See how the children develop their social, personal, and emotional skills whilst they chat through their ideas and movements, inviting their peers to join in with them.
Photo Credit- CANVA
An important part of Christmas is the Christmas story and the many characters and sub-stories within it. To help the children with their role-play, show them a video of the Christmas story, asking them to try and remember all the characters they see and the events that happened. Explain to the children that the Christmas story is written in The Bible (the Christian book of teaching, like the Koran or Torah) and that the story has been adapted throughout the years…
Can the children remember the characters and order of events?
Mary and the angel
Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem
The star in the sky
Shepherds in the fields
The 3 wise men
Travelling from far away and following the star
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
Next, read the Christmas story to the children acting out the emotions of the characters along the way. How would Mary be feeling? How would the donkey be feeling after such a long walk to Bethlehem? How would Mary and Joseph be feeling when they arrived and there was nowhere to stay the night and she was about to have a baby? How did the innkeeper feel? How did the shepherds feel when an angel appeared and told them to follow the star to the new-born king? Talk about all the emotions: happy, sad, scared, tired, surprised, amazed, excited etc.
Another fun Christmas activity is to encourage the children to use the Playhouse chalkboard to note down the Christmas story, the events that happen, key characters, or emotions whilst at the same time developing their fine motor skills.
Let the children then go off to role-play and see how they transform into their characters, how they understand the story and sequence of events, how they embrace their creativity, and how they learn through play from each other.
For more information on Pentagon Plays Products, contact one of our team on 01625 890 330 or email [email protected] where one of our expert advisers will be happy to help!