Extending Holiday Fun with Books

  • December 4, 2014
  • Tera Rowland

holiday-books-reading-classroom-activityThe holiday season is here, and kids of all ages love to get into the spirit. December is a wonderful time to talk about different celebrations that take place like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more. Holidays allow kids to talk about their family customs and more. As children talk about special items that they do with their families, it helps to increase their conversational language skills, boost their confidence, and add more seasonal vocabulary to the mix.

A Bonanza of Holiday Books

Books are a great ice breaker to start sessions about the holidays and will often assist you when planning additional meetings. There is a bounty of books available on different age levels about various winter holidays. Select books that are sensitive to the beliefs of the children that you work with and their customs. It is great to share different holiday celebrations, but they need to be done carefully. In addition to stories about holidays, toss in tales about snow, sledding, gingerbread people, and other winter topics.

Some book suggestions about holidays and winter that work well with different age groups are:

  • The Great Reindeer Rebellion by Lisa Trumbauer – Santa’s reindeer have gone on strike and he has to find animals to replace them.
  • Gingerbread Friend by Jan Brett – Follow along with the adventures of the Gingerbread Baby.
  • K is for Kwanzaa: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book by Juwanda G. Ford – Book that shares history and symbols of the Kwanzaa celebration.
  • The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing – Watch as a family gets ready and then celebrates the eight nights of the Festival of Lights.
  • Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London – Humorous book that will actively engage children into getting dressed to play out in the cold. Fun sounds will add to the engagement and practice repetition.
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett – Seasonal favorite that you can reenact with puppets or a craft related to the book. Also introduces winter animals.

Ask families if there are books that they would like to share that are special to them. Embrace the different cultures and share folk tales or other stories that may be important to where they come from.

Beyond Telling the Story

After reading stories, completing a book walk think outside of the box to extend the fun and focus on skills. You can create games based on speech and language goals. Check and see if books may have websites by the author, illustrator, or publisher with resources for extension activities. Also head to Pinterest for more ideas to make a craft that and also look on YouTube for book readings, songs, or other audio and visual options. Kids will also appreciate comparing their own holiday celebrations to the ones that the characters within the pages have. Expand on this and encourage everyone to be proud of their heritage and identity.


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