Here are some ideas to brighten up those November days and lead into a very merry Christmas!
If like me, you are flagging a little and feeling a bit cooped up indoors here are a few ideas for cosy sessions indoors, and ones worth wrapping up for outdoors!
LITTLE ONES AND KEYSTAGE 1
- choose some simple Christmas gifts to start working on. Lavender or mixed spice bags. Old jars and bottles filled with oil and flavoured with herbs for cooking, pipe cleaner snowflakes, I like the ones on marthastewart.com
- write your Xmas list for Santa. This could be handwritten or typed and you can encourage the use of lots of media and obviously glitter! At home school you have time to practise spelling, writing a letter in the right format, addressing the envelope etc. My son hates writing but zipped through this task in no time, writing it all himself because it was to Santa!!
- create your own advent calendar. There are some really alternative versions to make out there, for example string a line across your kitchen and hang old but colourful socks up for each day, making the numbers to go on them, or buy cute baby socks and do likewise. Fill with a sweet for each day or make or find some very small gifts like a beautiful pebble from the seaside or a handrawn picture or bookmark, or a satsuma! I find that some form of visual countdown is a must to avoid the “how long is it until …” questions that will otherwise constantly interrupt your teaching time.
- thread popcorn or cranberries to make chain decorations for the tree when it goes up or to hang around the fireplace
- look at animals who hibernate and make 3D pictures of them, or complete a visual science or art project
- have a winter treasure hunt in a local park or even the back garden, see my next post, or depending on where you live a wood or forest can be extra magical
KEYSTAGE 2 AND OLDER.
- plant your own small xmas tree and make tiny decorations to go on it. These might be handdrawn and laminated the first year, as it is hard to find really tiny decorations! My son’s teacher gave one to every pupil in Year 3 and we still have it, re -potted several times, now. Every year we find bigger decorations and it is a good craft and social ed project. It reminds us of times and people past, changes and transitions.
- make some winter crafts or early gifts for xmas which you can complete over several sessions whilst enjoying a cup of hot chocolate! I got lots of lovely ideas from hobbycraft.co.uk, christmaswow.com – great food, netmums.com and marthastewart.com. Make a driftwood Christmas Tree, pompom animals, snow globes etc
- learn to knit or crochet
- make hot chocolate like the Aztecs, (history) a hearty winter soup or a healthy smoothy (science and creative arts)
- make bird feeders and look after the winter animals in the garden or nearby. Love the various homemade feeders on pinterest.com, and one for small spaces on inhabitat.com
- as the nights are drawing in, find a friend with a good telescope and wrap up to go star gazing
- take a trip to somewhere new by train or bus. Your child must check out timetables, fares, and ensure that you can get back at the right time. Then they should pack a backpack with everything that you will need and negotiate finding and paying for the transportation. This is great for our kids who need to build confidence going out and social skills, as well as doing some maths and geography. Choose somewhere with an interesting setting or history to study when you get there or good museum. Better still you can see some different Christmas lights and enjoy a mince pie while you are there!
Have a wonderful winter warm up!