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There are so many fun things to do this time of year. Places to go, people to see, festivities to share in. During those few moments when you are not running around, the perfect thing to do is to cuddle up and relax with your family in the warmth of your home. Why not pick up a good book and read it with your family? There are so many wonderful Christmas books that you can share with your children—looking to expand the reading experience? See below for some fun activities to accompany some favorite holiday reads!
Christmas Books & Activities
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro
Synopsis: You won’t believe what happens when this old lady swallows a bell, some bows, some gifts, a sack, a sleigh and even some reindeer!
Activity: Have kids collect small Christmas items from around the house, such as small, non-breakable ornaments, stuffed animals, candy canes, or non-breakable decorations. Make sure they keep them hidden from you. Retell the story, but stop when you mention the first thing that the old lady swallows. Have the child take out one of his secret items and show you. Use that item in the story as the item the lady swallows. The children will think it is hilarious to “create” the outcome of the story. You can repeat this activity as often as the kids want to run around and collect items for the old lady to swallow!
Merry Christmas Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
Synopsis: Readers will love this funny tale of a little boy with a lot of questions about Santa’s impending arrival!
Activity: Discuss with your little one about Santa’s arrival and all the excitement it brings. Create a “Santa Emergency Kit” of your own that Santa can use if he needs it. Parents will enjoy hearing the things that the kids might come up with!
The Grinch That Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Synopsis: The town of Who-Ville gets a visit from an unwanted guest, but will the Christmas spirit get the best of a Grinch without a heart? Find out in this wonderfully written book by an all-time favorite author.
Activity: ~ Check out this great idea for a Grinch Bath! Kids can have fun playing and splashing around while listening to you read the story!
~ Bake grinchy cupcakes and enjoy a snack while reading together.
~ Make a large Grinch cut-out and tape it to a wall or door. Cut many individual red hearts and set them aside. Read the story to the children and tell them that they all need to fill up the Grinch with hearts. Every time your child does something kind during this season, they can write it on the heart and tape it on the Grinch. Your goal is to fill the Grinch up with kindness before Christmas Eve, so he changes his mind about ruining Christmas!
Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner
Synopsis: Have you ever wondered about the secret life of a snowman? This book brings to life all the hilarious and unexpected things your snowman might do at night. A wonderful, fun, and imaginative read for the whole family.
~Play the SNOWMAN AT NIGHT GAME: Have the kids all stand in a row. Go through them one by one and “arrange” them into the snowman you want them to be (arms up, tongue sticking out, smiling, etc.). Then say really loud, “ok, good night!” and turn around. The kids need to wiggle and move around as much as possible, but by the time you turn around again, they can
be in a different style, but they have to be perfectly still. Anyone moving has “melted.” Continue playing until all but one snowman has “melted.”
~ Make snowman soup: Version 1: Take soft vanilla ice cream and put it in an individual bowl for your child. Have them stir it and stir it until it is soupy and creamy. Hand out chocolate chips and some orange M&M’s and have them decorate the soup’s top to look like a snowman face. Melted snowman soup! Version 2: Make hot cocoa and give them marshmallows, a candy cane to stir, and a few Hershey’s kisses (some kisses from the snowman to the child) and have them enjoy some snowman soup!
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Synopsis: A true classic of the Christmas season. Follow the journey of a little boy who takes an enchanting train ride on Christmas Eve and finds out about the magic of Christmas…to all those who believe.
Activity: Send children to bed, but leave a golden ticket made out of construction paper on their bed. Leave a note instructing them to go downstairs to catch the “Polar Express.” Have the kitchen chairs set up in a train like a pattern and have cups of hot cocoa ready. Play and pretend that you are on a train ride, serve hot cocoa and get excited about the first gift of Christmas. Hand out small bells that they can shake to see if they can hear the ringing.
The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
Synopsis: A delightful tale of a little gingerbread cookie that leads the town on a chase to recapture him and bring him home.
Activity: ~Bake gingerbread cookies and decorate them with the children. While baking, talk about where their cookie would go if it ran away!
~Check out the author’s website. She has so many amazing activities to go with this book and all of her wonderful books!
Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
Synopsis: Join bear and his friends for the holidays and share in their wonderful Christmas celebration.
Activity: ~Make popcorn on a string like they do in the book. Hang the popcorn strings as fun decorations, or eat a tasty snack! ~Make a bear quilt. One of Bear’s special gifts in the story is a quilt. Give the children each sheet of construction paper in varied colors. Have them draw and color a different favorite scene from the book on each sheet of paper. When the pictures are done, arrange them in the order you want them to appear on the quilt. Staple together as if it were a patchwork quilt. Add a colorful border of tissue or crepe paper. Cut it with fancy edge scissors for a fun touch. Hang up for a fun and memorable Christmas decoration!
The Nativity Story any version
Synopsis: Share a story of where it all began and remind the children of the Christmas holiday’s true meaning.
Activity: ~Reenact the Nativity with your kids.
~If you have some time to prepare ahead of time, put this amazing Nativity Felt Board together and play with your kids.
The Nutcracker any version
Synopsis: A beautiful story loved by all ages filled with dancing, music, and adventure. It is a wonderful story for Christmas that will surely delight the imagination.
Activity: ~Create a gingerbread house and a little “Land of Sweets” using frosting, graham crackers, peppermint sticks, gumdrops, and any other candy you have available. Let the kids get their creative juices flowing…and don’t be surprised if some of the “supplies” disappear!
~Learn about the different cultures and countries that some of the dances in the book originated from.
~Play the Nutcracker Suite in your living room and have an impromptu Nutcracker ballet in your own house!
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer any version
Synopsis: A reindeer is born very different from the rest. A classic story that tells the adventure of a red-nosed reindeer saving Christmas by lighting the way with his red nose!
Activity: ~Play different games: Simon Says, Freeze Tag, Red Light, Green Light, and call them Reindeer Games. Stress the importance of including everyone, having good sportsmanship, and having fun!
~Make reindeer cookies: Take pre-packaged, refrigerated cookie dough and press it into an oval pattern on a cookie sheet. Press two pretzel twists on top for antlers and a red gumdrop or red candy-coated chocolate for Rudolph’s nose. Use brown candy-coated chocolates for the eyes, and bake as directed!
~Make Rudolph decorations” Create Rudolph using a red craft pompom for the nose, brown pompoms for the eyes, and brown pipe cleaners for the antlers. Stick them all with some craft glue on a small paper plate and hang for all to see!
Some of these activities are good for the little ones, others would be better for older ones, but whatever book and activity you choose, treasure those special moments with your child and enjoy this special season! Happy Holidays!
I have pinned all the books and linked activities to our Little Library Lane Bookshelf.
Find more Christmas events and activities at Christmas in Lake County.
Find more book suggestions on our Bookshelf!
By: Heather Williams
Heather is a busy mom of three who loves exploring Lake County with her kids. When she, her husband, and kids are not embarking on new adventures, you will most likely find her cooking and posting some great family-friendly recipes at Girl and Her Kitchen.
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