Nothing says Christmas time like sweet handmade gifts from children. As a teacher, you probably want to help your students create gifts for their families in the classroom, but it can be difficult to find gifts that are useful and truly created by the kids.
Guided artwork activities can be a perfect way to make heartwarming gifts that are adorable keepsakes. Creating gifts with your students teaches them the value of giving instead of getting.
Here are some examples of creative gift ideas for parents that your elementary students can make:
- Handmade ornaments for the tree
- Painted flower pots or bowls
- Handprint crafts
- Pictures of your students with handmade frames
- Handmade jewelry
Ideas abound for creative gifts kids can make, but some items can become clutter for families. The key is to find a gift that is useful and adorable!
One of my favorite gifts ideas for parents is the Fingerprint Art Calendar.
In creating the gift, students will learn math skills such as months, days of the week, and counting. They use their own fingerprints to create art for each calendar page, which families will love because it reminds parents of how small their children are.
For each month, a sample art activity is provided- or you can come up with your own. When you purchase the calendar activity, lifetime updates are included. So your family gift from your students is planned and ready forever!
Perhaps most importantly, this activity makes a useful gift that will keep a smile on their parents’ face all year long. It would be beautiful on the family fridge, or in a parent’s office. Families will be excited to receive this gift, and students will be excited to give a gift that they made with their own little fingers.
What are your favoriteChristmas gift ideas for parents? Let me know in the comments!
For more holiday activities, check out my post here!
You all, I was searching for some ideas to teach students about the famous Thanksgiving Day Parade when I found the book, Balloons Over Broadway. This story is based on a true story about Tony Sarg who invented the “upside-down puppets.” When I was young, our whole family would gather around the television to see the parade while my mom was in the kitchen cooking a Butterball turkey!
The Great Puppeteer
Tony Sarg was born in 1880. He was a German American puppeteer and illustrator. He was raised around puppets and inherited his grandmother’s collection. Once he watched a marionette show and wanted to know how the puppets were moving. They would not tell him, so he sat in the front row, attended many shows and drew pictures of the movement until he could figure it out on his own. Tony moved to New York. Macy’s contacted him about his amazing animated puppets. They wanted him to put his puppets in their store windows for Christmas. The windows were a huge success. Thousands of people would gather around the windows to watch the amazing puppets.
Then, Macy’s asked him if he would put his puppets in their first parade. He quickly realized after the parade that the puppets were too small for everyone to see. He worked with a couple others to design the large “upside-down puppets” that we all love to watch today in the parade!
Reading about Tony was fascinating. He had a great sense of humor. One time he floated a monster puppet in the ocean at Nantucket. The joke made national news. You can see a great video capturing the event here. He loved to make toys, illustrate books and made games.
An Idea Born
Learning about his life and reading the book Balloons Over Broadway, inspired me to design a digital escape room for kids to accompany the book. If you wanted to extend the activity you could have kids use permanent markers to color and create their own balloon for a “Hallway Parade” at school. If you wanted to do this lesson during Christmas, you could have students design a puppet window for a department store.
Also check out Teaching Winter Holidays Around the World
Winter is an exciting time for kids of all ages! For teachers of young children, it’s an especially fun time in the classroom. While the students may be a little distracted by all the holiday events, winter provides a perfect opportunity to join learning and celebrations. Children can learn about holidays through listening to stories, reading, music, art, and even food.
Celebrations from around the world provide an opportunity to discuss geography and culture in a way that gets students excited.
They may see similarities between their own lives and those of children in other countries. They may even enjoy bringing elements of the winter holidays they learn about into their own celebrations!
Holiday celebrations in the classroom are another way to teach students about other cultures. For a class party, foods from other countries could be served. Students could participate in art activities using themes they’ve learned about in their world studies. (
Instead of just focusing on the American traditions they are familiar with, kids can experience the ways that other cultures celebrate with their friends and family. While increasing a connection between kids around the world, these activities will keep students learning during the holiday season!
If you need some inspiration to talk about holidays in your classroom, The Winter Holidays Around the World Journal is a perfect springboard into learning about celebrations.
On each page, students will read a short passage about a winter holiday celebration, trace key words, and draw a picture to demonstrate comprehension. There is a flag to color for each country’s page. They can also locate the country on a map or globe and color the illustrations. Teachers can also facilitate further research into the winter holiday celebrations using the Internet or other media.
Students will have a great time learning about different traditions while practicing their reading and writing skills!
If you want more holiday classroom fun, check out my Christmas freebies here!
Try the Digital Escape Room 1-3rd, focus is on Main Idea and Holidays Around the World!
Games are an important part of childhood. From sports to board games, children all over the world play together to learn social skills and have fun. However, games haven’t always been a welcome strategy in the classroom. In the schools of the not-so-distant past, they were something kids were to do on the playground or at home- but not in their classrooms. Fortunately, thoughts have changed. We now know that games can teach important skills while students have fun!
If you’re ready to get your students more excited about learning, pull out some classroom games. Students will be more motivated to pay attention to the subject matter, and will be more engaged. They will positively associate learning the subject matter with having fun. This will increase their success with the material, and make your job a little easier!
Your kids will also develop stronger critical thinking skills while playing games. Depending on the object of the game, they might have to try new strategies, think ahead, or switch plans. In addition to content mastery, students learn social skills while playing classroom games. They experience winning and losing, taking turns, and co-operating. These skills are necessary for working with other people even in adulthood.
One of my favorite classroom game sets is Kindergarten Math Games. It is designed for pre-k and kindergarten classrooms to make practicing important math skills more fun (check out my Kindergarten Math Salad Bar here)! It includes several options for single players to complete on their own as well as games for two players to take turns. Students will learn to count and recognize numbers 1-6 while playing the games. You can simply print the game boards out, give students a 6-sided die, and let the fun begin!
Another resource available for FREE right now is the 10 More Or Less Game. It is ideal for students in grades K-2. This activity helps students understand the number concepts of 10 more and 10 less. It can be played as a whole group so you can help students understand how it works. Then students can play with small groups or partners. Your kids will love learning math skills while having fun with their peers!
What games do you like to play in the classroom? Let me know in the comments!