There are lots of Christmas activities on the British Council’s site for young learners - LearnEnglish Kids - which you can use with your students during the festive season. You will find all the resources on one page on NEW LearnEnglish Kids: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/category/topics/christmas
On this page you will find tips and ideas for using and extending the activities in the classroom.
Story: Santa’s little helper
Draw a basic picture of Santa on the board. Ask the students to identify him and to tell you what they know about Santa:
- What does he look like?
- What does he wear?
- Where does he live?
- What does he do during the year?
- What does he do the night before Christmas?
- How does he travel?
- What does he like eating and drinking?
Students watch and listen to the story. Don’t worry about vocabulary, as the pictures will help convey meaning. After the story, ask the students to say what is the same and different in their country at Christmas. They could listen to the story again, pausing between pages, to identify differences and similarities. If children are members of the site, they can add comments telling us about how Christmas Eve is different where they live.
There is a printable worksheet to go with the story: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/sites/kids/files/attachment/kids-stories-santa-activity.pdf
Song: The Busy Elf
Print the song words here: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/sites/kids/files/attachment/kids-songs-busy-elf-lyrics.pdf
- Ask the students: Who helps Santa make Christmas presents for children? (his elves).
- First play The Busy Elf song with no volume. Ask the students: Who can you see? Which presents can you see?
- Play the song again this time with volume and mime the actions together - elves dancing, Santa saying ho ho ho, tap tap tap with a hammer to make each toy, Santa pointing to reindeer, putting the presents in Santa’s sleigh.
- Play the song again and sing along with actions!
- Hand out The Busy Elf song worksheet: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/sites/kids/files/attachment/kids-songs-busy-elf-activity.pdf
- Listen to the song again and students tick the toys that the elf makes. The students can then identify words and/or draw presents on the same worksheet.
For Christmas 2010 we have a new song on the site for Christmas: Turkey Trouble!
Flash cards: Toys and presents
Print picture and word cards and pictures of wrapped presents here:
To introduce the toy vocabulary, hold up a picture card and ask: What would you like for Christmas? A scooter? A computer? etc. To avoid too much shouting out, show students how to do thumbs up for yes and thumbs down for no. Then have students repeat the words after you. With students of reading age you could stick the cards on the board and then ask individuals to stick the word cards next to the correct picture.
To practise saying the new words hold up the wrapped present cards one by one and have students guess what each one is.
Here are two activities that you can do with the cards:
Memory game! Give each group of learners a set of flashcards with a copy of each word card and the corresponding picture cards. Ask them to place the cards, one by one, face down on the table. In turn, each player turns up two cards and says what they are. If they turn up matching cards, they keep them and have another go. If the cards are different, they replace them and the next player has a go. The player with the most pairs is the winner. For very young learners use the wrapped present pictures cards instead of the word cards.
Board rush! Place the flashcards on the board. In teams, ask your learners to line up a little distance away from, but facing, the board. Ask your learners to run and touch the correct flashcard when they hear it.
There are lots more ideas for using flash cards here:
Students can write toy words and draw toys in Santa’s bag on this worksheet: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/practise-your-english/santas-bag
A letter to Santa
After talking about toys it’s time to write a letter to Santa. Print this worksheet for higher-level students to read a message to Santa and then complete a letter: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/practise-your-english/letter-santa
Things to make: Christmas cards, Christmas trees and snowflakes
If you have a selection of old or new Christmas cards, you could talk about the pictures, pointing to and describing the different objects. Your learners could then design their own Christmas card, or make a Christmas collage with the pictures.
You will find more ideas for Christmas things to make here, including a Christmas tree and snowflakes:
Christmas words: Messages, word searches and a quiz
Practise words related to Christmas using this worksheet: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/practise-your-english/christmas-words
Can your learners also decode the message? Why not ask learners to write their own Christmas messages (or any other messages) using this code, or a code they've invented. Can you or others work out what the message is?
Print out this quiz to find out how many Christmas words your students know:
Read and listen to the story My Favourite Day and find out about Christmas customs in the UK: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/short-stories/my-favourite-day-christmas
Your students could write about their own Christmas customs, or their own favourite days: What do people usually do at Christmas in your country? What do they do in other parts of the world? For example, do they put lights in their houses? Do they decorate a Christmas tree? Do they get presents at Christmas? When do they open their presents? Write a short description of Christmas in your country. What's your favourite day of the year? What do people wear, eat, drink? What do people do? Why do people celebrate this day? Do you give and receive presents?
Read about other children’s favourite days in Your turn:
Children who are members of the site can add descriptions of their favourite day here. It doesn’t have to be Christmas!
Story: The Snowman
Before reading the story ‘The Snowman', you could introduce the topic by asking your learners about snow and winter; for example:
- Does it snow in your country?
- When does it snow?
- What do children like doing when it snows?
- Do you know how to make a snowman?
- Have you ever made one?
Draw a picture of a girl and a boy to introduce the characters of Katie and Eddie. Then draw some snow. Ask your learners what they think is going to happen in the story. Now read and listen to each page of the story online. Don't worry if your learners don't understand every word - the pictures will help them make sense of what's happening.
After listening to the story, act it out! Start by miming the actions together - wake up, shout, run outside, dance in the snow, make a snowman, wave ‘Hello', put on a scarf and a hat. Then take different roles of Katie, Eddie and the snowman in turn and add the dialogue. If you've got a digital camera and/or video camera you could record your learners' play and then make it into a slide show.
Alternatively, you could ask them to draw their own version of the story and add captions to describe what's happening. Make the snowman 3-dimensional with cotton wool for his head and body, some wool or coloured thread for his scarf and hat and some orange tissue paper for his nose!
Game: Pass the parcel
Wrap up a present in Christmas paper. Make sure there are plenty of layers, with a Christmas forfeit in between each layer, for example, ‘Name something we eat at Christmas'. Now play the game ‘Pass the parcel' to some background Christmas music. When the music stops, the child holding the parcel carries out the forfeit. The child who opens the final layer wins the present!
A very Merry Christmas to you all!
By Carolyne Ardron and Sally Trowbridge
- Teaching resources
- Teacher development
- Teacher training