If Santa comes to your house, you're probably familiar with the drill: there's at least a month of constant run-up about which gifts your child really really wants. Before you go over the edge of some sleigh-mountain yourself, try this activity with your first grader. She'll collect a list of her wish ideas … and without realizing it, she'll also get extra practice in reading and writing!
Two plain white dinner plates, about 9” in diameter
Red construction paper, 9 x 12”
Two googly eyes
Markers, scissors, staplers
One red pom pom
What You Do:
Start by cutting one plate in half. Help your child staple it along the curved edge to make a half-plate “pouch.”
Hold your red construction paper vertically, and cut a big triangle from it, 9” at the base, and ending in a point at the top. Glue the triangle onto the full-sized plate that you just stapled—it will make a tall, pointy “hat.”Glue cotton balls onto the half-circle “pouch” plate, leaving a 1” rim at the top of the half circle. Glue the googly eyes onto the rim—you'll have made Santa's white beard and twinkly eyes. Then glue on the red pom pom to make Santa's nose.
Hang the Santa pouch on a door or wall during December. Every time your child comes up with a new wish, have her write it on an index card. To build those reading and writing skills, have her make it a formal note: “Dear Santa, I would really like _______________ because _____________________________. Encourage your child to do as much writing herself as possible, but you can also let her dictate to you.
As we all know, Santa doesn't always bring everything we ask for, and Santa ultimately knows best. But chances are there will be something on that child's wish list that ends up under the tree. And maybe, just maybe, “Santa” will leave a note back, come Christmas Day!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.