Want some guilt free screen time, that gets your kids moving, having fun whilst also meeting educational dance outcomes! This free online dance class gives you all of that and best of all it is Christmas themed so you can add it onto your kids Christmas activity bucket list, brain break playlist or use it when you are snowed in or can’t get outdoors and need to get the kids moving!
This Christmas dance and movement activity for toddlers and kids is 15minutes long. It begins with a warm up, then moves into three different creative movement dances, follows up with a learning game and ends with a cool down! The perfect indoor activity when you just need 15mins of Christmas peace!!!
Christmas is a great time to focus on themed activities with toddlers, Preschoolers, and kids. But many kids activities require a lot of set up and mess or are just really Pinterest or Instagram pretty – not doable with kids! I honestly get so annoyed when I see these perfectly created crafts that I know my kids just wont be able to pull off! So if you are after a true no set up activity that will engage your kids long enough for you to have a cup of tea with no mess other than placing the tea bag in the bin, then that’s where this free online dance class activity for toddlers and kids is a life saver!
And if you are after any educational ideas or links to this lesson, make sure you scroll down a little further where I have ideas for activities you can try in all different areas of the curriculum, using this dance class as a springboard for learning!
Short History of Christmas for Kids.
The word Christmas literally means the Mass for Christ or the gathering of Christians in their church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ whom they believe is the son of God. But just how did this Christian celebration become the biggest celebration in the Western world? Let’s take a quick look into it’s history!
Winter in most of the northern hemisphere can be harsh and long. Daylight decreases and the days feel like they are getting shorter and in times when all you had to light your way and keep warm was fire, it could get quite miserable. So to bring hope and lift spirits the time which marked the return of the sun or the daylight getting longer rather than shorter was a cause to celebrate. Known as the winter solstice or saturnalia it was a celebration that occurred around the same time as we celebrate Christmas today.
As Christianity became more common in the western world, many celebrations that revered alternate gods such as Saturn or the sun during the solstice were replaced by celebrations that honored the Christian God and the birth of his son Jesus. This occured slowly over time although it has been said that Pope Julius I of the Catholic Church declared that December 25th in the year 350 to be the official date that Christians were to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Over the next several centuries Christmas became more of a big party almost like a mardi gras which was not liked by everyone. In the 17th century, puritans tried to cancel Christmas, but it was restored shortly after but resultingly it was not celebrated by many of the early pilgrims who came to America even being outlawed in some cities such as Boston! The holiday was even less liked in the US during and after the American Revolution as it was seen as an English tradition.
It was around the 19th century that the traditions of Christmas as we know them today really began to be reborn and developed. Around this time author Charles Dickens wrote and published his classic A Christmas Carol, and a poem about St Nicholas who we now more commonly referred to as Santa was created by an Episcopal Minister Clement Clarke Moore with its iconic line – Twas the night before Christmas. With this rebirth occurring around the same time of the industrial revolution and the ability to mass-produce almost anything, and the companies selling their anythings seeing the marketing opportunities Christmas afforded them……Christmas as we know it today was born!
Common Questions Kids like to ask…
There are some questions such as is Santa real that I am not going to deal with in this next section, it is up to each family to decide on what they tell their kids… I personally reply with ‘he is if you believe he is’. But there are others that are easily answered with a little research and so I have collated the answers to some of those ‘answerable’ questions right here…
Why is Christmas on the 25th of December
It is thought that Pope Julius I in around the year 350 declared that the 25th of December would be the day that Christians celebrated Jesus’ birth – but truthfully some historians do not believe the date was chosen until the 12th century!
No one really knows the true reason for his choice so historians have had to speculate or guess why he chose that date. Many agree the date was chosen because it was at the same time as other nonreligious holidays and the church hoped that fact would help to attract more people to believe in Christianity. The main celebrations the date coincided with were a festival called Saturnalia which honored the Roman god of Agriculture Saturn, winter solstice celebrations and the birthdate given to the sun god – Sol Invictus by the Roman Emperor in 274 AD. Sir James George Frazer in his 1890 book ‘The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion’ wrote that in Egypt and Syria the nativity of the sun was celebrated in ways that look very similar to the nativity of Jesus that we celebrate today!
Is Christmas really Jesus’ birthday?
No Christmas is not really Jesus’ birthday. Unfortunately, although many people have tried to work out when Jesus was born because it was never documented we will never really know the exact date.
Some people believe that it was more likely that Jesus was born in the springtime than in winter because in the many stories about the birth of Jesus we read about shepherds herding their flocks of sheep which was practiced in the spring. Other researchers have tried to use Astronomy and the idea of the Star of Bethlehem to uncover when Jesus was born. Dave Reneke an astronomer proposed Jesus was born in Summer in 2BC possibly about June 17 as on this date Venus and Jupiter would have come together creating an exceptionally bright sky. Others try to determine the date by looking into the History of King Herod who also plays a major role in the story of the birth of Jesus – but again historians disagree on many of the dates and facts of that history as well!
How did Christmas trees start?
Why is there Santa at Christmas?
Does everybody celebrate Christmas?
No. Not everybody living on our planet celebrates Christmas, because not everybody on our Earth believes in Christ or is a Christian and Christmas is a Christian holiday. A large proportion of people on our Earth actually have different religious beliefs. Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists, for example, have different beliefs to Christians, and instead, they generally have other holidays and celebrations that they value as important to their beliefs.
Even the people that do celebrate Christmas celebrate it for different reasons! Some people celebrate Christmas for the religious purpose of it being the birth of Jesus. Others celebrate Christmas only because it has become a traditional and cultural holiday centred around Santa and Christmas trees promoted either commercially or even by their community as a time to celebrate, give gifts and be with family.
Christmas Symbols and Meanings
This Christmas Dance Tutorial is based around some symbols and traditions of Christmas but have you ever wondered why these particular animals and things are linked to Christmas? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to explain it to your kids? Well now you can as I go through a list of all the different symbols and traditions for Christmas with a short history or meaning guide behind them – relax and know this info has been well researched, I was a teacher and told this stuff to kids in classrooms…. so let’s begin with the ones in the dance tutorial.
Nativity Scene and Play
Mary and Joseph
The little drummer boy
Related Christmas Activities and Educational Ideas to do with kids…
Having been a teacher in Australia with a Bachelor of Education (Primary), I am always looking at ways to creatively teach children and regularly used dance and movement in my classroom to enforce learning of concepts and material we were learning about in different areas of the school curriculum.
The following are some links and connections that can be made from this creative dance lesson to other areas of learning!
Mathematics or Arithmetic
For this one, I really don’t want to reinvent the wheel! I would recommend you use a search engine to look up the term Christmas Math Activities and you will be surprised at the number of free resources available to you such as this Christmas tree ornament counting activity from Fun Learning for Kids.
One activity you might like to investigate is that of time and how the concept of Santa visiting every country in the world might work because ones side of the world is in darkness when the other is in light, so he has 24hours and not only the hours of your night where you live to deliver gifts.
English and Literacy
- Create a spelling list of Christmas related words.
- Create a list of adjectives to describe Christmas or one or more of its symbols.
- Recount and write about a Christmas experience.
- Write a story that includes one or more of the Christmas symbols.
- Research and then write a report about the history of Christmas or one or more of its symbols
- Write an argumentative or persuasive essay relating to something about Christmas for example why all children deserve presents on Christmas day.
- Read books with Christmas themes.
- Write letters to Santa.
- Write letters to family and friends as gifts for Christmas.
- Create and write in Christmas cards.
- Investigate scientifically some of the magic of Christmas such as theories on how Reindeer and the sleigh fly, how Santa gets to every house in one night, how the elves make the toys.
- Investigate how toys are manufactured and made. Where do the materials come from, who designs the toys, where are they made, who makes them?
- Design and make your own toy.
- Do one of the hundreds of science/christmas-themed experiments you can find on Pinterest.
- Develop charts, lists, or diagrams that show the differences in how Christmas is celebrated today and in the past.
- Research the history of Christmas and create a project, PowerPoint or essay to show your learnings.
- Look into and learn about the history of Santa Clause.
- Research the differences between a religious cantered Christmas and a commercial one.
- Create a timeline to show important changes and development in the history of Christmas.
- If Religious or interested look into and learn about the birth place of Jesus.
- Mark on a map the various locations Christmas is celebrated throughout the world.
- Find the North Pole and mark this on a map.
- Create a possible flight map for Santa.
- If wanting you are religious or just interested, look at the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus and mark this on maps.
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