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Christmas Games for Children


















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Lead On, Rudolph
antler headband
red body paint or red circle stickers

Select one child to be Rudolph. Give him or her a set of antlers to wear and color nose red with body paint or a sticker. Explain that just as Rudolph led Santa's sleigh, the class Rudolph will lead everyone in this seasonal variant of Follow the Leader. Give each child a predetermined length of time to lead (30 seconds works well). At the end of the leader's time, he or she must choose another Rudolph.

As a matter of practicality, ask those who have been Rudolph to leave their red noses on. This makes it easy to see at a glance who has -- and hasn't -- had a turn.

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Lump o' Coal
programmed word cards
Christmas stocking


Program 50 or more cards with familiar words -- word families, sight words, thematic vocabulary, etc. (Christmas die-cuts look nice, but index cards with words printed in Christmas colors work just as well.) On 5-10 cards, simply draw a lump of coal. (I use more coal cards for older students and fewer for younger children.)

Have students sit in a circle and pass the stocking around the circle. Students must reach into the stocking and pull out a card without looking. If a student draws a word card and reads the word correctly, he or she keeps the card and places it in front of him or her.  If a student draws a word card and reads the word incorrectly, he or she simply returns the card to the stocking. If, however, a student draws a coal card, that student must return all of his or her word cards to the bag.

Play continues for a predetermined length of time or until three consecutive students draw coal cards. At the end of play, students count up their cards. The student with the most cards in his or her hand wins.

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Christmas Musical Chairs
cassette or CD player
cassette or CD of Christmas music
group of players
one chair for each players, minus one chair

Arrange chairs in a circle facing outward. You will need one less chair than people in the group. When music starts, each player begins marching around circle of chairs. When music stops, each player tries to sit in a chair. Whoever fails to get a seat is out. Eliminate one player and remove one chair from the circle after each round, until only one player remains.

An ESL/EFL adaptation of this game eliminates the need for chairs. Play a tape of music with which students are familiar. When the music stops, all students must freeze in position. Randomly point to a student. He or she must sing or say the next word in the song. If the student responds correctly, he or she points to another student to continue, then sits down on the floor. Each student who can correctly sing or say the next word in the song when called upon may sit down. Those who cannot are out. As students become more familiar with songs, you can ask questions about the songs instead of calling on students to give the next word. Each student who responds correctly asks a question of another student and sits down.

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I Went Christmas Shopping
(Christmas Adaptation of "I'm Going to My Grandma's House")
One player begins by saying, "I went Christmas shopping, and I bought a ________." The next player repeats the original statement and adds another item, saying, "I went Christmas shopping, and I bought a ________ and a ________." Each player must repeat all previous items in sequences and add an additional item. Anyone who makes a mistake is out.

To increase difficulty, you might begin by saying, "I went Christmas shopping, and I bought a ________ for my _________ [friend's name, relative, neighbor, etc.]." Each player must repeat all previous statements and add a new gift and recipient.

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Stocking Hunt
For this game you will need three pairs each of two different colors of Christmas stockings or clean socks. Number 1-6 stockings or socks of both colors. Hide stockings around room, house, or school. Inside stockings 2-5, place a note giving a hint to the location of the next stocking (i.e. "Stocking #2 is under something large" or "Stocking #4 might be enjoying a good book.").  Divide players into two teams. Hand both teams cards hinting at the location of the first stocking. The first team to find all six stockings wins.

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Candy Cane Relay
Divide players into two teams. Give each player a chopstick. (The cheap, disposable wooden ones work fine.) Each team forms a line, and each player holds his or her chopstick in front of him or her. Place a candy cane on the chopstick of the first student. At a given signal, the player must turn and pass the chopstick on to the next player who in turn passes it on down the row. Players may touch the candy cane only with their chopstick. If the candy cane falls to the ground, and players cannot retrieve it with their chopsticks, the player who was passing it may pick it up and put it back on his or her chopstick, but a ten-second penalty will be assessed. When the candy cane reaches the last player, the player must run to the front of the line with the candy cane on his or her chopstick. The first team to get the candy cane back to the front of its line wins.

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Sun and Snow
(a winter adaptation of "Red Light, Green Light")
One player serves as the weatherperson, keeping his or her back to the other players. All other players stand behind a set line. When the weatherperson calls "Sun," other players race toward the weatherperson. When the weatherperson calls "Snow!" other players must freeze instantly. As soon as the weatherperson calls "Snow," he or she spins around to look out the other players. Anyone who moves must return to the start line. The weatherperson tooks away from the other players again and calls "Sun" or "Snow." The first player to tag the weatherperson becomes the next weatherperson.

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Christmas Charades
Divide group into two teams. Each team should brainstorm a list of as many words related to Christmas as possible, write each of these on small slips of paper, and fold papers in half. Each teams papers should then be placed in two separate containers. Call on one player at a time to draw a paper from the opposite team's hat and act out the word given. If the player's team guesses the word, it receives one point. If it does not guess, no points are assigned (since the opposing team which wrote down the word being demonstrated would have an unfair advantage were they to guess).

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Christmas Taboo
A player chooses a card with a word related to Christmas at the top. He or she gives verbal clues to help other players guess the word, but he or she cannot use any form of the five related words written on the lower portion of the card in his or her clues. Click here for printable playing cards.


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Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Divide players into two or more groups. Make lists of objects that might be used at Christmas for each team to find. Suggested items include a Christmas thank you card, wrapping paper, star, fake snow, tape, scissors, red ornament, a bathrobe, potpourri, an empty box, plates, cups, napkins, any nativity pieces, Santa, an elf, a sleigh, a snowflake (paper, of course), a stocking, etc. The first team to find all of the items on its list wins.

For an ESL/EFL class exercise, you might require team members to state a possible use for each item before declaring them the winners.

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Pin the Star on the Tree
green paper
yellow paper
scissors

From a sheet of heavy green paper, cut a large tree. Cut one or more stars from heavy yellow paper. Blindfold one player at a time. The player must try to pin the star to the top of the tree. As an ESL/EFL activity, you may divide students into groups of two. One player attempts to stick the star in the appropriate spot while the other player gives directions in English. For classroom play, it is best to laminate playing pieces.

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Christmas Circle
Players form a large circle with one player in the middle. Players on the outside skip around the circle singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" while the player in the middle stands motionless. When players sing the word "Christmas," the circling players rush to sit down while the player in the middle runs to the edge and tries to tag another student before he or she can sit down.

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Halo Toss
metallic garland
tape or floral wire
name tag stickers

Give each child a length of garland and a piece of wire or tape. Divide children into pairs. Show them how to measure their garland by getting their partner to wrap it around their head and cut it to the correct length. Secure ends with tape or floral wire. Label completed halos with students' names. (Write name on one end of name tag. Fold tag over garland and secure by sticking the ends together.

Let your little angels compete to see who can toss their halo the farthest.

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