There’s a different kid of energy and hum in my classroom when holidays come around. Kids just love the decorations at home and at school – they know something’s different, and they are all in! When holidays are upon us, I set up holiday project centers where my students can practice their skills while creating kids holiday decorations and special art pieces for their homes and our classroom.
My very favorite kids center is an open art center. Kids can dive into what’s out on the table to think and create anything they choose. The open art center is almost always set up in my classroom. For your holiday art center, just keep the theme for each holiday by using holiday colors – red and green for Christmas, black and orange for Halloween – with the paper, holiday theme die cuts, paint or glitter glue. You can even color the glue they’re using and have small paint brushes available to use with that glue. Bring out holiday punches, stickers, foamies, and fancy scissors. You will have kids creating art masterpieces they can take home to decorate their house for the holidays!
Sometimes in class there’s a student or two who just won’t go do art – they’d rather play in the kitchen or with the construction vehicles that are out. I usually don’t make the open art center a “Have To” activity, but during the holidays the holiday project center is a “Have To.” And I do find the kids who don’t automatically drift toward the open art center end up staying and creating holiday projects just as long as their friends in class. They just need a nudge to get there!
What To Add to Your Holiday Centers
What other supplies can you use for your kids holiday project center? Cookie cutters are the first thing that comes to my mind as a great supply to use in your preschool and PreK holiday centers. I have a stash of holiday cookie cutters in a large tin in my kitchen – Halloween, a Turkey or two, and a couple Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, loads of Christmas cookie cutters, a Nutcracker set for Christmas, too. There’s even a few bunnies and baskets and flower cookie cutters for my spring and Easter holiday centers.
So how do I use cookie cutters in my classroom? I set up a holiday project center with paint on paper plates or a plastic container using holiday colors – black and orange for Halloween, lots of bright cheerful colors for Easter and Spring, red and green for Christmas, and paint with glitter mixed in for the Nutcracker cookie cutter set. Kids use the cookie cutters to stamp to their heart’s content at this center! Remember smocks and maybe stick close by if this is a new center idea for your students – they’ll need their stamped art work put somewhere to dry, new pieces of paper and more paint.
Another Halloween Art Center I love is mixing paint. Set out large white pieces of paper, with paint brushes and yellow and red paint bottles ready to go. As students come in, I pour some yellow and red paint on a piece of paper and give them a brush to mix the paint to make orange – there’s some science in there, too! Once the paint is dry, I trace a pumpkin shape on the painted part of the paper for older preschoolers and PreKers to cut out. I cut out the pumpkin shape for early learners. Your students can then draw faces or glue on cut out jack-o-lantern face pieces.
Classroom Art for a Cooperative Center
Another fun idea is creating a cooperative classroom art project center. Mix orange jello with water at Halloween or add glitter to white paint like snow at Christmas, and kids can just finger-paint or use paint brushes on a huge piece of butcher paper to make their classroom art piece to hang on a bulletin board. Add plastic forks, Q-tips, straws to blow through or small pieces of paper kids can lay on the watered-down jello or sparkly paint to make prints. Fun times at preschool!
Preschool Holiday Decorations
You can send these preschool holiday art decorations home mounted on a sheet of construction paper, or cut out a paper frame and add the art to the back for more of a decoration kids can put out in their homes! Add the student’s name and write the date on the frame. Chances are if you go a step further with your students’ art work, parents will keep these treasures for their kids!
Remember you can have engaging, skill-related center work out for your students without paper worksheets. Look around your classroom, supply room, or in your own home for easy-to-put-together Holiday Centers!
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