Christmas and Winter Holiday Traditions Around the World for Children – Learning Activities

The holiday season is a magical time filled with joy, love, and togetherness. As parents and educators, we have the opportunity to teach children about the diverse traditions and customs celebrated around the world during Christmas and winter holidays. By introducing them to learning activities focused on these traditions, we can foster a sense of cultural appreciation and understanding. This post will explore various hands-on activities that allow children to learn about different holiday traditions and customs while engaging their senses and expanding their knowledge.

Christmas and winter holidays are celebrated in different ways around the world. Through Montessori learning activities, children can explore these traditions and gain a deeper understanding of different cultures.

Exploring Christmas and winter holiday traditions around the world is important for students for several reasons.

  • Cultural awareness: Learning about different holiday traditions helps students develop a sense of cultural sensitivity and appreciation for diversity. It promotes open-mindedness and understanding of different customs and beliefs.
  • Global perspective: Studying holiday traditions from various countries allows students to broaden their worldview and expand their understanding of different cultures. It encourages them to think beyond their immediate surroundings and develop a global mindset.
  • Historical and social context: Understanding the historical and social context of holiday traditions provides students with valuable insights into the beliefs, values, and customs of different societies. It helps them connect with the past and see how traditions have evolved over time.
  • Critical thinking skills: Comparing and contrasting holiday traditions from different countries requires students to think critically and analyze cultural practices. They learn to question and evaluate why certain traditions are followed, and how they contribute to the overall cultural fabric of a society.
  • Language and literacy development: Exploring holiday traditions from various countries exposes students to different languages, customs, and symbols. It enhances their vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing skills as they engage with texts and resources from different cultures.
  • Empathy and understanding: By learning about different holiday traditions, students develop empathy and understanding for people from different backgrounds. It fosters a sense of inclusivity and tolerance, preparing them to become global citizens who appreciate diversity and respect others’ beliefs and customs.
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Hands-on activities for exploring Christmas and winter holiday traditions

Here are some engaging activities to teach kids about Christmas and winter holiday traditions around the world:

Christmas Countdown Calendar:
Create an interactive calendar that counts down the days until Christmas. Each day, kids can learn about a different country and its holiday traditions. They can make crafts or learn about traditional foods from that country.

World Map Exploration:
Introduce children to a world map and let them locate different countries where Christmas or winter holidays are celebrated. Provide them with pictures or small tokens representing customs and traditions from each place. Encourage discussions regarding similarities and differences.

Holiday Storytelling:
Read books that highlight various holiday traditions around the world. Afterward, encourage children to retell the stories in their own words or create holiday-themed puppet shows, acting out the different traditions they learned.

Cultural Crafts:
Engage children in arts and crafts activities that represent different cultural traditions. For instance, they can make German paper stars, Mexican piñatas, or Swedish dala horses. These hands-on projects allow them to learn about customs through creativity.

Decorate The Christmas Tree:
Discuss with children the significance of Christmas trees. Then, have them decorate a tree using decorations that represent different holiday traditions. They can create and hang ornaments inspired by different countries, enhancing their knowledge of diverse customs.

Traditional Music Exploration:
Introduce children to traditional holiday songs from different parts of the world. Play the music while encouraging them to dance or create their own instruments using recycled materials, allowing them to experience the joy of music from diverse cultures.

Cooking and Tasting:
Teach children about traditional holiday recipes from different countries. Choose a few simple recipes and participate together in the cooking process. Encourage children to taste and compare different flavors, developing their culinary exploration skills.

Language Learning:
Teach kids how to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” in different languages. Create flashcards or a mini-book with greetings from various countries, helping children learn new words and phrases while appreciating cultural diversity.

Through these Montessori activities, children can gain a global perspective on holiday traditions. They develop empathy, respect, and an understanding of different cultures while engaging in fun and educational learning experiences.

We have curated a round-up of blog posts featuring activities that will engage and immerse your little ones in diverse cultural celebrations. These activities will spark their curiosity and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for different customs. This holiday season, let your children embark on a global adventure of learning and discovery!

children’s books – Christmas around the world

Christmas Is Coming: Traditions from Around the World by Monika Utnik-Strugala

A truly international collection of legends and traditions are included in the volume such as – Glögg, Kutia, Lutefisk, Jansson’s Temptation, Julskinka, Bûche de Noël, Hallaca, Kourabiedes, Christmas Pudding, Panettone, Christmas carols, talking animals, and The Nutcracker!

Joy to the World!: Christmas Around the Globe
by Kate DePalma

Explore Christmas traditions from 13 different countries! Rhyming text and detailed illustrations make the book accessible to younger readers, while educational endnotes about the 13 celebrations add interest for older children.

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Christmas: With Carols, Presents, and Peace
by Deborah Heiligman

With dazzling photographs and lively, lyrical text, this book introduces young readers to the historical and cultural aspects of the Christmas holiday.

Craft and Pray Around the World: A Christmas Experience for Families by Beth Gorden

Celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way as a family as you craft and pray around the world. You will take a closer look at 24 countries around the world – how they celebrate Christmas, make an ornament craft representing the Christmas traditions, and then spend time praying for 3 specific things for that country.

Christmas Around the World: A Pop-Up Book
by Chuck Fischer

Featuring France, Germany, Russia, Latin America, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States, every spread is packed with delights: a luxurious central pop-up image, plus removable booklets, pullouts, mini pop-ups, and more.

Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins

Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas reveals the people, places, and events that shaped the best-loved customs of this merriest of holidays and how they all point to Christ.

resources you might find helpful in your classroom

About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.