Home >> A Earlychildhood >> Newsletters >> Early Childhood Newsletter Archive

Search form


Home > Early Childhood Newsletter Archives > Early Childhood Newsletter


Volume 6, Issue 20
December 8, 2008
Theme: Holiday Treats


Holidays evoke feelings of excitement and anticipation. No matter our age, we think about special treats to give or to share -- a show of kindness and compassion, a handmade gift, even homemade foods. This issue of our newsletter brings you some ideas for holiday treats. We hope they will help your children begin to understand the joy of giving -- the kind of giving that comes from the heart.

Happy Holidays!
Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter



Help your children understand that a dreidel is a toy. (If possible, have one on hand to show.) Explain that it is used in a game played by children often at Hanukkah, a winter Jewish holiday. Then let your students create their own edible dreidel snacks, which they can share together. Give each child a chocolate candy "kiss," a marshmallow, and a pretzel stick. Have on hand a tub of ready-made vanilla cake frosting. Ask children to unwrap the candies. Help them place a small amount of cake frosting onto the flat (bottom) side of it. Let children stick the candy onto a flat side of the marshmallow. Then children gently push their pretzel stick into another flat side of the marshmallow. Place dreidels on plates then together sing this dreidel song.

Do any of your students celebrate Kwanzaa? Invite those children to talk about their special holiday. Then let your class to make a Kwanzaa drum to give as a gift or to share with families. Provide each child with a coffee can with a lid. Help children cover their cans with a sheet of yellow construction paper. Let children press pieces of red and black vinyl tape (available at craft stores) around the can to form vertical stripes. A small amount of the yellow construction paper should also show between each piece of red and black tape. The final pattern should look like this: black tape stripe, small yellow paper stripe, red tape stripe, small yellow paper stripe, black tape stripe, and so on around the can. Children might add safari animal stickers on top of the stripes to create an African motif. Finally, you might choose several Kwanzaa songs to play for the class (from CDs that are readily available in stores and online) and invite children to tap the lids of their drums with the beat of the music.

Try making these cute cookies with children just before your holiday break: Using store-bought sugar cookie dough, invite children to cut out heart-shaped cookies. Bake cookies according to package directions. When cookies are cool, turn the heart shapes upside down. Let children use canned white frosting to cover the two lower rounded parts of the heart. Top the frosting with shredded coconut to create Santa's beard. Fashion Santa's hat by using red tube icing to fill in a triangle-shaped area that comprises about the top third of the cookie (including the pointed area at the top of the cookie, which was the bottom of the heart before you turned the cookie upside down). Trim that triangle with more frosting and coconut. Add two chocolate chips for eyes. Use a dot of red icing just above the beard to make a nose. Carefully place completed cookies into individual sandwich bags so children can take them home as gifts. Copy this rhyme onto squares of paper and tie with yarn through a hole in the sandwich bag.

This Santa heart holds something dear…
All my love throughout the year.

These treats will make a sweet gift! Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Let children help place small waffle-shaped pretzels (Snyder's makes them) onto the paper. Invite children to place an unwrapped Hershey's kiss (any kind without a nut) on top of the pretzel. Bake the pretzels for 4 to 6 minutes or until chocolate feels soft. Remove pretzels from oven and press an M&M into the center of the kiss. Refrigerate the Pretzel Yums for 15 minutes, then wrap handfuls in small gift bags for giving.

Talk about holly and how it is often used as a symbol of the holiday season. Then have your students make cute gift tags or decorative banners with this simple holly design:
--- Pour red finger paint into a margarine container lid. Do the same with green finger paint. Give children paper strips (about 1-foot long). Show children how they can press their index fingers into the green paint and press them onto the paper strip making two green prints that are at a slight angle to each other. Those are the holly leaves. Next, press the tip of a pinkie into the red paint and press it where the two leaves are closest together. That is the holly berry. Let children give it a try on scrap paper. Once they get the "hang" of finger printing, invite them to continue forming a pattern on the paper strip. Children can later take it home to hang on a door or over a window.
--- Encourage children to follow the same holly-printing procedure on small squres of poster stock paper. When their designs are dry, punch a hole in the corner of the square and tie a piece of red ribbon through the hole. What cute gift tags!


Check out the following Web sites for additional background and activities.

Hanukkah Crafts for Kids
You'll find lots of craft ideas and some coloring sheets too.

Family Tree Frames
These are fun for kids to make and great for gift-giving.

Cinnamon and Spice Ornaments
More great gift ideas here.

North Pole Secret Village
What a COOL site! It's filled with stories, printable activities, recipes, and more. Take a trip to the North Pole and choose the activity that fits your needs.

Children Activities for the Month of Ramadan
Scroll down to project six: The Moon Project. It provides a simple craft that will help children begin to understand the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

Christmas Crafts for Children
Many Christmas crafts for children to make and give.

Christmas Around the World
This is a very nice site that provides easy-to-understand information about how Christmas is celebrated in England, Finland, Italy, Mexico, France, and even New York.