An Activity for Christmas

Here’s a Christmas activity to use with elementary school children which you can keep going all the way through December : making an Advent Calendar.

Objectives of the lesson :
To revise and consolidate pronouncing and writing the date; to introduce or consolidate lexis associated with Christmas.

You’ll need :
A real advent calendar if you can get one; a normal calendar or diary to check the dates; and the following things for each pair of children – two sheets of paper, one white and one coloured, A4 or A3 depending on the number of lessons you have in December, a ruler, coloured pens or pencils, scissors, a glue stick, and sellotape.


A. Vocabulary Review
  • Revise the pronunciation and writing of dates in the language you are teaching.
  • Show the children an advent calendar, and check that they understand what it is. Ask (in the foreign language) What’s the picture for December 12th? and let the children open it and find out. Put the words on the board – NB try and use a calendar with simple Christmassy objects that the children have met in previous years.
  • Ask them to look at the real calendar and work out the number of lessons which they have with you in December, and when they are. Write the dates up on the board.

B. Making the Calendar

  • Give each pair of children a piece of white paper. With a ruler they should draw a square for every lesson in December, and inside draw and colour a picture of a Christmas object. They also write the name in the box.
  • They then place the coloured paper over the white paper, and draw a square in exactly the same position as on the sheet below. (1) They then cut around three sides of each square on the coloured paperto make the door.
  • They then rub the glue stick between the pictures on the white piece of paper, taking care not to get glue on the pictures themselves. The coloured paper is then stuck on top of the white paper, leaving the doors free. On each door, the children write the date of a December lesson, and then stick it down with a very small piece of sellotape across the join – just enough to close it, but not so much that it will tear when it's reopened.
  • The calendars are then given in to be kept by the teacher, or if possible are pinned up on the wall.

C. Using the Calendar

  • At the start of each lesson during December, give out the calendars, one to each pair of children (or ask each pair to go in turn to one of the calendars pinned on the wall) making sure that no-one is looking at the calendar they made themselves. In turn, each pair opens the door for that date and says what the picture is.


(1) With smaller children, give them the pieces of paper with the boxes already drawn on.