Christmas Crackers 2020

‘It’s nearly here and we know as teachers how hard it is to get through the final weeks of the Autumn term in a ‘normal’ year but this has definitely not been a normal year! It’s cold, dark and damp, you are exhausted which is why we are offering you a range of Christmas crackers filled with fun digital activities to help lighten the load.

First in our festival offerings is Busy Things offering you a range of fun, festive digital content that you can use to get that much-needed magical moment of peace within your class. 

Santa’s Sleigh Dash! in this fun game the pupils help Santa to get as many presents delivered as possible! In the daytime, they collect as many presents as they can using the ‘giddy-up’ button to keep him in the air (on a desktop computer you can use the space bar too). They should make sure they avoid the red monsters or else it’s game over! At night time, they drop the presents down the chimneys by pressing the ‘throw present’ button (on a desktop computer they can use the space bar too). There are 3 other ways to play the game: ‘Words’ within this mode at night time you must select the present that matches the label on the chimney, ‘Mental Maths’ they must select the present that matches the amount on the chimney and ‘Shapes and colours’ during night time you must select the present that matches the shape/colour on the chimney.

Decorate a Christmas Tree: Whilst it may be that little bit too soon to get a real tree, you can enjoy decorating digital Christmas trees with the kids and add them to a snow scene. Use stickers, stamps and brushes to create delightful designs!

Write a letter to Santa! Children can let Santa know what they want for Christmas by writing and decorating a letter using our publishing tool. You can then print it ready for sending to the North Pole – did you know you can send letters to Father Christmas via Royal Mail and get a reply?  Find out more!

Design a Christmas card: Children can use lots of lovely paint tools and stickers to create their own custom Christmas cards.

Also, newly added are more fun colouring sheets which you can use digitally via Busy Paint or simply print them out.

Want even more Christmas activities for children? Have you got your Free Busy Things Christmas Activity Pack? Busy Things have created a free printable Christmas activity pack full of festive things to make and do! And it’s completely free to download too! Learn more about and download your Free Pack of Christmas Activities pack here.

The j2e Tool Suite has a Christmas winter wonderland tab found here, where you can access a bumper pack of festive treats. Why not try playing a game of digital noughts and crosses festively named ‘Shepherds and Wise Men”, play a word matching game, Take a Christmas quiz, create your own digital nativity scene? or get cooking with some tasty recipes?

Did you know that all of these resources are made with the powerful j2e5 application? If you select the edit button on each activity you can see how the activity was made and then ask your students to edit the activity and make their own versions.

Many tools with the j2e toolsuite have also had a Christmas makeover:

J2data (Branch): a Christmas set of resources to sort – elves, reindeer, gingerbread men etc. – plus a Christmas background and the clothes category are all winter clothes.

J2Pictogram: a set of high-quality Christmas clip art images to use.

JIT: Both Write and Paint have had a festive makeover, with a Christmas background in Write and Paint having high-quality Christmas clip art images to use.

J2code: Visual has a reindeer instead of the usual penguin sprite (also remember with the option to find a sprite via the internet search feature you find even more Christmas characters).

You can use also these Christmas images in the j2e Toolsuite to create your very own virtual winter land in your school (or in my frosty back garden) using the Augmented Reality Builder Adobe Aero.

For more details on how to do this, watch this simple video below:

Your students don’t need to be visited by the Ghost of Christmas past to see what has happened at Christmas time in the past. Let them search The Guardian and The Observer Archives, they go all the way back to 1791 and offer a window into celebrations from years gone by; great for your students to research and compare modern traditions with those in the past. 

Widgit has 3 ready-made activity packs you can download for Christmas, which can be found in the activities area of the Widgit resource. Widgit Symbols are simply drawn, colourful symbols designed to illustrate a single concept in a clear and concise way. They cover a range of topics (including many curricular areas) wide enough to make them suitable for symbol users of all ages and abilities. Already used by many SEND departments and schools, the entire symbol database of over 15,000 images is available to all LGfL schools to search and download.

Christmas Cards: 3 ready to print and fold Christmas card designs. Provided in the pack is a full-colour card for each of 3 designs or to make it more personal, each design also has a ‘colour your own’ version. Each card features Widgit Symbols and pictures and a symbolised greeting message on the front.

Christmas Pack: Worksheets and activities from the Symbols Inclusion Project, This pack contains a range of 21 activities based around the secular aspects of Christmas, suitable for children of different ages and abilities. The more difficult activities are numbered towards the end of the list. included in the pack is an interesting German folklore story about why we put tinsel on a Christmas tree.

Nativity Pack: Worksheets and activities from the Symbols Inclusion Project, 12 Nativity and Christmas themed activities and stories: colouring, word search, letters to Santa.

There are also ready-made packs for St Lucia (the Swedish Festival of Light) and Hanukkah. These resources are for whole-class work, small groups and independent workers. There are a symbol–supported stories, text-only stories, information sheets, recipes, crosswords, word searches and much, much more.

Audio Network has over 60,000 professionally produced tracks that can be searched by keyword or mood. Why not search for ‘festive’, ‘jolly’ or ‘Christmas’? You can use the tracks in lessons, performances and for any videos, you create in school – without breaking any copyright rules!

Here are my 5 top picks from the Christmas jukebox:

  • Swingle Bells: who needs the Michael Buble Christmas album when you have this up-tempo Christmas classic? (Cocktail, swing, jazz with crooning male vocal).
  • Swing Merry Gentlemen: Jazz trio arrangement of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’.
  • The Holly and the Ivy: Traditional English Christmas carol played by a brass band.
  • Rockin’ Wizards: A very familiar-sounding glam rock tune.
  • Warm And Toastie: Display an open fire video on the IWB, get out the marshmallows and put on this warm and cosy song.

Don’t forget it is never too late to send a Christmas card (did you know that this year we will send more Christmas than ever before?) unlock creativity this festive season and design your electronic (and environmentally friendly) Christmas greetings using #adobespark. Start your design from scratch or use the ready-made template Christmas Card designs, available here

What better way to see how people celebrated Christmas than to find out what they ate?! Cookit has a range of old and odd festive recipes to explore, here a few recipes to whet your appetite (or in some cases not!)

Sweet Frumenty: This is a standard dish appearing in many variations over the centuries. It makes a lovely side dish, especially with strongly flavoured meats. It was a symbolic dish in winter, a sign that spring would come. It later came to be served as a festival dish on Twelfth Night (5th of January).

Pottage: People ate a lot of pottage throughout the ages since they had first made cooking pots that would withstand heat. In Tudor times, it was still the main part of an ordinary person’s diet. It is basically a vegetable soup, flavoured with herbs and thickened with oats.

Roast goose: usually with added apple and was often served as the centrepiece of celebrations. It was traditional at Christmas and at Harvest suppers throughout the Victorian era. In Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’, Scrooge sends for a goose to be bought for the Christmas meal.

The aim of Cookit is to improve pupils’ skill, understanding and enjoyment of food and healthy eating. The site supports the teaching of a range of basic skills and processes. It encourages and inspire learners to explore cooking and supports ways for students to create and share their own recipes.

Whilst we are sorry to say we can’t get round to everyone’s house to drop something in their stockings, we can give you to the gift of various licences and services, LGfL bundles loads of extra value into our broadband service to save lots of money, safeguard children, keep data secure as well as providing access to some of the best educational software on the market today for free you can out about all of these services here.

However you fill the last few weeks of this school year, we at LGfL want to give you a massive round of applause and thank you for all of your hard work and support this year. We hope you have a restful break and are ready for hopefully a more stable 2021! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Don’t forget to please share your Christmas creations with us on LGfL’s Twitter or Facebook