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30 Activities, Crafts, and Printables for The Polar Express

Over 30 go-along crafts, activities, and printables for The Polar Express

Our kids still enjoy The Polar Express book by Chris van Allsburg and the go-along movie. When we pull out our stash of Christmas books, it is so much fun to see the favorites and re-read them! No matter how old you are, there is something magical about the Christmas season!

Here is a collection of activities, crafts, and printables that you can use with your kids or classroom when reading (or watching) The Polar Express.


Activities to Go-Along

hot-chocolate-sensory-bin-scooping

Polar Express Crafts

pom-pom-hot-cocoa-mug-craft-for-kids

Snacks & Yummies

graham-cracker-train

Science Tie-ins

polar-express-science

Printables

Read the Story Online

If you don’t have a copy of The Polar Express at home, or if you’d like to do something a little different, read it online here (read by Liam Neeson). 

 

The Snowy Day Activity Ideas

Like this? Don’t miss my post 35 Activities, Crafts, and Printables for The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats.

activities, crafts, and printables to go along with The Snowy Day

Christmas Theme Printables List and Linkup

Christmas Theme Printables

There are SO many wonderful FREE Christmas theme printables available for you to use with your kiddos during the Christmas season. Truthfully, these are just a FEW of the very many for you to download for FREE! At the end of this post there is a linky, so if you have a free printable set you would like to add to the linky – please do!

In the meantime, be sure to check out these free Christmas theme printables…

Christmas Printables - Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree Printable Pack from Homeschool Creations

Christmas Printable - Nativity Preschool Pack

Nativity Preschool Pack from 1+1+1=1

Christmas Printables - Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree Printables {ornaments, ebook and Calendar Cards}

Christmas Printables - Christmas Trees

 

Christmas Printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler

Christmas Printables - Christmas Coloring

12 Days of Christmas Coloring Pages from 1+1+1=1

 

Christmas Printables - Early Childhood Pack

Christmas Early Childhood Printable Pack from A Heart for Home

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Christmas Tot School Box from Spell Outloud

 

Christmas Printables - J is for Jesus

J is for Jesus Preschool Printables from Confession of a Homeschooler

Christmas Printables - Nativity PreK Pack

Nativity Pre-K Pack from Over the Big Moon

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Nativity PreK/K Pack from This Reading Mama

 

Link Up Your Christmas Themed Printables

Do you have a FREE Christmas themed set of printables that you would like to share? Leave a link to your pack using the Linky below! The linky will be open until the end of December.

 

 

This linky is intended only for free Christmas themed printables and links may be deleted if they do not meet the guidelines.

Christmas and Advent Resources for Families

Christmas and Advent resources for families

Each year, our family tries to get as much out of the Advent season leading up to Christmas ~ and focus on the REAL reason for the season. There are SO many fabulous Christmas and Advent resources available for families so they can learn more about the birth of Jesus and have fun together at the same time. Over the years we’ve found some great resources {and are always adding new things} to our box to pull out and use together. Here are a few of our favorites divided out by category.

For Younger Hands {Tots, Preschool and Younger Elementary}

truth_in_the_tinsel_250

Younger kids can get all crafty thanks to the Truth in the Tinsel ebook {now also available in Spanish and with a handy ornament coloring pdf!!}. Truth in the Tinsel shares 24 activities {one for each day in the month of December}, but also offers alternate schedules in case 24 seems too overwhelming for you to do {ahem…which is entirely possible and okay if it is!}. 

For Elementary Ages

everyday-emmanuel-bundle-from-whats-in-the-bible

The folks at What’s in the Bible have a fabulous study called Everyday Emmanuel that you can use along with Why Do We Call it Christmas? with all your kids. The advent study is a pdf download that goes along with the dvd and includes a countdown to Christmas calendar, weekly advent devotionals and ornament activities, a question and discussion guide, family activity ideas as well as additional resources.– much fun! Our family has LOVED What’s in the Bible and I’m excited these two tie in together. 

For Daily Bible Study with Kids

bojs

In past years we have used the Birth of Jesus study from Grapevine and everyone {including Kaleb} could participate. The stick figures are oh-so-easy to draw! We had the Multi-Level Teacher Guide E-book and Student e-book for Multi-Level.

Family Reading

Advent stories for families Jothams Journey

Years ago, we were introduced to the Jotham’s Journey series by Arnold Ytreeide – the four books are Jotham’s Journey, Tabitha’s Travels, Ishtar’s Odyssey, and Bartholomew’s Passage. Each year your family will read a different book in the series in the days leading up to Christmas. Our kids have loved seeing how the stories and characters overlap. The daily readings each end in a cliffhanger, so the kids are always asking for more (and the adults don’t mind listening either! 

Unwrapping-the-Greatest-Gift-12.jpg

Another resource we found two years ago was Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voscamp. The devotional focuses on the Jesse Tree and is such a story of redemption (our redemption!). Even the family tree of Jesus had its share of heartache and brokenness – and yet, we are fully His and made perfect. Really, just thinking about that amazes me each and every time. The 25 daily Advent readings, starting December 1st,  includes a Scripture passage for study, a devotional that is a perfect length (so kids stay focused), questions for discussion, and family activity suggestions. You can learn more about it HERE and find links to go-along resources as well.

Moms can work through their own celebration of Christmas with The Greatest Gift (also by Voscamp). It’s a great book to add to your shelf and pull out each Christmas with a cup of coffee or tea, curl up, and focus on the meaning of the season.



 

Do you have any special ways that you celebrate Advent together with your family? Any special Christmas and Advent resources you can share?  Leave a comment and share!

Graham Toffee Crunch Treats Recipe

graham toffee crunch treats recipe from Homeschool Creations copy

One of the Christmas recipes we’ve really enjoyed this year is Graham Toffee Crunch Treats. These are a bit of a twist on an old recipe, using graham crackers (something we had an abundance of from camping) in place of saltine crackers. We also added in an extra sprinkle of some toffee yumminess to the top and the kids have been gobbling it up!

With just a few days left before Christmas, this is a super quick and easy recipe to make, especially if you need a last minute gift to drop off for a neighbor or a yummy dish for a party. You’ll have nothing but tiny crumbs left!

Graham Toffee Crunch Treats

Graham Toffee Crunch Treats-12

Ingredients

  • 2 sleeves of graham crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag Heath toffee pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  3. Lay the graham crackers on the jelly roll pan, filling in around the edges as best as you can. Making them neat is pretty to start, but in the end it won’t matter.
  4. Melt the butter and sugar together in a pot over medium heat, stirring continually. Once the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to a boil for 2-3 minutes, continuing stirring.
  5. Remove from heat and pour evenly over the graham crackers. Spread over crackers using a small spatula.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips while still hot.
  7. Let the chocolate chips melt for a few minutes and then spread the chocolate over the top with a spatula.
  8. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 bag of the toffee bits.
  9. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to cool. Break apart into pieces and store in an airtight container.
    Note: you can also use saltine crackers in place of the graham crackers and it is equally as yummy!

      Other Recipes You May Enjoy

      Peppermint Bark Recipe


      Gluten Free Cookie Dough Balls

      Christmas Fine Motor Activities – Preschool & Kindergarten Community

      Preschool and Kindergarten Community weekly linkup

      Ready for another week of linking up and sharing ideas? I am so glad that you are stopping by today (really, I am!) and can’t wait to see what you all have to share this week. Be sure to stop by our PreK & K Pinterest board to see a collection of the different posts we are pinning – including yours!

      Don’t forget to link up a post or two of yours and share what you’ve been working on with your kids! Here are a few fun ideas from last week’s linkup.

      Snipping Santa’s Beard

      HOAWG-Santa

      Here’s a cute Christmas activity to work on fine motor skills from Hands On As We Grow. Have fun snipping Santa’s beard and get in a little bit of scissor cutting practice.

      Montessori Inspired Geo Board

      fine motor christmas activities

      Welcome to Mommyhood shares a tutorial to make your own Christmas geoboard along with some ideas for playing with your creation. Some wonderful Montessori inspiration!

      Toothpick Tree

      FMFxmas5

      A simple shoebox, some toothpicks, and pom poms are what you’ll need for this Christmas Tree activity from Stir the Wonder. It is a great activity to work on hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills with your preschooler.

      Christmas Tree GeoBoard

      Homeschool Preschool - geoboard Christmas tree

      This idea to make a Christmas tree geoboard from School Time Snippets is super cute. We made one of these with lite brites (aff link) and it was MUCH fun!

      Free Reading Activity

      Bake the Cookies Reading Freebie 

      If you’re looking for a cute {and sweet} reading activity, be sure to download the Bake the Cookies printable from All About Reading. It’s a little something to add some color and fun to your reading time. Download Bake the Cookies here.

       

      Follow the PreK and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board

      Preschool Pinterest Board

      Each week I am  pinning many of your links onto the Preschool and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board. I’m a visual person, so having pictures to help me remember posts is super helpful. Be sure to jump over and follow the board – and find some fun ideas at the same time!

       

      Were You Featured in the Preschool & Kindergarten Community?

      If you were featured in one of the weekly posts, feel free to grab the button coding below and display it on your site!

      Homeschool Preschool

       

      Link Up with the Preschool and Kindergarten Community!

      Homeschool Preschool: Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup at Homeschool CreationsShare what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you.

      Peppermint Bark Recipe – a Christmas Favorite!

      homemade peppermint bark recipe using essential oils - a yummy holiday treat

      One of the things that I most look forward to during the holiday baking and cooking season is Peppermint Bark. Left to my own devices, it is highly probable that I could consume massive quantities of it because let’s face it – chocolate + peppermint = yumminess. This peppermint bark recipe is one that has been tried, tested, and used for years in our house!

      The peppermint bark has also been fun to make in large quantities and gift some to friends and family to share the love. The fact that we also have an excuse to lick the chocolate spatulas when we are done has no bearing on the matter.

      Although recipes are not a weekly normal around the blog, we are enjoying some time in the kitchen over the next few weeks of December and getting a little more ‘practical’ learning on the table, so to speak. I’m not hearing any complaints from the kids, so I think we’ll keep it going! While we’re cooking, we figured we might as well share the yumminess (and the recipe) with you all as well!

      Peppermint Bark Recipe

      our favorite homemade peppermint bark recipe - easy and a great gift idea for the holidays

      (make 1.5  pounds)

      • 24 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (2 bags of chocolate chips)
      • 16 oz. white chocolate squares (3 boxes or 1.5 bags chips)
      • 8 candy canes, crushed
      • 4-5 drops of Peppermint Vitality essential oil (we use Young Living oils). You can also use 1 tsp. of peppermint extract, but we’ve found the essential oil does so much better!
      • 1-2 tsp. of coconut oil (optional)
        Note: I prefer using darker chocolate if possible – it’s one of my favorites. While semi-sweet is what we typically use, if I can find a darker chocolate, I use that too!

      Making Peppermint Bark

      homemade peppermint bark recipe using essential oils-5

      You’ll need a jelly roll pan (these are our favorite ones) to make this peppermint bark recipe. You can use a smaller cookie sheet for a thicker style bark (yum) as well.

      1. Line your jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
      2. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips using a double boiler. It’s harder to get the right consistency melting them in the microwave. The chocolate tends to get clumpy and hard if you overheat or do something wrong.
      3. Stir in 4-5 drops of peppermint essential oil (trust me – so good!).
      4. If needed, add a 1 tsp. of coconut oil to the melted chocolate to get a smoother consistency. You don’t want to add too much more, because it makes the chocolate a little softer, and when it is at room temperature it isn’t the right texture.
      5. Once melted, pour evenly over the bottom of the pan and spread with a  non-stick spatula. Invite a child to lick it clean – they will happily oblige.
      6. Pop the pan into the freezer to cool it down quickly. Wait about 30 minutes.
      7. Crush the candy canes into small pieces. I use a metal strainer to get sift the powder out of the mix (and we use it in hot chocolate). Set aside.
      8. Melt the white chocolate over the double boiler, adding a small amount of coconut oil if needed. As soon as it reaches the right consistency, pull the jelly roll pan out of the freezer and carefully pour it over the dark chocolate and spread it with a different spatula (since your kids obviously have been licking the last one.
      9. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over top of the white chocolate and gently press it into the white chocolate. Pop it back into the freezer for a bit to harden.
      10. Break the peppermint bark apart into pieces – no size is correct. Enjoy!