Holidays Around The World is one of our favorite units in kindergarten. Celebrating Christmas and Holidays Around The World allows us to explore so many cultures, customs, holidays, and traditions. This highly engaging research project is perfect for December and for meeting social studies standards.
Holidays Around The World: The Trip
When you’re going on a trip around the world you have to fly on a plane. And if you’re going to fly on a plane, you need a ticket. Each day each student gets a plane ticket for the country we visit. (The editable airline tickets are included in our Holidays Around The World Creation!)
Then, of course, you have to fly to the country you want to visit. To accomplish this feat, we use Google Earth!
And for even more fun, we actually get on our jet and “take off” to the country we’re visiting! To find this video of the jet taking off, click HERE!
When traveling internationally, you also need a passport! Each student gets a passport. They color the stamp for the country and we use a date stamp to stamp the date we visit the country!
Holidays Around The World: The Countries
For our Holidays Around The World project, we visit 14 different countries. For each country we do a read-aloud, use an informational PowerPoint to learn facts about how the country celebrates Christmas or what holiday they celebrate, complete a graphic organizer and the students complete their research journal page.
The read-alouds are not necessarily informational but relate to the country or holiday or some piece of how that country celebrates Christmas or holidays. For example, we read a Christmas tree book for Germany because Christmas trees are important in their celebration. For Mexico, we read The Night Of Las Posadas which is a story about part of the celebrations in Mexico. (Our read aloud list is included in our Holidays Around The World creation!)
Then we view an informational PowerPoint for the country. This is the research portion of the project. We learn how to say Merry Christmas in the language, and we learn about decorations, food, who brings presents, and things that make their culture and celebrations unique. (Our powerpoints are included in our Holidays Around The World creation!)
The information from the PowerPoint helps us complete our graphic organizer!
Holidays Around The World: Customs And Traditions
We also try to bring in activities, customs, and traditions from as many countries as possible. And this: INVOLVE THE FAMILIES! We are so blessed to have a diverse population so we have families make homemade foods, and provide decorations, clothing, etc. So take this opportunity to make this unit personal and really involve families!
When we visit England, we watch The Queen give her Christmas speech. Every year, this is the quietest 10 minutes ever. I love how fascinated the kids are by THE REAL QUEEN! (The video of the Queen’s Speech is found HERE!)
In Germany, St. Nicholas leaves treats in shoes. So we leave our shoes outside of our classroom hoping St. Nicholas will leave us treats!
For Mexico, we bust a piñata!
We also display the flags of each country we visit! As well as decorations from different countries and holidays. We have a menorah, we have poinsettias, we have a kinara for Kwanzaa, etc.
Holidays Around The World: Art
Art is a big part of our classroom and a big part of our Holidays Around The World adventure! For each country, we do a craft or art project to represent some aspect of the country and how they celebrate Christmas. (NOTE: these are NOT included in our creation but can be found on a blog post linked below!)
For more Holidays Around The World craft ideas, check out this post:
Holidays Around The World: Food
We also use food to celebrate Holidays Around The World. For the food, we take two approaches. As much as possible, we use authentic food from each country: tamales from Mexico, panotonne from Italy, etc. The other approach is to use food and snacks to represent parts of the culture. For example, Swiss Cake Rolls are yule logs, Christmas Tree cakes for Germany, chocolate cake for Buche de noel from France, and crab dip for seafood. (We do include some recipes and snack ideas in our Holidays Around The World creation!)
This is another great time to involve families. I send home a note explaining what we’re doing and asking if anyone wants to contribute food. We’ve had homemade King cake, homemade banana pudding, homemade rice pudding, etc. Families love being involved and this is the perfect way to have families contribute to the classroom.
Holidays Around The World Read Alouds
Our Holidays Around The World Research Project addresses these social studies standards: (These are the Tennessee standards, but should be similar everywhere)
K.12 Explain that a map is a drawing of a place to show where things are located and that a globe is a round model of the Earth.
K.3 Compare family traditions and customs among different cultures.
K.4 Use diagrams to show similarities and differences in food, clothes, homes, games, and families in different cultures.
K.W.RBPK.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects, such as reading a number of books by a favorite author and expressing opinions about them.
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