It’s hard to believe that Christmas is so rapidly approaching! November is a great time to start getting into the Christmas spirit with decorations in the shops, Christmas pageants and parades happening, and schools exploring Christmas themes. It’s also a lovely time to stock up on new Christmas books for your family library.
It’s well recognised that reading aloud to your child is invaluable for their reading development and, of course, it provides a wonderful opportunity for bonding. The beautiful Christmas tradition of wrapping up 24 books and opening one each night starting December 1st leading up to Christmas is one lovely way to prioritise time reading together. Whether you take the book advent approach, or just enjoy reading Christmas books as part of your regular reading time, today I’ve compiled ten of my favourite Christmas picture books and I’ve added an activity idea for each as well.
10 Christmas Books & Matching Activity Ideas
The ‘Ollie’ series of books are just adorable and much loved by my 2 year old. This delightful little zebra and his best friend Fred the dog share their daily lives in a way young children can relate to. There are so many things they love about Christmas; twinkly stars, crinkly paper, baking a Christmas cake and decorating the tree!
Activity Idea: Stained Glass Christmas Cookie Recipe
This one is an absolute favourite in my classroom of 5 year olds at the moment! We are learning about Mem Fox as our author study for the term, and Wombat Divine tells the story of the Nativity as a class play. Lovable Australian animals dress up as the characters, but poor little wombat struggles to find the right part for him. Young children love dressing up and acting out this story themselves!
It’s important for young children to begin to learn that the weather at Christmas time is different depending on where in the world you are. The Very Snowy Christmas is a beautiful story about bravery and friendship between Little Mouse and Big Mouse. If you live somewhere snowy – make sure you take this opportunity to head out and build a snowman!
Activity Idea: If you don’t live somewhere snowy – don’t worry! Here’s a recipe to make your own!
4. The Aussie Twelve Days of Christmas by Heath McKenzie
I love the Aussie twist on the classic Twelve Days of Christmas. Get reacquainted with Australian animals while practicing early number concepts and counting 1-12 (older children could try adding up the total!). It’s also a great idea to compare the Aussie version to the original.
This ‘Wombat’ series is just delightful and the Christmas addition is no exception. Wombat loves eating carrots – but so do the reindeer! So he joins them on their expedition finding more and more carrots along the way. A great one to re-read on Christmas Eve before you put out carrots for the reindeer!
6. Why I Love Christmas by Daniel Howarth
This is a great one to get children thinking before a writing task. Every year I set the writing prompt “I love Christmas because…”, and we discuss how there are so many wonderful things that happen apart from receiving gifts. Spending time with family, singing Christmas songs and enjoying delicious food just to name a few.
Activity Idea: Find some more Christmas writing prompts for first and second graders here at Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s to get those pencils moving. You’ll be surprised how much more motivated children are to write when it’s about Christmas!
One of the most lovable characters in early childhood has to be Spot! Spot’s First Christmas is definitely on our Christmas book list this year. Spot helps his mum get ready for Christmas by decorating the tree and wrapping up all of the presents.
Activity Idea: Make Christmas tree decorations with your little ones or decorate and make your own Christmas wrapping paper.
In this classic tale, the mean, grumpy Grinch hates everything about Christmas and sneaks into the houses of Whoville and steals all of their Christmas presents, food and trees! But the Christmas spirit manages to shine through, leaving the Grinch with this classic quote;
“Maybe Christmas” he thought “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”
The delightful sing-song rhyming of Dr Seuss will engage children of all ages. My class absolutely love this one – they especially enjoy the song “You’re a Mean one Mr Grinch” too!
Activity Idea: Be deliberately un-grinchlike with these 24 simple random acts of kindness – that’s one for each day of advent.
This is a new one for me this year… I thought I knew every Eric Carle book until I came across Dream Snow, the story of a farmer who dreams of a white Christmas. One by one his animals are covered with snow, cleverly done with acetate snowflake overlay pages. There’s also a special surprise button to be pushed on the last page.
Activity Idea: Make your own snowy sun catcher.
The Frozen phenomenon is still going strong – and Olaf’s adventures the night before Christmas are sure to delight young readers. I love that it comes with a CD so children can read along and listen to the voice of Olaf himself! A great twist on a true Christmas classic!
Activity Idea: Make an Olaf Sock Snowman.
What are your favourite Christmas picture books?