It’s finally the Christmas holidays and, with all of the Nativity plays performed and enjoyed, season’s greetings exchanged and perhaps one too many mince pies, it’s time to set your sights on the holidays. The time away from school and work means you can finally spend some quality time together as a family, playing games, eating together and watching all the festive favourites in front of the fire. However, those with slightly larger families know that, whether you’re hosting the whole family or not, there’s lots of work to be done before the big day. There are times where you will need to get chores out of the way and require something to keep the children occupied so that you can complete tasks as soon as possible.
After Christmas, this is less of an issue, as they will have an array of new toys and gadgets to keep them entertained for hours, and that’s before you’ve set the task of thank you cards! Alas, for those few days before Christmas Day, it is a slightly more difficult task. We’ve already made a list of homemade Christmas gifts that children can make, and now we are going to list five fantastic Christmas-themed websites, that are as educational as they are fun, creative ways to pass the time over the holidays.
Norad Tracks Santa – (https://www.noradsanta.org/)
A firm festive favourite for most, Norad Tracks Santa is a fantastic website that allows kids of all ages to track Father Christmas on his progress around the world on Christmas Eve. The site allows them to follow his journey using live maps and updates; the perfect way of getting them to bed or sleep at a somewhat reasonable time. That said, the site is not only active on December 24th – there are a plethora of educational and fun activities to enjoy in the run-up to the big day. Christmas carols, games and puzzles are all available in four difficulty settings, making it appropriate for pupils of a wide range of ages. The tracking of Father Christmas himself will not only help to build excitement for the following day, but will also expand their knowledge and understanding of the geography of the world, and how far away each country is, as well as an introduction to the idea of different time zones.
Christmas Around the World – (http://www.crewsnest.vispa.com/journey.htm)
This website is a great way to expand the knowledge of your children and open their minds to the plethora of cultural traditions that occur all over the world during this time of year. There are eight different countries to choose from, and each will explore the varying traditions, histories, climates, and festive foods, from the blue skies of Australia in December to the visit from Joulupukki (Father Christmas) to the children of Finland. You can task children with creating a poster for each country, using felt tips and paper, or even ask them to put on a play about how Christmas is celebrated all around the world!
Northpole – (https://northpole.com/)
This site is packed full of fun and festive activities for kids to unwrap and will keep them entertained for those hours you need to get everything done before the big day. Children can write personalised letters to Santa, create winter-themed magical Christmas stories and even find out if they’ve made it onto the nice list with a fun quiz! The website is also home to a variety of homemade gift ideas, baking recipes and ways of getting creative over Christmas; perfect for those who need a little longer to prepare, without the worry of keeping the children entertained. There are even educational activity sheets and Elf Pal Academy Challenges for those who want to test themselves!
MerryChristmas – (http://www.merry-christmas.com/)
The ultimate interactive online destination for children this Christmas, where they can listen to Christmas music, play festive-themed games, read stories, poems and jokes and learn all about the history of each tradition. There are also areas dedicated to Christmas recipes, gift inspiration and anything else Christmas-related you can think of; a fun way to pass the time prior to the big day.
These websites provide entertainment for at least a few hours, and are the perfect distraction for any parents with some last-minute gift-wrapping! Here at St Peter’s Prep School, we acknowledge the importance of understanding how different cultures celebrate the festive season and why, along with the events in history that have led to the celebrations that take place today. A very Merry Christmas from everyone at St Peter’s, we hope you enjoy all the festivities and Happy New Year!