Even those ESL teachers who are not artistically inclined must admit that no Christmas lesson is complete without fun Christmas crafts.
They are as important as the stories you read and the carols you sing. The good news is that even though arts and crafts may not be your strong suit, there are plenty of fun, simple crafts that any teacher can do. So, this holiday season, gather your supplies and get crafty with your ESL students.
Making Christmas cards in the ESL classroom is an absolute classic, but why have your students simply fold a white sheet of paper in half and draw in it, when you can use these fabulous templates! This worksheet includes printable templates for five stunning cards – an absolute must-have this holiday season! Each card includes some of the typical Christmas greetings, but you may choose to not print them and have students write their own personalized Christmas wishes.
You’ll need some red and some yellow construction paper, plus glue and tape. Cut strips of red and yellow construction paper, of approximately 3 inches wide. Take one yellow strip and loop it into a circle. Tape the two ends together. This is the center of the poinsettia. Cut the red strips into tear shapes. Glue these “leaves” around the yellow middle with the pointy side facing out (to resemble poinsettia leaves). Loop another yellow strip through the center, which can be used to hang the flower as a decoration.
You’ll need one cup of salt, one cup of water, 3 cups of flour, food coloring, paint, brushes, glitter, and Christmas cookie cutters. Mix the ingredients to make the dough. Students make their ornaments with the Christmas cookie cutters. Use a sharp pencil tip to make a hole at the top of each. Let dry for a couple of days, then, they’re ready to be painted and decorated with glitter!
Pine Cone Ornaments
You’ll need some pine cones, white, red, or green paint, glue, and anything you may want to use for decoration, like glitter, sequins, garland, etc…Dip the pine cones in paint, and once they’re dry, have students decorate them. Tie some string or ribbon to the top to hang, or paint the bottom brown to make them look like Christmas trees.
Snowman Picture Magnet
Ask students to bring pictures of themselves. Cut out a snowman shape out of white construction paper. Paste the student's face where the snowman's face should be. Students “dress” their snowmen by cutting out hats and scarves out of construction paper. Decorate with pompons, cotton balls, glitter, etc...Glue a magnet onto the back, and your students will have a great gift for their parents.
You’ll need two small jingle bells per student, pipe cleaners, clear plastic cups, and stickers or other things for decoration. Show students how to string the bells with the pipe cleaner. Show them how to twist it into an 8. The top half of the 8 goes through a hole in the cup and the bottom, with the jingle bells, is inside the plastic “bell”. Students decorate their bells.
Edible Christmas Trees
You’ll need some sugar ice cream cones, green-colored icing, sprinkles, and gum drops, plus plastic knives and paper plates. Give each student a paper plate, a plastic knife, and an ice cream cone. All they have to do is place the cone with the tip pointing up, and start decorating their Christmas trees! They can be taken home, but they will probably not make it there!
You’ll need white construction paper and skin tone paper, plus yarn in different hair colors and pipe cleaners. Students trace both hands on white paper for the angel’s wings, and they trace one shoed foot on skin tone paper for the body. The heel of the foot is the head. Students glue the “wings” onto their angels, then, draw faces and glue the yarn for hair. Make a halo with the pipe cleaner, and decorate wings with glitter.
A great way to display class spirit on your bulletin board! Have each student trace one of their hands on green construction paper and cut it out. Glue the hands, fingers out, in a circle to make your wreath. Students decorate with glitter, sequins, garland, etc…; they can get as creative as they want in their group effort.
Reindeer Treat Holder
You’ll need some brown paper or plastic cups, light brown, dark brown, black, and white construction paper, and red pompons, plus glue. Students draw and cut out one pair of antlers from light brown paper, then, one pair of ears from the dark brown paper. Next come two white circles for the eyes and two smaller black circles for the pupils. They glue everything onto the paper cup and finish with the red pompon nose. Fill each of your students’ cups with treats to take home!
Let’s not forget that you may take the opportunity to accomplish some of your ESL goals. Before getting started on each art project, share with your students some background information on what you’ll be working on, like the poinsettia or reindeer. Here's a very informative Christmas reading worksheet you may wish to use.
And don’t forget to go to our Christmas Section for more holiday activities and worksheets!
Claudia has been an ESL teacher for 20 years and has taught a wide variety of students from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, complete beginners to advanced students. This vast teaching experience has helped her write over 100 articles for BusyTeacher.org. When she is not teaching, she is also a freelance travel writer contributing reviews for V!VA Travel Guides' upcoming Uruguay edition, as well as travel articles and blog posts for a variety of online publications. She is currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina with her spunky 7-year old daughter and crabby 10-year old cat, Ulysses. Google +.