Are you looking for classroom Christmas party ideas that are also educational? Do you need fun ways to include math in your holidays around the world units? Read on to find ready to use holidays around the world math party ideas that are the perfect additions (no pun intended!) to your classroom Christmas activities!
Holidays Around the World Math Party Ideas
Take a math passport and travel around the world
Set up stations around the room with math games for different countries so your students can “travel”. No travels are complete without a passport! Give your students a math passport as they head around the world. Students stamp their “mathport” after they complete the math game in each country.
Cover groups of desks in butcher paper and set out games, and maybe even a snack from each country, for students to taste after they finish the task. Some of the treats I’ve found to use are Little Debbie Swiss Rolls for France, gingerbread cookies for Germany, gold coin chocolates for Israel, raisin bread to represent panettone for Italy, and fortune cookies for Chinese New Year.
One of my favorite read alouds in December is the Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola. This is a fun game to play along with it and makes a great addition to a holidays around the world themed math party.
Did you know the holiday gift-giver in Sweden is a gnome named Tomten? Rather than reindeer, his sled is pulled by a holiday goat. Children put out porridge for Tomten and a carrots for his goat. It is believed that if you don’t, Tomten will not leave presents!
Visit China and Play Tangram Games
Tangram patterns are called “Chin-Chiao Pan” meaning intriguing seven piece puzzle. They originated in China during the Tang Dynasty and are believed to have traveled to Europe on trading ships in the 19th century. These geometric shape puzzles were used by early Chinese mathematicians as a technique for problem solving.
ABCya has some great online tangram puzzle games for kids. Click here for ABCya website.
Play the Dreidel Game in Israel
Here’s a low prep, easy idea to add to your classroom party for students to practice adding and subtracting 2 and 3-digit numbers. Add a math element to the traditional dreidel game by turning dreidels into dice. Put a sticky dot with a number written on it on all four sides of the dreidel.
Students roll the dreidel to generate 2 or 3-digit numbers then add or subtract on scrap paper or on personal white boards. For older students, have them roll twice to generate two 1-digit numbers then multiply the numbers or draw arrays.
Project Game Cards on the Whiteboard
Make the most of your center games and task cards by projecting them on your whiteboard. Add a whiteboard center for students to visit as one of their rotations. We practiced adding to subtract on a number line by determining how far apart various countries are.
Try Gingerbread Math in Germany
Gingerbread is a favorite holiday tradition in Germany. Christmas markets pop up in towns across Germany during the holidays that are filled with gingerbread cookies, cakes, hot drinks and ornaments of all shapes and sizes.
Each year we “decorate for data” in my classroom by decorating gingerbread cookies (or this paper gingerbread man if I can’t find cookies that year) as glyphs. Click here to how we animated our cookies using Chatter Pix for students to record themselves interpreting each others’ glyphs. Check out our fun “take one bite” data and graphing activity too.
Find Number Patterns in Italy
Panattone is a beloved holiday tradition in Italy. Tony’s Bread, by Tomie dePaola is a wonderful story about panettone and the perfect read aloud for learning about holiday traditions in Italy. We used pictures of panettone to skip count and find number patterns.
I have found panettone at Walgreens, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s for students to taste once they finish at the center. And Costco has a yummy, French Buche de Noel, yule log shaped cake every December, but Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls work too!
Setting up centers is a great idea for a holiday math party that your admin will love. It keeps everybody engaged, still learning, and having fun!
I hope you’ve found fun holidays around the world math party ideas you can use in YOUR classroom. Be sure to save this post for later so you have it when you plan. If you don’t already have one, start a school ideas board on Pinterest! You can find my monthly school ideas boards right here.
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