Christmas is right around the corner, so the elves are hard at work! As the weather gets colder and we find ourselves spending more time indoors, I’m always looking for fun ways to get us moving and get some energy out. Get your kids into the elf spirit and use up that energy with this fun read aloud and some festive learning activities!
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Elf in the House was written by Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrated by Adam Record. This peppy book follows a little girl as she goes through the house on Christmas Eve, meeting new friends and discovering lots of surprises. As she comes across new characters, they join her on her trek. The peppy rhyming and rhythm of this book make this a fun read aloud (and one that will definitely get you moving!). The bright illustrations are a lot of fun and kids will love acting this one out!
Act It Out – The peppy rhythm of this story and the fun actions in the text make this a great story for kids to interact with! As you read the story, have kids dance along and perform the actions along with the characters. Have them sneak on tip toe, march with the mouse, and do a jingle bell hop with the elf. You could even have them add in their own actions based on the story. Maybe they roll on the ground laughing when the elf giggles, or prance like a reindeer when he appears.
Follow the Path – We decided to move around our house like the characters in the book. To create our path, I first had my daughter help me to create ornaments out of paper plates. I then wrote instructions on the ornaments and spread them in a line around our house. As we moved from ornament to ornament, we had to perform silly actions which worked on different skills. Some of ours included: spin like a snowflake, prance like a reindeer, use a candy cane to pick up two candy canes, etc).
You could also use this in conjunction with the story. Set your action ornaments in a circle. Have kids move from ornament to ornament as you read. Whenever the characters hear the next noise (there is an obvious stop in the story when this happens), have kids stop where they are and perform the action on that ornament. (You could also use Christmas music and have them stop when you pause the music).
Go on your own hunt
Find the Elf – As the characters move through the house, they find more signs of Christmas. Encourage your kids to roam through the house on the hunt for their own signs of Christmas. Use a small Christmas stuffed animal or cut out simple Christmas shapes from construction paper (like this simple elf hat). Hide them around the house for your kids to find. This activity is a great way to keep kids moving on the cold days when you can’t be outside.
Rhythm and Music – This book provides a fun way to get kids moving and creating their own festive music. Give kids a variety of tools they can use to create some of the sounds in the book. You can use jingle bells for the elf, and use plastic cups on the table or floor to sound like the clip clop of reindeer prancing. Have them add the squeaks, jingles, clip clops and ho-ho-hos to the book as you read. Then have them use their musical instruments to have your own Christmas music dance party!