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  • Becky Cothern

The BEST 3 Thematic Units for December

December has so many opportunities for teaching. The only problem you will have with preparing lessons this month is which theme to use. These are my top 3 favorite theme ideas for December.

Gingerbread painting

Christmas Around the World

December is the perfect time to explore other cultures and talk about diversity with Christmas Around the World. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are three holidays that are celebrated in the month of December all around the world. So why not use the holiday season to embrace different cultures and teach students tolerance and love for the similarities and difference of others.

I LOVE taking the kids to different countries around the world as we set up our own airplane in the classroom and pretend to fly off to far off places. The kids love the interactive PowerPoint presentations include video clips, information, and real pictures from the countries. They learn about not only about the countries but about the people. Students are able to find ways that even though we are different we are still the same. Enjoy!!!

If you need help creating lessons and activities for this theme don’t worry I’ve got you covered with videos featuring 11 different cultures, writing pages for each country, and crafts or activities for each country.


Gingerbread has been associated with the holiday season for a long time. Children make gingerbread houses and eat gingerbread cookies. There are also a lot of activities that can be done using the gingerbread theme. One of my favorite gingerbread activities is to track the Gingerbread Man around the globe. You will need to send out sealed letters to parents asking them to contact friends and family in other countries and different parts of the country you live. Request that the person send a post card written from the Gingerbread Man to your school. As they come in the mail have students track the Gingerbread Man’s movements around the globe pinning each post card around a large world map. Just before Christmas break have the Gingerbread Man come back to the school. Students will set up traps to catch the Gingerbread Man and enjoy a yummy treat.

Gingerbread Map

If you need other fun activities to do with the theme try this gingerbread bundle full of fun and create activities to do with gingerbread. Enjoy!

North, South, and the Candy Cane Pole

If Santa lives in the North Pole why not learn about the poles. This thematic unit is a great way to bring the holiday spirit into the classroom. For the North Pole, try setting up Santa’s workshop in a dramatic play center. Students will follow directions to build toys, write notes and deliver mail to Santa’s workshop, and don’t forget delivering toys to children’s stockings. For the science center why not include books and videos of polar animals. Experiment with blubber using plastic gloves and shortening. Students could choose a favorite polar animal to write about in the writing center. Don't forget to sort the polar animals into North and South Pole in the math center.

Santa's Workshop

Need other fun activities try some of these below:

I hope one of these themes has helped you create a winter wonderland in your classroom this month. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and TPT to find other great products and ideas.

Family and Child Development Lab FB



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