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ESL Christmas Activities

Girl opening front door on Christmas eve

Christmas teaching kit for ages 3 to 7

Hello and welcome to this post on ESL Christmas activities. Here you’ll find Christmas lesson plan ideas that come with my Christmas story package to teach young learners English.

Teach your pupils about Christmas in our culture. It’s fun and interesting to learn about other cultures and the special days they celebrate.

The story is set in a typical home in England. You can see the Christmas decorations in the house and what happens on Christmas day. There’s fantasy in the story too, it’s not all fact, because I don’t think that Santa does really come with presents, at least I haven’t seen him yet!

This ESL Christmas lesson plan represents a complete unit to teach children Christmas vocabulary and traditions using a story, an ESL Christmas lesson plan, flashcards, bingo, Christmas crafts, games, and activities.

Vocabulary and Grammar

Present Tense, Present Continuous, Christmas vocabulary

The fictitious tale is a fun way to learn about Christmas customs typical in the English-speaking world and to practise the present tense.

Christmas vocabulary flashcards Included for the ESL lesson:

Reindeer, Christmas tree, lights, Christmas day, presents, Christmas eve, carol singers, sleigh, Christmas stocking, Father Christmas, turkey, and Christmas pudding

In addition, you’ll receive flashcards for this extra vocabulary, visible in story illustrations but not in the text: Holly, Mistletoe, Christmas decorations, Christmas Crackers

The ESL Christmas activities include games and crafts so your young pupils enjoy learning Christmas vocabulary and remember it!

father christmas and reindeer flying over rooftops

Extract from the ESL Christmas Lesson Plan

Here is an extract from the lesson plan with ESL Christmas activities:

Introduce the words Christmas treeChristmas decoration, and Christmas present through simple games like Jump the Line or Run and Touch. (Preschool/Primary games books)

Drawing activity

As a continuation, draw several trees on the board, more if you have a big group. Children come up, two kids per tree, and each draw a Christmas decoration on the tree. Use different colours and revise objects by drawing balls, angels, or lights on the tree. Repeat with children adding a present under the tree.  Presents may be different colours and shapes, as well as big and small.

Listening activity

Use the above idea as a listening activity where you tell the children what to draw, for example, “draw a blue Christmas decoration,” or “draw a green present.”

Speaking activity

As a speaking activity for more advanced pupils, let them draw whatever they like and tell the class what they drew. Alternatively, kids in the class can name the item, then take a turn drawing something on the board. Have several children drawing at once to involve more pupils simultaneously.

Guessing game

Use the presents under the tree as a guessing game.  First, four children draw a present (four at once to have more pupils actively involved and less sitting passively).  Then, they whisper to you what is inside the present. Next, children from the class call out different items until someone guesses what is in the present.  To make this game easier, display a selection of presents on the desk, preferably real objects, but flashcards will do if not. Flashcards can be stuck to a wall or down the side of the board.  Children call out those words repeatedly and hence learn and remember them well.

Younger children will adore being given the present that they guessed, especially if it is a real object, such as a toy car, doll, and so on. You won’t just use those toys for this ESL Christmas lesson plan since learners may acquire many common vocabulary words  through toys. For example, farm animals, clothing for dolls, all forms of transportation under the sun, household objects, furniture, etc.  So have fun and get down to your local car boot sale (UK), garage sale (US), charity shop, or second-hand store and build up your collection of toy models.  Toy models are more tangible and exciting than flashcards. Remember that if you have very young children to use big toys, they cannot swallow!

ESL Christmas activities

This blog post has more ESL Christmas activity ideas.

Stories and Songs for Special Days including Christmas

Christmas story

This story comes with beautiful pictures and two levels of text come with this story.

Story texts BASIC VERSION

The basic narrative is in the present tense using simple short sentences.  Much of the vocabulary has been covered in the early story sets.  Here are the first few texts for the basic version:

Picture 1

It’s Christmas Eve. See the Christmas tree and the presents.

Picture 2

Oh listen! (singing) I hear music. Hetty opens the door and sees her friends. They are singing Christmas carols.

Picture 3

Next, Hetty gives her pony water to drink. Then, she gives him an apple to eat.  Mmm, he loves apples. And she says good night.

Picture 4

Hetty is in bed.  It’s time to sleep, but she wants to stay awake. She wants to stay awake for Father Christmas.

So she waits and waits…and then she falls asleep!

Story text for high beginner, lower intermediate

This text is written as a rhyme, and here are the first few verses:

It is Christmas Eve.

See the Christmas tree,

Pretty lights, shining bright

And presents under the tree.

Picture 2

Tra la la la (sung on any notes, for example, fa mi re do)

It’s the carol singers,

Singing at the door,

Singing to celebrate Christmas

And raise money for the poor.

Picture 3

Hetty goes out to her pony.

He’s a dapple grey.

Pretty pony, have an apple

Some water and some hay.

Picture 4

Hetty goes to bed

To wait for Father Christmas.

She really wants to see him,

But she falls asleep instead.

Christmas Songs

On the album Teaching English Songs 3, two Christmas songs reinforce the language learned in the story. The songs are also in the present tense and use much of the same vocabulary as the story texts. Lyrics are simple and repeated to help easy learning.

Song extract for It’s Christmas Day

Presents under the tree, for you and for me, presents under the tree. And look! There’s one for me.

It’s Christmas Eve song extract

Stories and Songs for Special Days including Christmas

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