Classroom learning centers are often used in early childhood programs to allow the students to participate in hands-on learning activities. Typically, a facility might include centers for dramatic play, blocks, art, reading, sand, and music, to name a few.
During the allotted time frame that teachers would be responsible for students, there would be a structured Bible lesson, as well as time for free-play. The centers would be specifically designed to encourage learning through this free-play.
If you do have facilities designed for centers, it is always good to add new elements to coincide with particular themes or lessons. That way, children are always engaged! Here are some components that you can add to your centers for the Christmas season.
Classroom Learning Centers for Christmas
Dramatic Play Center: Add hand towels, scarves, or fabric remnants for head coverings, robes, sandals, a baby, and a cradle. You can decorate a back wall with a picture of a stable, hang a star from the sky, scatter stuffed animals around, and add hay bales for added effects.
Block Center: Post photographs of stables. Use regular old boxes if you do not have blocks available. The more children can use their imagination, the better!
Art Center: For ease, I would suggest only one art project at a time. Always make an example first and post. Here are suggestions for Christmas art:
- Christmas Print: Use paint, construction paper, and cookie cutters (star, bell, tree, baby, manger, etc.) to create Christmas prints.
- Christmas Star: Have poster board star templates and glue available for decorating with colorful collage items (yarn, pom poms, glitter, felt, tissue paper, etc.) to decorate the star which shone above Bethlehem. Hole punch and attach a ribbon/yarn and it can be used as an ornament.
- Christmas Gift Bag/Wrapping Paper: Decorate white or brown paper bags with Christmas stamps. Use a long white or brown paper roll to decorate likewise.
- Christmas Sticker Nativity: Make a barn outline out of Popsicle sticks. Glue to construction paper. Add stickers of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, etc into the barn.
Reading Center: Add a Christmas tree with lights to a cozy corner. Include any favorite Christmas picture book you may have or head to the library for some timeless classics. Some suggestions include: The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt, Under the Star by Jane Yolen, Who is Coming to our House by Joseph Slate, Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell, The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, and God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Sand Center: Add a sturdy manger scene to the sandbox. We love the Little People Nativity because it is so durable for little hands.
Music Center: Add bells (we found jingle bells at the dollar store), a xylophone, toy microphones, and a toy piano.
If you do not have access to instruments, make your own shaker with rice in an empty water bottle, make your own drum set with chopsticks and an oatmeal container or silverware on pots and pans.