Christmas Makes Math Fun
This holiday season, have fun with math by utilizing preschool Christmas graphing activities in the classroom. Graphing provides a concrete, visual comparison of numbers for children. It also gives your preschool children the opportunity to learn how to collect and organize information, develop their observational skills, practice their counting, interpret data and draw conclusions - all under the guise of having a good time!
What kinds of information can you graph? Here are several preschool Christmas graphing ideas which you can pick and choose from:
- Types of holidays celebrated at home (Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah).
- The number of children who write a letter to Santa vs the number of children who do not.
- Favorite kinds of holiday cookies.
- Favorite Christmas movie.
- Types of gifts on their Christmas wish list.
- Having a real Christmas tree or a fake Christmas tree at home.
- Different types of ornaments on a tree.
- Favorite Christmas songs or carols.
- When do the children open their Christmas gifts - Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
- Using plain white lights or colored lights on their Christmas tree at home - or which do they prefer.
- Choosing a star or an angel at the top of their Christmas tree.
- Wearing Christmas colors (red, green, white).
There are a variety of inexpensive materials which may be used in the preschool classroom for your graphing activities. Here are a few to get you started:
- Consider dedicating an entire bulletin board to your graphing lessons. Simply use yarn to create the rows and columns. A large board will provide an easy visual for the lessons, and will serve as a colorful way to show parents what you have been working on.
- No bulletin board available? A magnetic board or chalkboard can be used instead. You can still use the yarn to create the graphing grid, and adding simple magnets to the back of construction paper squares for a bar graph or cut-out pictures for a pictorial graph makes creating and changing your graph a snap!
- A large, blank wall can also be turned into a permanent or temporary graphing area. Just follow the same steps you would for a bulletin board or chalk board.
- No permanent space available? Why not use a large, vinyl or plastic table cloth to create a blank graph which may be laid on the classroom floor.
- Using a photo of each child is a quick and easy way to create graphs. Simply create the graph, pose the question, and the ask the students to place their photo in the grid as a way of providing their data.
- Another fun idea is to create a living graph! Have the students use their bodies to show where their answer lies on the graph. Once everyone is in place, the teacher can take a group photo with a digital camera. The image can be downloaded to a laptop or SmartBoard, and the data can then be analyzed together as a group.
- Incorporate your preschool Christmas graphing activities into snack time. Many sites, like the National Center for Education Statistics, offer a sample graph that can be customized, photocopied, laminated and used as individual placemats. Consider using red and green fish crackers, or other holiday treats, as markers to create a graph, or show the graph on your SmartBoard and ask the students to re-create the same graph data on their individual placemats. When finished, the children will have fun eating their data!
Questions to Ask
A few simple questions will help the children analyze the data they have collected and used to create their holiday graphs:
- How many are in each column?
- Which had the most responses? Or, which answer was the most popular?
- Which had the fewest? Or, which answer was the least popular?
- Were there any responses which had the same amount?
- After looking at this data, what can you say that you have learned?
The popular website brainpopjr.com has a great tutorial for kids explaining tally marks and bar graphs, which you may wish to review with your preschoolers before beginning any graphing activity.
If you have more ideas for preschool Christmas graphing activities, be sure to leave them in the comments section below!