1. Read “The Polar Express.”
2. Sing carols.
3. Play “Conductor Says” — Simon Says with a Polar Express twist.
4. Do crafts: Reindeer hats & “Magic Reindeer Food.”
5. Give presents. (Candy canes and Jingle Bells on leather cords.)
This is the simplest program that I have ever created for 3 to 7 year olds — and I’ve done it three times in the five holiday seasons that I’ve been at my current job. It’s such a great way for little ones and their families to participate in the holiday season! Here’s a few things I’ve learned through my years of doing this program:
1. The book is a long book; make sure to engage children with questions throughout. Tuck a bell in your pocket and when the boy receives his bell, pull yours out. It *will* grab any kid not paying attention back to the story.
2. No one will really care who wins “Conductor Says.” And it’s not worth it to try and get a three-year-old to sit out after they’ve “lost” the game.
3. Making “Magic Reindeer Food” will inevitably leave you with a gigantic mess of sprinkles, sugar, and oats on the floor. Remember to have a broom nearby!
4. Give the candy cane presents to the parent; give the bell to the child. At my first year doing this, I mistakenly gave the children the candy and I had several meltdowns on my hands when parents demanded the candy to wait until after dinner.