Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

It’s the most wonderful (and busy) time of the year. And I’ve got you covered with a set of printable activities that will give you easy, fun ways to bond with your little ones over seasonal fun—and even build some learning into your festivities!

These six sweet activities are specifically designed to make nurturing and teaching reading a natural part of your holiday plans. There are activities with Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and New Year’s themes. 

They will help you use everyday activities like Elf on the Shelf, baking & cooking, and arts & crafts to incorporate learning in a fun & joyful way!

Download the Holiday Play & Learn Activity Kit and get 6 printables that will help you:

   ⛄ Use Elf on the Shelf to encourage writing & imagination

   ⛄ Bake memories with three easy DIY recipes that blend family fun & reading practice

   ⛄ Have your budding reader color in printable bookmarks to tuck into favorite books

   ⛄ Reflect and connect with a New Year’s family memory activity

Inside you’ll find:

Elf Pen Pal Writing Paper

The Elf on the Shelf is incredibly popular, and for lots of good reasons—it can be really fun and contributes to the magical feeling and anticipation of Christmas.

But it can also have a downside. The elf is nominally about spying on kids’ behavior and reporting to Santa on whether it’s gift-worthy. This concept could reinforce a materialistic view of the holiday and cause a child’s relationship with the elf to tilt away from Christmas values such as charity, togetherness, and love.

But never fear! You can use your Elf on the Shelf for social-emotional learning, family bonding, and literacy practice, instead—by turning it into a Christmas pen pal for your kids. Get tips in the kit, plus adorable elf-themed writing paper to use.

Read with Me Holiday Recipes for Kids

Maya Smart Read with Me Recipes are printable recipes that are easy for kids to make and read. Simple words and short sentences in a clear font set your little one up for reading success. 

The idea is to make it quick and fun for you to mix reading and writing into everyday life with your child. This kind of “everyday literacy” is key to raising thriving readers.

You can read these recipes aloud to pre-readers or encourage beginning readers to sound it out themselves. Use the recipes with young kids of any level, from tots who don’t recognize any letters of the alphabet to early readers. 

Download the activities to get three printable holiday recipes for kids: DIY christmas ornaments, latke potato pancakes, and yogurt bark—plus tips on how to use them to foster learning along with fun.

Color-Your-Own DIY Holiday Bookmarks

DIY bookmarks are a fun and easy activity, stocking stuffer, or DIY gift. The kit includes three sets of color-your-own holiday bookmarks, with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa themes.

Activity: Making a personalized bookmark is a fun way to encourage reading—even when it’s just your little one turning the pages to look at the pictures. This “pre-reading” builds the reading habit and book love. 

Stocking stuffer: The undecorated bookmarks can make a fun and free last-minute mini-gift for kids. You can even laminate the undecorated bookmarks to create reusable craft that your child can color again and again with dry-erase markers.

DIY Gift: Kids love giving gifts as well as receiving! Your child can color and decorate these cute bookmarks as a homemade gift for their loved ones.

New Year’s Coloring Worksheet 

In the same way that the key to a great morning is a good night’s sleep, a little-known trick to start your new year off right is to spend some quality time reviewing the year before. 

The printable activities include a cute worksheet and coloring page for your child to fill out with highlights and reflections about the past year.

First, help your child brainstorm what they want to include in the sheet. Back-and-forth conversation with you is key to building their brain in ways that facilitate reading later!

Then write their ideas down for them on the worksheet (or help them write a few words on their own if they’re able). They can also draw pictures to illustrate their ideas.

Know someone who might like these play & learn holiday activities? Share this post!