With all the excitement of receiving gifts this season, I wanted to create a literacy activity for my preschoolers that would take the focus form getting gifts to giving gifts. Try this easy phonological awareness activity using a predictable chart during your next circle time.
Activities to Teach Giving Using a Predictable Chart
This year I made a quick Christmas literacy activity using a predictable chart because I was looking for activities to teach giving. I did this by doing an “I Can Give…” predictable chart. It is just the Christmas literacy activity to teach the children not only about early reading concepts, but also about the spirit of giving.
I have to brag…I am a great gift giver.
I’m one of those people who think all year about the perfect Christmas gifts for those whom I adore the most. I make them personal and sentimental.
For example, one year before I had kids, I gave my husband a mountain biking themed Christmas. Everything in his stocking and everything under the tree was related to mountain biking, and each and every gift was the perfect combination of useful and enjoyable. From the mountain biking maintenance manual to the Giant brand mechanic’s shirt, the gifts were very well received, and my husband still remembers that Christmas very clearly.
Because, that was a time in our lives where my husband and I lived just minutes from some of the best mountain biking trails in the state, and we literally went every single day.
How to Teach Preschoolers the Spirit of Giving This Christmas
Here’s the thing. Physical and tangible gifts are awesome, but so are those gifts that are not material.
And that is what I wanted to teach my preschoolers this Christmas season.
You see, preschoolers are incredibly generous. My daughter, who is four, really wants to get me LASIK surgery for Christmas, because she hears me complain about having to wear contacts. My son wants to give me a string of pearls, because pearls are basically the only jewelry I wear, and he knows I love them.
But let’s be honest, no preschooler can afford such extravagant gifts, no matter how badly they want to give them.
So I wanted to teach my preschoolers the power of giving. I wanted them to understand that the spirit of giving doesn’t have to be tangible gifts that use up all their hard earned savings.
To do this, I created a Christmas predictable chart where we wrote down things we could give. And I wanted to stress to my preschoolers that some of the best and most thoughtful gifts didn’t require any money at all, but would still be treasured for years and years.
- chart paper
- family vocabulary cards
The Set Up
In advance, write the following sentence several times on the chart paper
I can give _____ a _____ for Christmas.
Have prepared the family vocabulary picture cards, too. They will be used in one of the blanks in the above sentence.
How to Use the “I Can Give” Predictable Chart
To make predictable charts effective in teaching phonological awareness skills or phonemic awareness skills, they have to be done in steps. Here is exactly how I used the predictable chart to teach phonological awareness to my preschoolers.
Introducing Giving Activities for Preschoolers
I began this lesson by first listing off kind things my preschoolers have done for me. We talk about all the ways they are helpful and giving. I make everything a BIG deal. Everyone loves a cheerful giver!
Here are some examples of the language I used.
- One time, ___ gave me a drawing.
- Remember when you said ___ to me? That made me feel so special!
- I love it when you give me hugs!
- One of my favorite things is when you tell me about your own favorite things.
- One time you ___, and that was so helpful to me!
It’s important not to skip this step because it offers examples of how preschoolers can be giving, and it reminds them that even the most simple things are meaningful.
Introducing the Predictable Chart
Then I pulled out the predictable chart. The blanks were not filled in, but I read the first sentence to the children, pointing to each word as I read to them.
Pointing to the words helps preschoolers associate written text with spoken words, which is one of the first phonological awareness skills! I can also help them identify important and meaningful words, or missing words that make the sentence confusing.
Then I invited my preschoolers to join me in filling in the missing words.
Adding the Family Vocabulary Cards
We started with the first blank by adding a family vocabulary card. I set out a few cards the the children to select. The set includes:
- and several variations of baby brother and baby sister
In addition, each cards comes in multiple skin colors, so children can search for words that match their own families.
To help my preschoolers find the right cards, we talked about the sounds in words, the number of syllables in each word and even blended some sounds. This is a really natural and informal way to teach sounds phonemes and sound to speech correlations.
Soon, my preschoolers were identifying the words on their own, and pointing out the first individual sound in each word.
Filling in the Gift
As I said before, preschoolers are incredible generous. This part of the activity was a fun way to show my preschoolers how deeply adults appreciate their tender and giving hearts.
Some of my preschoolers wanted to give large ticket items to their loved ones. Do not dismiss these intentions. They are important. But do kindly redirect the preschooler to give something a little more easy. Circle back to the introduction of this activity.
FREE Vocabulary Cards
To complete the spirit of giving literacy activity, you may want these the Family Vocabulary Cards. I used them to teach my preschoolers names of family members they may want to give gifts to this Christmas, but they are also helpful in teaching other preschool themes like All About Me and Family & Pets themes.
It is sometimes difficult to design Christmas literacy activities that are truly meaningful for preschoolers.
I think this one fits the bill. Not only does it teach print awareness concepts, but it also teaches children that it’s equally important (if not more important) to give gifts rather than receiving them. And, they learned that gifts that cost no money can be equally special (if not more) than those what cost a lot.
This is a Christmas literacy activity we will be repeating every year because it does such a great job of teaching the spirit of giving.
More Christmas Literacy Activities
From speech sound and letter sound connections to rhyming words and prewriting strokes, try out these other printable Christmas literacy activities for preschoolers.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.