Christmas Around the World Lesson Plan - Getting Ready Travel on the Polar Express

Since the holidays are near, the minions are getting so restless and it is getting really difficult to get them to settle down and concentrate on their assignments. Now would be a great time for some "craftivities"  that will both educate and entertain them.  Usually we do a study of the world religious customs of the season.  However, this year I wanted to do something different so I decided to do a "Christmas Around the World Unit." I thought it would be interesting to teach the kids customs and traditions from around the world. 

The trouble with this is that it isn't very easy to find free lesson plans online, a lot of them require you pay for the resources.  Which is fine but I like to do things for free or for as cheaply as possible.  So I took some inspiration from the Teach With Me blog and of course Pinterest and made my own lesson plans using resources I found on the ol' interwebs.

This site is a great resource for country traditions and the origins of Santa Claus.   Feel free to follow us on our journey or find a new country to study.  

If you can't get to all of the countries that we do, you can always pick up where you left off next school year.  Or feel free to visit more than one country a day.

Day 1 - Getting ready for your trip

Make your own Polar Express Tickets (or Print one out like the one here at the Love to Learn blog) -  Fill them out and have the kids color them.  We are gluing our tickets to construction paper to add sturdiness.

Make Passports -  I used this template I found on the What The Teacher Wants Blog.  I am printing out enough of the country pages to have one for each country we visit.  Also print out a world map outline, I used the ones at

Make Suitcases - Use file folders, brown paper grocery bags or a cardboard box. I let the kids paint them on one side to cover the store name.  I made two pockets from smaller lunch sized bags buy just cutting the bags, Then sealed the bottom of the portion with open end, with glue and glued the pockets on. You can either make these inner or outer pockets.
Kids painting "suitcases", finished, and passport covers
I am printing out the unit study I found at Confessions of a Homeschooler. She has some printable ornaments you can use to decorate your tree.  We will be cutting out the country flags and using them as stamps in our passport as we visit countries and to add to the front of our suit cases to show what counties we have visited.

Note:  You will also need a folder to collect worksheets and notebooking pages.

"Polar Express"

Either read the book aloud or watch the movie (which quite honestly both of my kids thought was weird and/or creepy). Or if you are pressed for time and do not own the book you can always find a version of some sort on YouTube. Just pre-screen them first.  I like this version.

-Have fun learning!