At this time of year I always miss having my own class (I am sure I have rose tinted glasses and choose to forget the exhaustion and stress!) This made me think about my go-to Christmas Maths activities which I used year in and year out to get a little bit of fun Maths into the last week or two.  Below you will find some of my favourites and there is a link below each to a downloadable sheet.

1 – Christmas Vocabulary Challenge

  • Explain that there is a special code where letter A = 1, B = 2, C = 2 and so on.
  • Challenge the children to work out the total score of words related to Christmas.
  • Depending on the children you could give them a list of words or ask them to create their own list.
  • You could set extra challenges e.g. Can you find a 100 score word?  Can you find 5 odd words?  Can you find a word with a score which is a prime number?  Can you work out the scores and write them in order?  Can you find any multiples of 7?
  •  Let’s face it, you do not want to spend all the lesson checking the children’s calculations so here is a LINK where you type in the word and it gives you the score!  Save your end of term brain!
  • You could also ask them to make up puzzles for each other to solve.  For example, Santa is 19, 1, 14, 20, 1 so they could create calculations with these answers as a puzzle such as  (4 + 5 + 10), (7 – 6), (2 x 7), (4 x 5), (1 x 1).  You could even find Christmas jokes and ask the children to write the punchline in numbers or calculations for each other (link to jokes here, and here).
  • If the calculations are too easy or challenging for your kiddos, you can change the scores for each letter (there are some other tables included in the download below).
  • Click here to download the resources – XMAS MATHS – VOCABULARY CODES

2 – Symmetrical Christmas Posters

  • Ask the children to create a poster of symmetrical Christmas images
  • They can fold and cut or draw on gridded paper
  • Ask them to mark the lines of symmetry onto each one
  • Challenge them to try and create an image which no-one else has on their poster or award points for the most unusual!

3 – Combinations Puzzles

I love a combination problem and Christmas has some great contexts.  A combination problem is where the children have to logically list all the possibilities.   The three themed ideas are connected to tree decorations, giving Christmas cards and making oaths in the snow.  With the decorations, it is about colour combinations e.g. “There are three stripes on a decoration and it can have red, blue and green on it.  How many versions can you make?”.  For Christmas cards, you can explore how many cards are exchanged between groups of children and then if you feel it is appropriate, extend this to generalise for larger groups.  Within the snowy paths problem, the children create pathways between houses and if appropriate you can explore triangular numbers and how to generalise the pattern. In the link, you will find a few pages which give some more details – XMAS MATHS – combinations

4 – Sorting Christmas Cards

Gather a bunch of Christmas cards and use these for a sorting activity based on the images shown.  Ask the children to create a display showing how they have sorted e.g. a bar chart, pie charts, tables, tallies, Venn diagram etc.  This can be a great activity for after the holidays as you can ask the children to take in old cards from home.

You could extend this for older kids by asking them to work out the fraction or percentage of cards within a set e.g. is there a higher percentage of cards which feature Santa than a Robin?

Click the link here for more details – XMAS MATHS – sorting cards

5 – The Twelve Days of Christmas

Your children will more than likely know this song (even if it is only to shout, “5 GOLD RINGS!” at the top of their voice!)

There are lots of great Maths discussions which can be had around the gifts which are given on each day.  Some examples include:

  • Imagine you were given all the presents from the song.
  • How many presents would you get on each day?
  • How many presents would you get altogether?
  • Work out the total of each type of present you would get over the 12 days (e.g. you have 12 partridges in pear trees as you get one every day)
  • Imagine you are given presents for more than 12 days.  How long would it take for you to get more than 500 presents altogether?
  • How much do you think your presents would be worth?  Try investigating the costs of the items online!
  • How many eyes would you see in your batch of presents each day?  How many eyes altogether?
  • How many legs would you see in your batch of presents each day?  How many legs altogether? (don’t forget, milking stools would have legs too!)
  • All these questions and more are included in this link – XMAS MATHS – 12 days

There are lots of different YouTube videos which are great for this topic including the one below.

So those are my top 5 favourite Christmas themed Maths lessons.  I hope they might be of help to you when planning the last week or so.

You might also be interested in my other Xmas post – Christmas Maths – Links for lesson ideas

Wishing everyone a fabulous and restful Christmas break!

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