Creative carols

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By Jean EvansEarly Years consultant and author

Use these imaginative activities based on favourite festive songs to explore your children’s senses

Christmas trees


Activities in this article:

  1. O, Christmas tree!
  2. We all like figgy pudding
  3. Jingle bells


Discover more about these activities

Editor of Nursery Education PLUS, Tracey, introduces our ‘Countdown to Christmas’ themed activities and offers more ideas for exploring the topic with your children:

‘Use these festive songs to inspire creative and sensory exploration. You could also introduce young children to the German version of ‘O, Christmas tree’ – why not ask the parents of children in your care to try to translate the words into any other languages they speak? When the children are familiar with the tunes and repeated phrases, adapt the songs to make up some fun alternative versions!’


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1. O, Christmas tree!

Inspired by this song, delight in the scent of fresh pine needles

Creative Development

Being Creative

Development matters: Seek to make sense of what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel (22–36 months); Explore and experience using a range of senses and movement (30–50 months).

Early learning goal: Respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel.

Group size: Whole group.

What you need

Access to a traditional growing or potted Christmas tree; creative media such as paint, collage materials, clay and fabrics.

What to do

  • Take the children to the Christmas tree and invite them to stand close to it: What does it look like? How does it smell? Gently touch the needles and rub them. Discuss how they feel smooth when stroked one way and sharp when stroked the other: How do they smell? Is it a pleasant or unpleasant smell? How does it compare with other trees in winter?
  • Sing the song ‘O, Christmas Tree!’ There are various versions of the words; find them through an internet search engine and choose the most appropriate words for your children. Focus on lines such as, ‘Thy leaves are so unchanging’ or ‘How lovely are your branches’, and discuss their meaning. Talk about why this tree might be chosen to bring indoors to decorate at Christmas.
  • Away from the tree, ask children to close their eyes and recall it with their senses.
  • Provide a range of creative media to encourage children to record their Christmas tree impressions in two and three dimensions.
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