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British Christmas Crackers

Make someone's Christmas very merry by giving them this replica of a British tradition. Pull the cracker apart for holiday surprises!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Tom Smith invented the Christmas cracker in 1847. This tradition continues in Britain today. Crackers are small cardboard tubes covered with tissue paper. Two people pull on the tissue paper ends. When the cracker breaks, it makes a popping noise (from friction on a narrow strip of paper that has a chemical compound on it). Inside the cardboard tube are paper hats, small gifts, and a motto or joke.
    2. Have students find out how Christmas is celebrated in their community. Research more about these crackers and other British Christmas celebrations, too.
    3. Here's one way to make a Christmas cracker (without the chemicals). Use Crayola® Scissors to cut a cardboard roll into thirds.
    4. Cut tissue paper that is about twice as long as the cardboard roll. Wrap the tissue around the roll. Leave an even amount hanging over both ends. Attach paper to the tube with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    5. Tie a festive ribbon or yarn around the tissue at one end of the roll. With Crayola Gel Markers, write a joke or season's greetings on a slip of paper. Place it in the tube.
    6. Fill the tube with small gifts such as Crayola art supplies, confetti made by punching holes in colored paper, and a paper hat. Tie ribbon or yarn around the other end of the tube.
    7. Use Crayola Gel Markers to decorate the tube. Use holiday symbols, words, and other designs to make it look festive.
    8. Pull the cracker with a classmate or give it as a gift. Make a popping sound.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient fluency and accuracy to support comprehension.

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

    LA: Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    VA: Use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    In small groups, students research additional winter celebrations such as the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, the Festival of the Sacrifice, and/or Hanukkah. Prepare a presentation of the research and videotape it for class viewing. Have the team of students present for the class viewing to address any additional questions that classmates may have.

    Students interview family members about family winter holiday traditions. Each student creates an informative page about the family practice and includes a student sketch of the family tradition, created using Crayola Colored Pencils. Organize the pages into a winter holiday book for the class.

    Students interview family members about family winter holiday recipes. Students write the recipes down using a teacher-made template and include directions for baking and take a digital photograph of the completed food product. Compile the pages into a winter holiday cookbook for the class.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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