Polar Express Activities and Crafts

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The Polar Express is a holiday classic! You can enjoy the book by Chris Van Allsburg and the movie with your preschoolers this holiday season. A polar express preschool theme is a fun way to celebrate the magic of the holidays while building important early learning skills too.

I’ve put together all kinds of polar express activities for your preschool classroom this Winter! Check out my Polar Express crafts for kids, literacy and numeracy activities, get polar express preschool theme snack ideas, and jingle bell science experiments to try with your preschool kids this Christmas season. Keep reading for all kinds of polar express train fun!

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Polar Express Activities to Build Literacy Skills

Helping your preschoolers to build language and literacy skills is an important part of preparing them for kindergarten. You can use polar express activities to build literacy skills with your preschoolers and help them fall in love with books from an early age this Christmas. Before you know it, they’ll be ready to read and excited about it!

Check out some of my favorite polar express preschool activities for reading fun:

Jingle Sounds Phonics Printable Activity

This polar express preschool activity comes with jingle bell printables to make it easy. After reading about the magic bells on Santa’s sleigh, your preschool learners can have their own jingle bell fun while learning to identify alphabet letters, letter sounds, and develop preschool phonics skills too.  

Polar Express preschool sensory bin or Polar express game for kids

Match the jingle bell picture cards to the beginning letter sound on the included jingle bell worksheet. Then, color the jingle bell letter. To add fun and whimsy to this polar express preschool theme activity, hide the jingle bell picture cards in Floof, a sensory compound that looks like snow and feels a bit like playdough.

Jingle Bell Syllable Game for Circle Time

Teaching your preschool learners to recognize syllables is an important part of helping them begin to decode words. Knowing how to divide words into syllables helps kids break down big words as they work to master reading fluency, so practicing syllables is a great way to help them get kindergarten-ready this Christmas. Try this jingle bell syllable game during circle time to help your preschoolers count syllables.

Give each preschooler a jingle bell wrist band to ring, then work together to count the syllables in words from The Polar Express.

As you say the words, ring the bell with each syllable. Here are some words from the book to try:

  • Sleigh
  • Conductor
  • Express
  • Nougat
  • Harness
  • Caribou
  • Bathrobe 
  • Santa 

First Christmas Gift Writing Activity

Another fun activity you can do with your kids this December is this adorable polar express theme writing prompt printable. In The Polar Express, one child is chosen to receive the very first Christmas gift. Encourage your students to think about what they would ask for if they could get the very first Christmas gift from Santa this year.

polar express craft of a sleigh bell

Would they choose a sleigh bell just like the boy in the story? Kids can draw their gift idea, make an adorable Polar Express bell craft, and write about their first Christmas gift idea with this printable Christmas craftivity.

Polar Express Preschool Reading Comprehension

Practicing reading comprehension skills and sequencing activities with your preschool learners is an important part of helping them become aware of what’s happening in the story. It’s a great way to get more out of the books you’re reading while helping your preschoolers prepare for kindergarten too.

To build reading comprehension skills with your preschoolers while reading The Polar Express, ask questions about what’s happening during the story and encourage your preschoolers to guess what will happen next. Then, after storytime, encourage your preschoolers to draw their favorite part of the story.

Christmas Color by Number Printables

Christmas color by number printables are always a hit with children and adults. Use these Polar Express coloring pages to practice number recognition and letter knowledge this Christmas.

Christmas color by number

Jingle Bell Science for Preschoolers

There’s lots of science to learn about while reading The Polar Express to your preschoolers! The jingle bells on Santa’s sleigh present all kinds of fun learning experiments and ideas for a preschool classroom. Check out some of my favorite ideas.

Jingle Bell Magnets

This activity is fun and engaging. It’s a great experiment for your preschool science center this December. You’ll need:

To set this jingle bell magnet science activity up for your science center, put the bells in a wooden or plastic bowl. Place the bowl of bells and a few magnet wands on a tray in your science center. 

Don’t have a science center? This polar express preschool activity works just as well at the table too. The key is to let your preschoolers explore how magnets work with these metal bells through play. 

Dancing Jingle Bells

This dancing jingle bell science experiment puts on quite a show! It’s a fun way to learn more about density. Plus, you’ll love the surprised expressions on your preschoolers’ faces when the bells begin to dance. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Jingle Bells
  • Glass Jar 
  • Clear Soda

First, add a handful of jingle bells to the glass jar. If you have enough, they will hit one another when they begin to dance and make a fun “jingle” sound. Then, fill the jar with soda and wait. Before long, the bells will begin to “dance” in your jar thanks to the carbonation in the soda.

Polar Express CRAFTS

Incorporating arts and crafts into your polar express preschool activities this Christmas is an excellent way to help your early learners develop fine motor skills and practice creative self expression. Arts and crafts help kids learn to express themselves confidently, building important self esteem while having fun. Check out our favorite polar express craft ideas:

Polar Express Train STEAM Project

STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. You can combine these subjects in a polar express activity for preschoolers that’s filled with creative fun: building your own cardboard box train! It’s the perfect way to use all those Amazon boxes laying around.

DIY Polar Express Train from cardboard boxes

Kids can help decide how to attach the boxcars, design and decorate each car with a theme from the storybook, and then hop in their very own boxcar to watch The Polar Express movie together “drive-in” style.

DIY Polar Express Tickets

The magical tickets the conductor gives to children on the polar express train are one of the most memorable visual images from the book. You can help your preschoolers craft their own polar express tickets while building fine motor skills and finger strength this Christmas.

You’ll need construction paper, scissors, glue, glitter, and an easy to use single-hole puncher.

  1. First, have your preschoolers cut rectangles from the construction paper.
  2. Then, coat one side in glue (we like to use glue sticks to cut down on the mess) and cover with glitter.
  3. Finally, pass out the single-hole paper punches and let your preschoolers build finger strength and practice grip as they punch holes in their construction paper “tickets” just like the conductor from the story.

I know they will love these Polar Express ticket printables!

How to Draw Hot Chocolate

There are so many awesome benefits to teaching your preschoolers to draw and incorporating drawing activities into your polar express preschool activities. Check out just a few of the benefits:

In The Polar Express, the children have hot chocolate. This Christmas, encourage your preschoolers to draw their own perfect hot chocolate. Would they like extra marshmallows, cinnamon, or whipped cream? 

Check out this video drawing class for kids from Art Hub for Kids to explore drawing the perfect hot chocolate cartoon style with your preschoolers. It’s great for use in the classroom, at home, and even with virtual learners!

Math with the Polar Express for Preschoolers

It’s easy to theme math lessons and activities with the polar express for preschoolers. I’ve put together some fun printables you can use to take some of the prep work out of learning important numeracy skills with your preschool learners this December.

Jingle Bell Pattern Practice

You can use the colorful jingle bells from your jingle bell science activities above to practice patterns with your preschoolers this year. These printable polar express activities are so adorable. Plus, they’re great for helping your preschoolers master patterns while having all kinds of holiday fun. 

Polar express activities with jingle bells

Just print them out and pair them with bells. It’s a no-prep polar express preschool activity you’ll all love.

Measuring Christmas Gifts

You can use these preschool printables to practice nonstandard measurement with a fun polar express preschool theme this December. Print my jingle bell measuring strips, various sized gift printables, and preschool measuring worksheets. 

Polar Express activity to practice measuring for Christmas time

Then, let your preschoolers explore measuring gifts for Santa. After all, how else will he fit all those presents in his sleigh?

Polar Express Activities With Music

Adding songs and music to your polar express preschool theme will help your preschoolers develop an appreciation for music while building a brain to body connection that’s great for cognitive growth. Plus, it’s an excellent way to get the wiggles out for excited preschoolers just before the holiday break.

Grab your jingle bells and teach your preschoolers to sing and play the bells with old favorites like Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock. Plus, it’s a fun way to introduce literacy skills like rhyme and rhythm to your preschool learners in this adorable Polar Express game.

Polar Express Preschool Theme Snack Time 

I love incorporating themed snacks into my preschool themes and lessons. This polar express preschool theme snack is a whole lot of fun and easy too! This December, set up a hot chocolate station in your preschool classroom, just like the one on the polar express!

It’s a great opportunity for kids to get creative, talk about what they remember from the book, and really internalize all the fun things they’ve been learning with a holiday snack time they won’t forget. You can make your hot chocolate station as simple or elaborate as you wish.

Make the hot chocolate together from scratch or serve pre-made hot chocolate to your preschoolers and let them add their own fun toppings. Some of our favorites include candy canes, marshmallows, and whipped cream.

christmas science experiment with hot chocolate for winter

Turn this into one more Christmas science experiment with a fun hot chocolate experiment as well. Your students will love predicting what will happen to the marshmallows when they’re in different temperature cocoa.

Polar Express Activity Conclusion

Don’t forget to share your favorite polar express preschool activities in the comments. I can’t wait to read about all the magical holiday fun you’re having with your preschoolers this December!

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