Polar Express Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade!
It’s the holiday season, so let’s head to the North Pole for some Polar Express Activities! These fun lesson plans are perfect for the final week before winter break. We don’t just have a Polar Express Day, we have a Polar Express WEEK!
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Before there was The Polar Express movie, this magical story was a popular book. REALLY! If you are not familiar with the story, here is a quick book summary:
The main character is a young boy who wakes up on Christmas Eve night by the sound of a train. There is a magical train that takes a few toward the North Pole. Once they arrive at the North Pole, the boy and other children see thousands of elves gathered at the town center. They are all waiting to send Santa’s sleigh on his way. But first, Santa Claus selects the boy to receive the first gift of Christmas. The boy selects a bell from Santa’s reindeer harnesses.
The little boy loses the silver bell through a hole in his pocket, only to discover it wrapped under the tree for him the next morning.
My favorite part of the story is: At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.
Polar Express Close Reading Activities
Polar Express Close Reading Activities
Just like our other Reading Comprehension/Close Reading plans, this wonderful book has all been planned out for you! It is packed with fun ideas and reading comprehension activities!
We have added questions to help guide your students toward deep comprehension. So grab some hot cocoa and sip from the spirit of Christmas!
One activity that we practice all year is retelling the text with details. So we are sure to include a set of sequencing cards of the Polar Express in our lessons. This is a great opportunity for younger children to strengthen their oral language. Once the story is in order, students turn to their partners and practice tell the story in sequential order. The retell cards are the easiest way to support the students. If they forget what comes next, they can just look at the pocket chart.
Students then complete this cute train craft that will hold their retelling activity. There is also a grammar and sentence study where students identify the noun and verb within the sentence. Easy! Fun! Purposeful! DONE!
We love how The Polar Express Train Craft came out.
If you want to know how to make these snowmen, you can find them in this blog post:
Watch the Polar Express!
I know most of the students are now familiar with the Tom Hanks version, but the original book is SO GOOD!
This is a version of the holiday classic that is read by Liam Neeson!
You could compare and contrast the book version with the movie version.
Other Polar Express Activity Ideas
Hot Chocolate Bar
I can’t help but crave hot chocolate whenever I think about The Polar Express. As long as allergies permit it, why not have a hot chocolate bar!
Here are a few great ideas for you to add:
- whipped cream
- chocolate chips
- sprinkles (because everything is better with sprinkles)
- peppermint chips
If you can’t have a hot chocolate bar, you could make hot chocolate playdough.
Polar Express Classroom Activities – Print and Teach
I hope I have given you a few ideas you can use in your classroom. Perhaps you are busy during this time of year (understatement!) and would like to have some print and teach lesson plans. We have that for you. Here is what you will get in The Polar Express Pack.
Detailed lesson plans for each day.
Polar Express Crafts
Polar Express retelling images (both color and student copy) along with a mentor sentence. We added the train craft to an additional piece of construction paper. The students added the mentor sentence to the craft. Mentor sentences are a perfect way for students to examine various grammar skills (such as verbs) and the mechanics of complete sentences. We do this each week.
Pajama glyph directions and recording sheet
Students first conduct a survey.
Questions for the survey are:
- Which candy do you like best? candy cane or gum drops
- Which Christmas carol do you like best? Santa Clause is Coming to Town or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
- Have you ever been on a train ride? yes or no
Then they use that data to complete the graph (which turns into a glyph.)
Polar Express Classroom Activities
You can find these resources in our Engaging Readers Read Aloud Resource!
Christmas or Polar Express Free Book Activity
This thematic decodable book is perfect for your young learners. Simply add your email information to the box below and this free printable will be sent directly to your inbox.
If you like this free decodable book set, you will love the year long bundle!
Want More Christmas Season Activity Ideas?
Here are a few blog posts that you may be interested in:
- 18 Favorite Christmas Tree Books for Kids with a Free File Activity
- Christmas Worksheets for Kindergarten with Free File!
- Engaging Kindergarten Gingerbread Activities FREE FILE
- 21 Gingerbread Man Activities for Kindergarten Centers (Free File)
- 44 Engaging Gingerbread Books with Gingerbread Man Story Activities