The Legend of the Poinsettia Activities
Children will listen to a story.
Children will learn about plants.
Children will use fine motor skills to make a simple craft.
Children will use manipulatives to make patterns.
- Book:The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
Show children a real poinsettia plant or a picture of one. Ask, “Do you know what the name of this plant is?” Allow children time to respond. The name of this plant is a poinsettia. Give children an opportunity to view the plant up close. Let them gently touch its leaves. “What words describe this plant?” Allow children time to respond. (Possible answers include the following: red petals, bright yellow centers, shiny green leaves, velvety, soft, etc.). Explain, “The poinsettia has become a symbol of Christmas to many people all around the world. Do you know where this flower comes from?” Allow children time to respond. “This flower comes from a country called Mexico.” If available, point out Mexico on a map. Show children where they live in relation to Mexico. Say, “Today I’m going to read you a story about the poinsettia. The name of the story is The Legend of the Poinsettia. The author is Tomie dePaola.” Read The Legend of the Poinsettia to children.
Discuss the story with children. Brainstorm with children some ways that they can give to each other or their family members, even though they might be small and don’t have much money to buy things.
Summary of Book:
One Christmas Eve, a young Mexican girl was very sad because she didn’t have a gift to give baby Jesus. She watched outside the church as the other children of the town took their gifts to the Christ child. She cried because she very much wanted to give him a gift. An old woman came to her and asked what was wrong. The little girl told her story to the kind woman. The woman told her not to cry, that the importance of giving is not what you give, but that you give it from your heart. Then the woman disappeared. The little girl thought and thought about what she could give baby Jesus. Then she saw a bunch of pretty, green plants. It was the best she could do. She took the plants into the church to baby Jesus. The townsfolk scoffed at her humble gift. As she place the plants on the altar, beautiful red flowers began to grown on the green plants. Everyone stared in amazement! As the little girl walked home, she noticed that all the green plants of that kind had grown beautiful red flowers and she remembered the kind words of the old woman.
- Discuss the things that plants need to live and grow—sunlight, water, and air.
- Let children observe a real poinsettia plant. Have them notice that the leaves and floral parts of the plant have the same shape.
- Ask children if they think the colored parts are actually flowers or just leaves of a different color. Take a poll.
- Explain that the red parts of the plant are actually leaves, not flowers. Discuss the special care that a poinsettia needs.
- Poinsettias are tropical plants that need warmth and lots of sunlight. They need an even source of moisture.
Trace the shape of a poinsettia flower on red, pink, and white construction paper and cut out at least five of each color. Place the flowers in a center and encourage children to make patterns with the flowers (example: red, red, white, red, red, white).
Make a poinsettia craft
Explain to children that the tallest candle, which is located in the middle of the menorah, is used to light the other candles each night. Have children dip a pretzel in melted white chocolate to represent the shamash candle. Dip the tip in yellow sprinkles to represent the flame. Allow to harden.