Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 9

All those fabulous Nutcracker projects created in pre-k/kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grade, 3rd & 4th grade, and 5th & 6th grade left some students extra time at the end of class. So I prepared a variety of worksheets and activities to keep them occupied if they finished early.

Activities that I created – Download them all for FREE:


The favorite for the older kids was a maze that I hand-drew:


There were four levels of word searches. The first two were created for 1st & 2nd grade, the easiest one having words that only go horizontally. The words come directly from the stories of the Nutcracker that I told them. Each of the word searches come with a solution key!

The word searches for the older kids also had a glossary that could be printed on the back.


Some children also enjoyed completing the shape coloring page that I created for the preschoolers.

Activities from subscription sites:

Click the links to get to the activities!

Nutcracker Mandala


Nutcracker Cut-out Puzzle (Weihnachtsbild Ergänzen Nussknacker)

KiGa-Portal had a simple puzzle to cut out and paste the missing parts of the nutcracker. Unfortunately, the link is no longer active.

Christmas Color By Number

Twinkl had some nice color-by-number activities.

I Spy (Weihnachtsbaum)

Another favorite was this “I Spy” Christmas Tree. Unfortunately, the site is currently under reconstruction. Hopefully it will be up and working again soon!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 8

5th & 6th Grade Nutcracker Art Project

One last Nutcracker project to round out the week before winter break! The pre-k/kindergarten class completed a Nutcracker shape coloring page, 1st & 2nd grade made a giant collaborative Nutcracker mural, and 3rd & 4th grade made cardboard tube nutcrackers.

The 5th & 6th graders heard the most detailed version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker last week. So they were ready to get started on their project. They made a “Hampelmann” – or jumping jack – Nutcracker. I printed the template on cardstock, and then the students colored them in and cut them out. I have a small hole puncher (1/8-inch), so we used that to make the holes. Then they assembled the Hampelmänner with mini gold brads (I bought these on Amazon).

I absolutely love these little guys! They are all different, but they look amazing together or individually!

One thing I wish I’d done better was manage their time. The kids needed at least 10-15 minutes to cut out the nutcrackers. It’s petty detailed! In the end, I was running around trying to punch all the holes and hand out the fasteners, while the classroom teacher taped them to the board, so we could display them – even if just for a short time. We did of course let them take their beautiful nutcrackers home. Apparently one got to go for a ride, and another made it on to the Christmas tree! (See the pictures below!)

You can download the free template created by Brigid Ashwood.

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 7

3rd & 4th Grade Nutcracker Art Project

The nutcracking fun continued! After completing a Nutcracker shape coloring activity in pre-k/kindergarten and a giant collaborative mural Nutcracker in 1st & 2nd grade, it was time for the 3rd & 4th grade class to take a crack at a project!

This group also heard the story of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker last week. So this week, these peaceful students colored a design printed on cardstock. Then we taped a feather (if they wanted) to come out of the “hat” and taped the paper to a toilet paper roll! Easy peasy! But so effective!

Aren’t they striking?! The children really did work so peacefully! I was pleasantly surprised, as it was the end of the day on the last day of school before winter break!

I found this simple craft at Sophie World. She has the template you can download for free (click the “Stats” tab to the right of “How to”.)

Stay tuned for the project that the 5th & 6th graders worked on!

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 6

1st & 2nd Grade Nutcracker Art Project

Last week, I told the students the basic story of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker. And then we completed a Steckbrief about nutcrackers. So this week, they were all set to do their class Nutcracker Art Project!

Each of my German classes is doing a different project. In the morning, my pre-k/kindergarten classes colored a shape Nutcracker.

In 1st & 2nd grade, the children created a GIANT collaborative 4-foot Nutcracker! Each child completed a piece of the puzzle. Then I put it all together and went over the outline with black marker. And then I laminated the whole thing – it just barely fit! It is now hanging in all its glory in the hall of our school!

I am so thrilled! I let the children color their “puzzle pieces” however they wanted. I asked that they use marker and do their best coloring. Some went bold. Others went for designs and detail. The overall effect is stunning!

I found the template and instructions at Art Projects for Kids. I did have to pay for it, but it comes in different sizes, and I can use it again and again! (She has a lot of other materials that are free. Definitely worth a look!)

Stay tuned for projects in 3rd & 4th grade and 5th & 6th grade! (As long as we get back into school after this snowstorm!)

Nussknacker / Nutcracker 2020 – Part 5

Pre-k / Kindergarten Nutcracker Art Project

A few cracking-good facts:

This week is all about nutcrackers! I began today by telling my youngest students a little about nutcrackers. I also brought in a small nutcracker to show them. Of course, many of the children were excited to see something that they, too, had in their homes!

  • Nutcrackers have been around for 600 years.
  • Nutcrackers are traditionally made of wood in Germany.
  • Nutcrackers represent luck, strength, and protection.
  • German author E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote a fairy tale about a nutcracker that comes to life in 1816.
  • Russian composer Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet on Hoffmann’s story.

(You can read these and other facts in the various “Steckbriefe” I created for my elementary & middle school students in this post.)

Crack open a story book!

Then I read the children a short story book of The Nutcracker. I was excited to see that it was attributed to Hoffmann, as that is the version I want to focus on. I am, after all, teaching German! However, I was surprised to find that this version calls the little girl Clara. In Hoffmann’s story, the girl is named Marie, while her beloved doll is named Clara. So as I read the book, I called her Marie. I added some details from the story as I read, too.

Let’s get crafting!

For my youngest students, we actually did not do a craft. Instead, I prepared a Nutcracker coloring project for them. I got the idea from another site, but of course I wanted to make it German! So I started drawing the outline of a nutcracker. It helped when I realized I could fold my paper in half and trace the right side of it, so that it turned out symmetrical! Then I scanned it and started adding shapes. Here’s how it turned out:

I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with how it turned out! You can download the PDF for free here:

The children enjoyed the project!

Stay tuned for projects from the 1st & 2nd graders, 3rd & 4th graders, and 5th & 6th graders!

Interactive German Bingo Board

I have been thinking a lot about my students and how they are coping with home learning. It is such a challenging situation. My own kids are in 1st & 4th grade, so I know what is being asked of my elementary German students. We have good days and bad days. Mostly my kiddos get their class work done, but it’s usually too much to ask them to do the specials work, too.

So I wanted to create something that would add an element of fun to my German lessons. And I wanted to be able to let the students CHOOSE. I had been sending out lessons each week with 3 or 4 options. But that gets overwhelming. So I started thinking about making a bingo board! Then I just happened to see a blog post on how to make a choice board, and I knew this is what I was going to do!

As the instructions told me, I created the board in Google Slides. Then I started adding one slide per activity. I already had many of the activities prepared, so I just had to write them up and create the links. Here is what the main board looks like:

Bingo Board 2020 Complete

I’m sorry I can’t share the actual board. However some of the files are private or copyrighted. But here are a few of the slides:

There are 16 activities in all. I had started with 25, but then I realized we only have a few more weeks of school! So I made it smaller. The activities in order from left to right, starting at the top, are:

  • Learn the song/dance “Fliegerlied”
  • Learn some sports and complete a crossword puzzle or word search
  • Sing “Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken” (read more about this from our class here!)
  • Elefant und Schweinchen: Du hast einen Vogel auf dem Kopf
  • Elefant und Schweinchen: Kommst du raus zum Spielen?
  • Basteln – Lebkuchenherz: Make a paper gingerbread heart (see this post!)
  • Make Pfannkuchen (see this post!)
  • Watch Peppa Wutz (learn to draw Peppa in this post!)
  • Learn a dance from Dance Company Leipzig (you can find them in YouTube!)
  • Make a secret message (here is the video! – Danke, Kathrin!!)
  • Elefant und Schweinchen: Das Buch über uns
  • Watch a Story Listening Fairy Tale (all on my YouTube Channel: German in the Afternoon!)
  • Watch a Story Listening Story (also on my YouTube Channel: German in the Afternoon)
  • Elefant und Schweinchen: Muss ich was abgeben?
  • Make Apfelstrudel (see this post!)
  • Yoga auf Deutsch (see this post!)

I’m so excited for this project! I had such fun putting it together. I hope my students will be inspired. If they don’t get to the activities now, I’m wondering if they might try doing some of them after school is officially over for the year?? We are still homebound in our area, so I imagine kids – and parents – will be looking for things to do!

30 Happy Days of April Challenge!

As we stare down the month of April, facing 30 more days of being at home, it can be more challenging than ever to keep our spirits up. Feelings of fear, being overwhelmed, and sadness can threaten our well-being. That is why I believe it is more important than ever to seek out things that make us happy every day.

So I have created this challenge filled with ideas to spark YOUR happiness!

I think challenge #1 is important: make a playlist of songs that make you feel GOOD! Music is a powerful mood-lifter! You can use it all month long.

Other than that, you can do them in any order you like! I’ve created a calendar if you want to follow the challenges by day. Or you can download a set of cards. Print them out, cut them up, and put them in a bowl or jar to choose a challenge at random! (scroll down for the PDFs to download)

Do one. Do them all! There are no shoulds here!

I tried to create the challenges for anyone to do. They are family-friendly. Or you can do them alone.

Don’t like a challenge? Make up your own! The point is to do something fun, silly, different, whatever! Something that makes you feel GOOD. Something that makes you SMILE. Something that makes you HAPPY 🙂 Let us know what you do in the COMMENTS below!

Care to share? Use hashtag #30HappyDaysofApril

  1. Make a playlist of your favorite songs – but only songs that make you feel GOOD. There are lots of beautiful songs out there that can also be sad or melancholy. Go for the tunes that get you going, make you want to dance or sing! Here is my list on Spotify – it’s a work in progress! Check it out for some inspiration 🙂
  2. Take a picture of every kind of flower in your yard. Repeat at the end of the month to compare!
  3. Watch a comedy movie – one that brings on a real belly laugh! How about one from your childhood to share with the kids? Like The Love Bug (G) or The Shaggy Dog (G). Or a newer film, like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day (PG). I haven’t seen it myself, but a friend recommended it. Some of my favorites for a laugh are All of Me (PG), My Cousin Vinny (R), and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (PG). Or how about a real classic like Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn (NR)? (Links take you to Common Sense Media, a site that helps you choose wisely for your kids.)
  4. Bake something yummy! Get out a tried & true recipe. Or bake something new that you’ve always wanted to try. Not a baker? How about a no-bake cookie recipe with just a few ingredients?
  5. Go on a nature scavenger hunt! There are plenty of free printables to be found online. Maybe try this one with your children or this one that involves your senses, too!
  6. Make a card and send it to someone. Maybe someone who is alone this month? Not artistic? Find a pretty picture in a magazine and glue it to the front of a card. Everyone appreciates a handwritten letter!
  7. Sing in the shower! Too shy? Remember that playlist you made on Day 1? Turn it up and sing along. No one will know 🙂
  8. Make a video of yourself reading a children’s book. Send it to a child. (Don’t post on YouTube, unless it is a copyright free story.) If you don’t have any books at home, there are lots available online! Fairy Tales, such as the ones found here, are a great idea – usually copyright free, too.
  9. Do a science experiment. Did you ever make a volcano erupt? It only takes some baking soda and vinegar. Put the baking soda in a cup. Pour some vinegar over it and watch the volcano explode! Add a little food coloring for added fun. See what happens if you add some liquid hand soap. Try different shapes and sizes of cups. Which ones work best? Don’t want to make a volcano? There are lots of cool experiments to find online!
  10. Make an Easter decoration. Whatever Easter means to you – create something in spring colors to cheer up your space!
  11. Take a walk outside on a new trail. Some trails are still open, as long as you keep your distance.
  12. Pamper yourself! Take a bubble bath. Paint your nails. Give yourself a facial using ingredients you have in your fridge. Soak your feet in warm water & Epsom salts if you have them; then give yourself a foot rub.
  13. Make a Pollock painting! Grab a canvas – or some paper – and some paint, head outside and start flinging!! Don’t have art paints? How about a leftover paint can from painting your house?
  14. Be an armchair traveler and go on a beautiful journey. Pick a place you’ve always wanted to go and start doing some research. Some places are offering virtual tours. Or just do an image search and enjoy the pictures.
  15. Watch a feel-good musical. How about Singing in the Rain, Oklahoma, or The Sound of Music?
  16. Dig in the dirt! Plant some bulbs or seeds if you have them. Or just dig a hole with a spade, shovel, or a spoon. See what you find!
  17. Cook a new dish. There are only about a billion recipes online these days. Here is a site that will give you recipe ideas based on what’s in your fridge.
  18. Make a collage. Print out pictures of your loved ones and start cutting and pasting. Cut up old cards or Christmas cards. Or find beautiful images in a magazine.
  19. Learn a new language! Okay, not the whole language. Learn three basic phrases: Hello, Thank you, and I don’t speak [whichever language you picked]. Write them out and post them on your fridge or bathroom mirror, or both. Bonus: Learn to count to 10. I can count to 10 in 8 languages. Maybe I’ll go for 10!
  20. Learn a new card game. If you don’t have cards at home, maybe the grocery store has a deck you could pick up? Check out the Bicycle website for rules on all kinds of games.
  21. Have a dance party! Remember that playlist you made on Day 1? Hopefully you’re enjoying it! Turn up the volume and dance like no one is watching 🙂 Or test your moves with a video from Just Dance!
  22. Draw a map of your yard or inside your home. Turn it into a treasure map for someone else at home. If you’re on your own for now, save it for a fun activity when all the stay-at-home ban is lifted. What treasure will be found under your X?
  23. Draw a self-portrait. Try looking at yourself in the mirror as you draw. Or just draw what you think you look like. Or try drawing with your non-dominant hand. Or try drawing a picture of an image, but turn the image upside down while you draw it!
  24. Sit outside and be absolutely still for 5 minutes. Listen. Then write down everything you heard.
  25. Make a target course outside. Pick a number of different targets – it could be like a mini golf course with 9 or 18 targets. Then grab a ball – or many – and see how well you do. Maybe try hitting the targets from different distances.
  26. Make a book. Pick an object – a stuffed animal works great. Then take pictures of that object around your house and/or yard. Put the pictures together to tell about the object’s adventure!
  27. Read an uplifting book. Try something new, like the family novel Becoming Jesse. Or an old favorite, like Charlotte’s Web. Or something literary like Pride & Prejudice. I also love The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim – appropriate for the month!
  28. Watch some old comedy shows, like The Muppet Show or Bugs Bunny. Or old episodes of Johnny Carson.
  29. Make ice cream in a bag. You only need a few ingredients. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve always wanted to!
  30. Make a video to tell about all the things you did this month to make YOU happy! Show off some of your creations. Tell a funny story about what you did – or what you tried that did not turn out so well 🙂 Tell about the things you learned this month. Tell about the many things for which you are grateful.


Have your own ideas? Feel free to comment with more suggestions!

Download your CALENDAR here: 30 Happy Days of April Calendar

Download your ACTIVITY CARDS here: 30 Happy Days of April Cards

30 Happy Days of April-page-001

DisclaimerIf I have provided a link, it is just for an idea. I did not have time to thoroughly check them all out or test them. And I receive no compensation.