The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Class Book Activity


I love using literature to inspire projects in our classroom. Here is how we create our own version of the 12 Days of Christmas and turn it into a class book and an audiobook.

It’s a fantastic project to take on in December – we like to think of it as “The REAL 12 Days of Christmas” because, after all… who really wants to get turtle doves for Christmas?

12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity

I’m including the free, printable template so you can make it for your class too.

The real 12 days of Christmas

We use different versions of The 12 Days of Christmas during December as a springboard for creating our own classroom version, book project, and audiobook.

Here’s how the project works for us. It usually takes about 2 weeks to complete during our writing time since we break it up into portions.

Let me start by sharing 2 versions we enjoy and discuss the types of illustrations since the words are all very similar. (affiliate links)

We read about 5 versions total. We get excited about the idea of making our own version. A way better version.

We start by talking about adjectives and creating our own list of Christmas-y things.

To be totally honest, we usually do a visualizing exercise before we start this list (you know, painting a mental picture of a charming Christmas scene).

That way they have some mental images to work from since sometimes after one student says, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys” then the next four suggestions are usually some type of toy item.

Annnnd I try to stay away from that for this project.

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - Class chart

You’ll see that I’m no expert chart maker. {No surprise if you read this blog} But I like to focus on function over cute since I always feel like time is precious. I will draw small items next to support my beginning readers and we will assign two students to each item after the list is complete.

If we’re having a difficult time coming up with an adjective, I start singing!

I insert the line into the song (without the adjective) and that usually helps a few of my kinders think of something to fill in the blank.

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - make as a class

I am always amazed at what adjectives they come up with to describe their things.

We did this as a shared writing/reading activity so I control the pen and the students control the content with some guidance from me.

That way Minecraft and Frozen objects stay out of this list – making it timeless.

12 days of Christmas class book

To make a class book, I created a blank template for our book. It’s the list of items we just created together with missing sight words.

You can download a copy of the template here and insert the items your class comes up with. [terms of use] [downloading help]

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - class audio book

I use a kinder-friendly font and print it enlarged to legal-size or 11×17 paper using our printer/copier.

Generally, 1-2 kinders get assigned to a page of the book (you can see the initials in the chart pictures above).

The kinders assigned to each page work together to first finish the sight words and they are responsible for illustrating their page.

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - make a class book into an audio book

We are really working on using a pencil first to get details, so it’s a must!

It can be hard for some students to work in pairs on tasks like this, but this is a good collaborative project that allows me time to help them navigate the waters of communication.

Before they can use crayons, I check their work on sight words and their illustrations.

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - precious keepsake

Often, I ask them to check their work – counting objects or adding more details before I have them move on. I also prompt them to have a discussion about color choices with their partner before they begin.

I do like to pair up students whenever possible that will match up well for this project.

A strong illustrator with a less strong fine-motor skill student or a strong sight word student with an expert colorer, for example.

And yes – colorer is a real word. At least in kindergarten, it is.

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - elves

Turn it into an audiobook

It’s nice to make a class book. It’s way cooler to make your own audiobook.

Students take ownership of this story to the next level.

We record the entire class telling this story so it becomes an audiobook for our class. (And in some years, I’ve made it into a book on CD as a Christmas present)

The whole class is recorded singing the “On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love sent to me” portions. We record each one separately using a free mp3 recorder app on my smartphone.

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - so cute

We also record each pair of students saying just their portion that matched their illustrated page. That way they can hear their own voice (and so can their parents) and I can repeat that single recording as many times as needed when I go to put the entire thing together.

I did have my class record the entire thing one year in one go, but they definitely tired out.

Now, I record the small pieces and put it together digitally. It makes the process more fun and they love the final product.

You can totally do it without the audio recording – or you could create a class video retelling your version with hand motions… how cute would that be?

The 12 Days of Christmas Kindergarten Activity - kids illustrate class book

I scan the finished illustration pages and shrink them to make a few paper copies to stick into all of our reading centers. I also send home a copy with each of my kinders along with a cd as a Christmas present for my kinders.

Our audiobook is definitely going into the listening center – they totally love it!

Let’s wrap it up

There you have it – how we created our own version of the 12 Days of Christmas and turned it into a class book and an audiobook.

Are you going to try it this year? I’d love to hear what your class comes up with!

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

Looking for more Christmas ideas? I’ve got your back. Start with these Christmas videos for kindergarten.

More Christmas


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