30 Apps to Spread and Enjoy Some Holiday Cheer

“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” – W.C. Jones

December is here! If you’re students are like mine, they are already in holiday mode. To motivate them tie their learning into activities where they get to send some holiday cheer or celebrate the holidays. Below, find free web tools/apps to spread cheer and create holiday gifts. You can tie reading, writing, and digital skills to any of these activities. Find ideas for activities in my slide presentation, Mobile Holiday Apps for Spreading Cheer.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Apps for Creating Gifts

  • Create digital cookbooks, journals, or digital stories as gifts with Book Creator (iOS/Android), Buncee (Web/iOS), and Storykit (iOS). Find more ideas and resources here.
  • Create a holiday photo video slideshows using Magisto (Android/iOS), iMovie,  Flipagram (Android/iOS) or Google Photos (Web/Android/iOS). 
  • With the YakItforKids (iOS) and Chatterpix for Kids (iOS) apps your students will have a blast adding mouths to their photos or drawings and making them talk! Decorate with holiday stickers, frames, and effects.
  • With Puppet Pals HD 2 (iOS) and Toontastic (iOS/Android) students can create holiday themed plays with characters they draw or choose.
  • Students can use Fotobabble (Web/iOS) to share photos with their own audio narration. They can spruce up these greetings with holiday themed backgrounds.
  • With Canva (Web/iOS) or Pic-Collage to create holiday photo greetings, collages, or a digital magazine cover of memories. Choose from their library of holiday stickers, backgrounds, templates and images.
  • Use Red Stamp (Web/Android/iOS) or Ink Cards (Web/Android/iOS) to send free e-greeting cards with various free holiday templates and messages to accompany your own photos.

Holiday Fun Apps!

  • Surprise children with a video call from Santa with the Video Call Santa (iOS/Android) and Santa Video Call Tracker (iOS) apps. Tell Me Santa Claus (iOS/Android) also lets children record a video of their wishlist and they can hear a story from Santa.
  • Want your children to receive a phone call from Santa in Spanish? Try the Videollamada a Santa (iOS/Android) app.
  • Toddlers will enjoy dressing up colorful characters for the holidays with Sago Mini Babies Dress Up (iOS/Android)! Tie this into learning vocabulary about parts of the body, clothing, or the weather.
  • Very young children will also enjoy grooming trees and Santa’s beard with the Toca Hair Salon iOS app.  Toca is known for diversity and inclusivity.
  • Students will enjoy dressing themselves up and their peers with the Elf Yourself (Web/iOS) video app and Dance Elf Booth (iOS/Android) image editor app.
  • Get students to learn famous Christmas Carols with the Sing Along Christmas Carols karaoke style iOS app.
  • Need help convincing children there is a Santa? The Catch Santa (iOS/Android) app will superimpose Santa Claus into any picture. You might use this app to create a story about Santa where you track his whereabouts in different rooms or at different landmarks around the world.
  • Love augmented reality?
    • Decorate the classroom using the Deck Your Halls AR (iOS) app.
    • The AR Christmas Card app (iOS/Android) app animates a greeting card. This beautiful animation could be used as a writing prompt.
  • Students will enjoy writing to Santa Claus who responds using the Letters to Santa (iOS) app.
  • The Christmas Fun HD (iOS) app has interactive sing alongs, dress up games, painting activities, peek-a-boo games, and interactive stories.
  • Jingle All the Way (iOS) is an interactive book with games, puzzles, and more for children.
  • Children learn how to play holiday songs on a virtual keyboard using the Piano Mi (iOS).

Challenge: Get students to celebrate the holidays with one of these fun apps.

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Check out my Digital Click and Learn December Calendar with more posts like these full of resources to celebrate the holidays digitally!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

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