Looking for a festivals curriculum for your homeschool or school? Let the Play Academy make it easy for you with our specialist curriculum pathways of ready-made thematic units.
Festivals home / school curriculum resources
The Play Academy gives you an exciting and engaging festivals curriculum that you can use with your children at home or in school.
Our ready-made units give you everything you need to lead a hands-on programme of festivals that your children will delight in taking part in.
Based on the teaching philosophy of hands-on learning, the Play Academy festivals curriculum is engaging, effective and loved by children.
With everything planned for you, you can enjoy teaching, focus on supporting your children, and reclaim your weekends!
Your teaching’s about to get a whole lot easier: here’s how you can use the Play Academy ready-made thematic units to build your festivals curriculum.
What is the Play Academy?
The Play Academy is a bit like Netflix for teaching resources. Just as Netflix has a library full of films to watch, whenever you want to, in all sorts of genres, the Play Academy gives you a huge range of teaching units, with over 50 different themes, that you can use whether you are at school or home educating.
The units are ready-made and come with practical, bonus printables so you are always ready to grab-and-go, ready to teach your choice of unit.
With the Play Academy, you can choose from a monthly or annual membership, cancel any time, and you’ll be able to breathe a sign of relief because all your planning will be done for you. This lets you really focus on supporting your children and lets you reclaim your weekends for you and your family because all your curriculum is planned and ready for you to use. Relax and enjoy teaching again!
You can use as many or as few units as you want each month, you can start at any time of the year, with any unit, and you will always have plenty more units to choose from if your children want to explore a new topic or need a fresh challenge.
Read on to see how the units work really well to build a curriculum based around festivals.
The benefits of teaching through thematic units
A thematic unit is a programme of learning that includes a wide range of skills and activities, all linked to one central topic.
Thematic units are an excellent way to teach skills and concepts because they match the way we live and work in real life, where things aren’t divided into separate subjects.
Thematic units integrate traditional school subjects in one whole programme of learning. This lets children see links and make connections.
A thematic unit also lets us offer a wide range of activities, so there are things that appeal to all learners. This keeps lessons engaging and encourages our children to try new things, and develop many skills. It also makes them an excellent way to teach mixed-age/ability children together, which makes planning so much easier for us and also benefits our children, as they are able to work-together, build relationships, and share ideas.
Our children also benefit from the depth and breadth of a thematic unit. They can learn much more about a topic if they consider it from a scientific, artistic, literary, mathematical, geographical and playful point of view. Their learning will be so much more practical and robust.
And with your Play Academy membership you’ll be instantly ready to teach your chosen programme of units, with everything planned for you.
Our ready-made thematic units mean you can pick up your chosen kit and teach.
Ready-made festivals curriculum for homeschool or school
Each Five-Day Unit in the Play Academy is planned to give you a flexible curriculum you can use to suit your family / class needs.
The Units are based on a five-day block of lessons that are carefully created to introduce each topic and give a range of activities that develop your children’s knowledge, thinking, creativity and skills.
You can use the Units for one week of learning, Monday to Friday, but you don’t have to. You might like to do one activity a week over five weeks or however best suits your timetable.
You can do one Unit every week of the year or pick a selection of Units to use at certain times over the course of the year.
With your Play Academy membership you’ll receive a Curriculum Year Plan ‘running order’ of the Units. This shows you which Units best suit certain weeks of the year – for example when Christmas is, when Ramadan is, when World Space Week is. You’ll also receive a blank version of this calendar so you can customise and fill in your own plan if you want to.
The Units work individually and can also be combined to build a broader theme over a period of time: a specialist curriculum pathway. For example, you might like to build a theme for your year based on a pathway that focuses on Math & Science, Art, Literacy & Storytelling, Festivals, Identity & Wellbeing or Nature.
Let’s take a look at what’s in our festivals curriculum pathway.
What’s in the Play Academy festivals curriculum pathway?
If you would like to have a festivals focus to your teaching this year, you’ll find the Play Academy has an excellent range of units that you can fit together to create an in-depth and engaging programme for your children.
All our units are based on hands-on learning. Rather than staring at a screen or filling in uninspiring worksheets, the Play Academy gives you easy-to-lead, creative lessons that enable your children to learn through making, playing, doing, cooking, investigating, storytelling, imagining, chatting, thinking and laughing.
Hands-on activities give children a deeper, richer understanding of the subject we are learning about and also lets children develop other vital skills alongside their knowledge including fine motor skills, gross motor skills, team work, problem solving, executive function skills, sequencing, adaptability, wellbeing, and community spirit.
In our festivals curriculum pathway your children can learn with the following units:
:: learn about the equinox and what it means
:: make leaf prints, creating art with nature
:: make a leaf wreath or crown to decorate your home/class or to wear to an equinox party
:: go on a Signs of Autumn nature walk to connect with nature and explore the science and senses of the new season
:: make autumn lanterns to light up your home / class as the nights get longer
:: and enjoy a seasonal feast to celebrate the equinox
:: make marble leaves
:: preserve leaves in wax and make a thankful tree
:: make leaf bookmarks
:: make I Am Thankful placemats
:: use lace leaf cards for fine motor skills
:: make play dough leaf prints
:: make pumpkin art using scissor skills and marbling technique
:: experiment with fizzy pumpkin science
:: make magic potion smoothies, making up recipes and working with fractions/ratio
:: play Halloween literacy games with an adaptable range of activities for all ages
:: create a Halloween house as an art-meets-storytelling-meets-social-skills project
:: learn about the Day of the Dead, it’s meaning, traditions and how it’s celebrated, and make a mini book
:: make a sugar skull collage
:: learn about their own ancestors
:: use papel picardo letter cards for literacy games
:: use marigold number cards for math games
:: learn about Diwali: it’s meaning, it’s traditions and how it’s celebrated
:: make Rama and Sita puppets and act out their story
:: create firework paintings or diya lanterns
:: make rangoli designs
:: explore a five senses Indian food taste test
:: learn about Hanukkah: the story of the festival, the traditions, and how it is celebrated
:: make a mini Hanukkah book, writing and drawing to re-cap their learning
:: play the traditional spinning top game of dreidel
:: make a Star of David craft
:: make potato latkes
:: make a Menorah craft
:: learn about the Solstice: what it is and how it is celebrated
:: make winter lanterns to light up the longest night of the year
:: go on a ‘signs of winter’ nature walk to explore the science and senses of the new season
:: learn about the Northern Lights and make skyline art
:: fill your windows with suncatchers or math stars
:: make a winter play-land for storytelling and imaginative play
:: learn about the Nativity and create their own Nativity book or small world scene using colour-in puppet / nativity scene characters
:: learn about Mary and Joseph’s journey, and explore junk modelling
:: learn about the shepherds role, and explore loose parts
:: learn about Jesus’ birth
:: learn about the three wise men, and complete their book / re-tell the story in their small world
:: learn about New Year celebrations and enjoy new year fizz sensory play
:: make a homemade calendar
:: complete their unique What A Year! journal page
:: make noise makers and fireworks
:: set New Year’s resolution goals
:: make a wishing wand or make a poster of their Word of the Year
:: learn about Black History Month: what it is and why it is important
:: explore identity and make multicultural faces
:: learn about Rosa Parks and make their own ‘bus book’
:: learn about the art of the Gee’s Bend Quilters and make their own quilt project
:: learn about Esther Malangu and try their own designs inspired by south African art
:: learn about Chinese New Year: what it is and how it is celebrated
:: learn about the animals of the Chinese zodiac
:: learn about Chinese dragons and make your own dragon puppet
:: make Chinese-style paper lanterns
:: play lucky 8s, count to ten in Chinese and play red envelope math games
:: explore sensory painting
:: try a mandarin sensory taste test
:: talk about friends and relationships
:: explore Valentine math and literacy stations
:: write about who they love
:: enjoy a Valentine sensory tub or play dough
:: bake Valentine cookies
:: build a book nook
:: tell stories with a storytelling tin or story spinners
:: make your own non-fiction book
:: create a story world
:: play book-themed Guess Who? and math games
:: make book marks
:: learn about International Women’s Day: what it is and why it’s important
:: learn about famous women scientists and try a science experiment
:: learn about artist Maria Prymachenko and try an art project
:: interview an inspiring woman they know
:: meet a girl who spoke up and changed the world
:: make their own pledge for change
:: learn about seasons: what they are and why we have them
:: make a mini Spring book
:: spring clean your classroom
:: make a spring wreath
:: go on a Spring nature walk
:: set up a nature table
:: enjoy a spring yoga routine
:: learn about Ramadan: what it is and how it is observed
:: make Arabic-inspired paper lanterns
:: play card games using Ramadan-themed playing cards
:: create geometric Islamic art
:: make a crescent moon and stars craft
:: learn about Easter and make a bunny, lamb or chick craft
:: grow eggheads to represent the new life
:: investigate a bouncing egg science experiment
:: develop skills through Easter-themed math and literacy centres
:: make beautiful Easter baskets and go on an egg hunt
:: learn about Earth Day
:: go on a themed nature walk
:: start a year-round nature journal, combining science and art
:: enjoy a sit spot meditation and mindfulness activity
:: investigate seeds
:: grow a plant
:: learn about Pride, how it started and why it is important, and make a mini book
:: take part in a Raise Your Hand pride celebration
:: learn about artist Gilbert Baker and the Pride flags, and make their own identity flag
:: add rainbows everywhere to build skills in math and literacy centres
:: learn about artist Keith Haring and create art inspired by him
:: learn about Juneteenth: what it is and how it is observed
:: make Juneteenth mini-books to record what they have learned
:: learn about the Juneteenth flag
:: enjoy Juneteenth inspired sensory play
:: consider national anthems and the poem/song Lift Every Voice and Sing
:: learn about the famous artist Augusta Savage and make clay sculptures inspired by her
:: learn about traditional Juneteenth foods and make homemade strawberry soda
:: learn about the sun and the solstice: what it is and why it happens
:: make a sunshine weaving
:: learn about colour theory and create your own warm and cool art project
:: play with a solstice sensory tub or sunshine play dough
:: make a sunshine mandala and host a solstice celebration
More ready-made thematic units for homeschool
The Play Academy gives you over 50 grab-and-go thematic units which integrate perfectly with your curriculum.
You can start anywhere in the year and with any unit. The Play Academy is designed to be flexible. No child will ‘fall behind’ or ‘miss out’ because children are learning all the time, through everything they do. Our cross-curricular programme of hands-on learning builds deep and wide knowledge and skills, as children learn by doing.
Over the year they will benefit from a balanced and engaging programme that incorporates a full complement of subjects.
Choose from seasonal Units, such as Autumn Equinox, World Book Day, and Halloween, which fit with particular times of the year and timeless units such as Colour and Fairies which can be done anytime.
Science and Math Units include Space, Time, Weather, Circles, and Ice & Snow.
Nature Units include Daffodils, Leaves & Twigs, Sunflowers, and Forest School.
Language Units include All About Me, Small Worlds, and Puppets.
Art Units include Famous Artists, Printmaking, and Art Camp.
Animal Units include Birds & Eggs, Caterpillars and Butterflies, and Dinosaurs.
Festival Units include The Nativity, Ramadan, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Pride, Valentines, Earth Day, Day of the Dead, Hanukkah and Black History Month.
How to download your ready-made festivals (home)school curriculum
Your teaching is about to get a whole lot better and easier!