My daughter was a dancer from the time she was little. So, The Nutcracker became a fun part of our Christmas season. In honor of that tradition, I want to share free Nutcracker printables and ideas for creating Montessori-inspired activities using free printables.
The Nutcracker can be difficult for preschoolers to understand, but it’s helpful to share a Nutcracker book and activities for preschoolers who are exposed to the Nutcracker ballet because of older siblings or those who are already taking ballet classes. A number of these activities work well through early elementary and add to older children’s appreciation and understanding of The Nutcracker.
The links are for free Nutcrakcer printables for preschoolers through 1st graders (sometimes older). I don’t share coloring pages unless a page has a specific educational purpose related to The Nutcracker.
Free Printables + Materials Used in the Pictured Nutcracker Activities for Preschoolers-First Graders
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).
Illustrating the Nutcracker Activity
This activity could work well for a wide range of ages. It only requires printed out pages from the free Illustrating Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker by Sally of Elementary Matters at Teachers Pay Teachers along with colored pencils (or another art medium) and a stapler or another way to bind the pages.
I included a copy of The Nutcracker as a way to help children understand the story. I used a classic version of The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann (retold by Anthea Bell) with lovely illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger. The E.T.A. Hoffmann story of the Nutcracker is different from the ballet, so you’ll want to choose whichever version of The Nutcracker is best for your child or students.
You could either have the materials available on a shelf or on a table similar to the one in my photo.
Nutcracker Craft Using a Paper Tube
For this activity, I used Nutcracker Cut-Outs Using Tissue Paper Rolls from Mary Engelbreit. I show the Nutcracker craft here, although you can also create Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King. I placed everything on a Multicraft tray. The sequins are for the crown.
This is a fun activity and works on a number of fine-motor skills, too.
Tray for Making Nutcracker Decorations
This tray uses the Holiday Bookmarks: Featuring the Nutcracker by Exploring Elementary at Teachers Pay Teachers. I also used printables for Nutcracker ornaments from Nutcracker Decorations at Hugo L’Escargot.
Your child could help you laminate the finished ornaments or bookmarks as gifts. Here’s the link to my favorite laminator.
Ballet Slipper Color Matching Activity
This is a fun extension to the Montessori color tablets for preschoolers! It uses Ballet Slipper Color Matching from 1+1+1=1 and Color Matching Cards from Montessori Print Shop (which can be used as a substitute for the Montessori Color Box 2). Both Montessori Print Shop materials and the color-matching ballet slippers from 1+1+1=1 follow the Montessori principle of isolation of quality.
I used a Montessori Services rug for my layout.
Renae from Every Star is Different has a wonderful Nutcracker unit study. “One Less” uses the Ballet One Less printable from that unit.
I’m a fan of the Greater Than, Less Than Alligator. This activity is a creative extension to that concept using a free printable Nutcracker Number Game from Preschool Mom. Printable nutcrackers are included for the greater than, less than symbols. I decided to use a real nutcracker. You could actually use real nuts rather than the printables to show the nutcracker eating the greater quantity.
I like that this activity extends the greater than, less than alligator idea to become an image closer to the actual greater than, less than symbols.
Free Printables Featured in the Nutcracker Activities at PreK + K Sharing
Free Printable: Illustrating Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker by Sally of Elementary Matters at Teachers Pay Teachers
Update: Free Printable: Nutcracker Cut-Outs Using Tissue Paper Rolls from Mary Engelbreit (This printable is no longer available, but you could try one of these free printables: Nutcracker Toilet Paper Tube Puppet, Nutcracker Toilet Paper Roll Craft, or DIY Nutcracker Container (using a Pringles can.)
Free Printables: Holiday Bookmarks: Featuring the Nutcracker by Exploring Elementary at Teachers Pay Teachers
Nutcracker Decorations from Hugo L’Escargot
Free Printables: Ballet Slipper Color Matching from 1+1+1=1
Color Matching Cards from Montessori Print Shop
Free Printable: Ballet One Less from Every Star Is Different
Free Printable: Nutcracker Number Game from Preschool Mom
Free Nutcracker Printables (of all kinds) for Preschoolers-First Graders (some printables for up to grade 3)
- Snowflake ballerina printable from Krokotak (Snowflake ballerina activity in my “Montessori-Inspired Little Passports Activities – Russia” post)
- Ballerina Preschool Pack from 1+1+1=1
- Nutcracker Printables from Every Star Is Different
- Nutcracker Printables 2 from Every Star Is Different
- Nutcracker 3-Part Cards from Lara’s Place
- The Nutcracker Activity Sheet from Classics for Kids
- Nutcracker Printables from Preschool Mom
- Nutcracker Lapbook from Cynce’s Place
- Nutcracker Number Match from PreKinders
- Nutcracker Ballet Handwriting Sheet from TwistyNoodle
- Nutcracker Ballet Lesson Plan from Fun Lesson Plans
- Nutcracker Toilet Paper Roll Craft from DLTK’s Crafts for Kids
- Cardboard Tube Nutcracker Puppet from Free Kids Crafts
- Nutcracker Craft from Learn Create Love
- Printable Nutcracker Puppets from Printables 4 Kids
- Nutcracker Cut and Paste from Making Learning Fun
- Nutcracker Puppets or Cupcake Toppers from Sally Lee Books
- Nutcracker Finger Puppets from CBRB
- Make Your Own Nutcracker and Mouse King from Workman
- Nutcracker Printables from Teachers Pay Teachers
Here’s the link to my article at PreK + K Sharing: Montessori-Inspired Nutcracker Activities Using Free Printables.
Please join me at PreK + K Sharing to see all my posts there over the years: Deb Chitwood at PreK + K Sharing.
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy! I’m also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!
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