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
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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 placed everything on a Multicraft tray. The sequins are for the crown.
The printable is no longer available, but you can find a free toilet paper tube nutcracker printable at Sophie’s World. (Note: The download link isn’t real obvious. To find the link, click on the Stats tab just above the right column of steps on the Sophie’s World site.) This is a fun activity and works on a number of fine-motor skills, too.
Here’s the YouTube video.
These don’t have a free printable, but you can find directions to making some cute toilet paper roll Nutcracker storytelling props at Red Ted Art.
Tray for Making Nutcracker Decorations
This tray uses the free Holiday Bookmarks: Featuring the Nutcracker by Exploring Elementary at Teachers Pay Teachers. I also used free 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 free Ballet Slipper Color Matching from 1+1+1=1 and free 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.
For the layout, I would just place the matching color tablets side by side in a column with the matching ballet slippers to the right of the color tablets.
“One Less” Ballet Subtraction Activity
Renae from Every Star is Different has a wonderful Nutcracker unit study. “One Less” uses the free Ballet One Less printable from that unit. You’ll find it by going to Every Star Is Different and using the search bar at the bottom to see all the Nutcracker printables and posts. This printable is from the “Christmas Unit Week 1.”
I added a tweezers to some sequin snowflakes to add fine-motor activity.
Greater Than, Less Than Nutcracker Activity
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.
I used a Montessori Services rug for my layout.
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)
- Nutcracker Ballet Stage Kit from Marcie in Mommyland
- Ballerina Preschool Pack from 1+1+1=1
- Nutcracker Printable Pack from Kindergarten Worksheets and Games
- Nutcracker PreK-K Printables from 123 Homeschool 4 Me
- Nutcracker Printables from Every Star Is Different (go to search bar at bottom of site and search for Nutcracker to find a variety of activities)
- Nutcracker Preschool Pack from Miniature Masterminds
- Nutcracker 3-Part Cards from Lara’s Place
- Nutcracker Printables from Preschool Mom
- Nutcracker Lapbook from Cynce’s Place
- Nutcracker Number Match from PreKinders
- Nutcracker Ballet Handwriting Sheet from TwistyNoodle
- 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 Printables (many printables) from Teachers Pay Teachers
This isn’t free, but I LOVE Maestro Classics albums for kids … a perfect way to introduce classical music! Be sure to check out their Nutcracker CD or MP3/PDF!
I have hundreds of December holiday activities for kids!
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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Thanks for providing such an incredible resource and for including me in it!
Lady Lilith says
This looks like lots of fun for the kids. Thank you for sharing the great resources and printable.
Cerys from Rainy Day Mum says
Deb this is one of my favourite Christmas Stories, I was taken to a performance every year of the ballet by my Mum and Dad as a child and it’s something that we are planning to start this year with the kids.
Off to make some of the ballet dances and find our copy of the book to share with the kids this Christmas.
Christa Brown says
Hi Deb! What a great study! My kiddos would adore the ballerina snowflake. Thanks for sharing!
So fun!! I love using the Nutcracker for inspiration!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!
The Preschool Toolbox says
This is such a great resource! So many wonderful ideas for playful learning!
Such an awesome collection of ideas related to Nutcracker story! Love your roll and cover (less than) activity! Have to pass it on to my hubby for his 1st grade class!
christine cane says
I have a four year old granddaughter who loves to do arts and crafts. I am looking forward to the activities on your website.