Botanic Garden and Attenborough Arboretum

Journeys to Christmas

Learn more about the traditions linked with the festival of Christmas. For F, KS 1/2, supporting RE, Geography, Science and Art.

Following an introductory activity involving sharing ideas about Christmas and smelling Frankincense and Myrrh, the children follow different trails of coloured stars around the Garden. A wooden cut out of a figure in front of a cactus

  • On the green star trail they see and learn more about some living Christmas decorations, including holly, ivy, mistletoe and spruce trees. They then make a simple Christmas decoration using a pine cone to take back to school.
  • The purple star trail goes to the desert house and find plants that could have been used to help the wise men on their journey 
  • Following the gold stars the children find a 'stable' and sit on straw bales and use knitted figures to tell the Christmas story
  • Children follow the silver trail to the tropical and temperate glasshouses to see plants that are used for Christmas foods. For KS1/2 groups children collect labels showing the country of origin of these foods and back in the classroom they stick them on the correct places on a world map. 

During the plenary session the story of chocolate from grower to customer is acted out and the children learn about fair trade. The programme finishes with the children receiving a piece of chocolate as a surprise.

  • Availability: November and December only
  • Age group: F (a special version available), KS1 and Year 3/4
  • Numbers: Up to 70 children (or two classes) per half-day, each class divided into three groups with an accompanying adult
  • Duration: 10.00am-2.00pm
  • Cost: Please visit our programme costs page
  • Weather: We go outside whatever the weather so appropriate clothing and footwear is recommended. Because of the season however, the trails are part outside and part inside. In the event of severe winter conditions, the programme is adapted. The classroom is available for lunch. 

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