Starting at 2am PST on December 24th, The NORAD Tracks Santa® Operations Center will be in full swing. While kids are getting excited by the live updates of Santa's whereabouts as he travels the world delivering presents; it's also a great chance to harness that excitement and incorporate fun and educational lessons.
Geography: Dust off that globe or unfurl that world map to track Santa's whereabouts. Show them how to use a map, longitude and latitude, equator, compass rose, time zones, and more. If you have a compass or other navigational equipment, now is a great time to introduce these tools to your kids.
History & Culture: The library on the NORAD website has a great history about Santa, holiday traditions around the world, and about NORAD's very interesting start that began with a typo (check the NORAD FAQ).
Here are some more Common Core focused ideas on the new Google Santa Tracker.
Math: Calculate Santa's travel time between time zones. Look at the population growth and see how many presents he has to deliver to different countries. Gauge how many hours it will take for Santa to reach your home.
Have your kids figure out where Santa will be next and then call 1 877 HI-NORAD (1 877 446-6723) to talk directly to a NORAD staff member who can confirm Santa’s exact location. Operators are available until 2:00a.m. PST on Dec. 25th to answer your calls.
Writing: Virginia’s letter, written in December 1897, is the most famous example of a child wanting to know about Santa. An audio recording is on the NORAD website Library. Let your kids write notes or poems to Santa, Ms. Claus, or Rudolf.
These are ideas just get you started. Make sure to modify your questions so it is age appropriate and fun. If you have any more ideas to share, please leave a comment.
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
~ 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore