Weekend Website 40: NORAD Santa

It’s the time of year when inquiring young minds want to know–Where’s Santa? Here’s a great website to answer that question.

santa site
Track Santa on Xmas Eve

Age:

Kindergarten-third grade

Topic:

logic games, thinking games

Address:

NORAD Tracks Santa

Review:

There’s so much to like about this website. Target users are young children, so I like that this website requires little reading. Once they get to the site (I have a link on our classroom start page for NORAD Santa), they can watch a Santa video while I get everyone else logged on. They can also check out the real-time countdown of how long until Santa arrives while watching the video (BTW, the video comes through YouTube so I have to stay on top of making sure they don’t stumble onto other videos). Once the movie ends, students click through to Santa’s Village (requires the skill of scrolling down the page and finding the link–hard for kindergartners, but we persevere).

Santa’s Village includes twenty-five games, added at a pace of one a day, for children to play as they await Santa. Students must pay attention to detail, find the numbers of the games and know which day of the month it is so they select a game that is open. This is accompanied by festive holiday music.

Games include holiday themed versions of popular kids games such as tic-tac-toe, Zippy Elf Word Sleuths, the Game Room, Ornament Collection, sledding games, Christmas Putt and Play, Snowball Warrior, and an MP3 player with music. In fact, every game is accompanied by holiday music which students love. The favorite of my students is a Christmas tree that you connect the lights to make it work (it’s #10 in the Village). It takes a lot of logical thinking and if-then analysis. I have never seen an adult complete it, but my first graders love seeing who can do it the fastest (and they are fast. It took one little boy ninety seconds. I asked him how he did it. His answer: His dad tells him to look backwards for the answers and that’s what he did. Wow.). When they complete the tree, I have them print a screen shot (which I teach them how to do), print it, sign it and hang it in the classroom gallery.

On Christmas Eve, this site is where all children go to track Santa’s progress across the planet as he delivers gifts. I share this with my parents so they’ll know when to get their kids in bed, allowing Santa to arrive in private. Parents like this part of the program.

This site is available only December 1st through Christmas. My students are always disappointed that they can’t play it out of season, but they are on top of reminding me when they can, again, play NORAD Santa.

Educational Uses

  • Use critical thinking and problem solving skills to play the games

More Holiday Websites:

Book Review: 16 Holiday Projects

Monday Freebies #21: Another Holiday Card

Monday Freebies #24: Holiday Newsletter

#16: A Holiday Memory in Word or KidPix


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Author: Jacqui
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.