Start of main content
Age Range: 5-7 | 7-11
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • Science

Best Christmas wrapping paper

Evaluate strength and durability of materials that Santa could use as wrapping paper

Santa has a problem. On Christmas Eve, he packs all the presents into his sack to deliver to children around the world. He’s found, though, that the presents get a bit bashed about on the way and that some wrapping paper starts to tear. It doesn’t look good to put a battered and partly unwrapped present under a tree, so he needs your help.

Can you find out which is the best wrapping paper for Santa to use?

This fun and festive activity is suitable for 5-11-year-olds and will take approximately 1-2 hours to complete.

What equipment will you need?

At least six different types of wrapping paper. You can use more if you like (try and find ones which feel and look different, such as shiny metallic paper or tissue paper.), Some tape for wrapping, A large bin liner or a Christmas sack if you have one, and Five bricks/ large stones of equal size. (It works best if they aren’t perfectly smooth or round.)

How to do it

  • Step 1 – Wrap up each brick or stone with a different piece of wrapping paper. These will be your ‘presents’.
  • Step 2 – Put them all in the sack together.
  • Step 3 – Ask an adult to act as Santa and shake the sack for 30 seconds as though carrying it around. You could sing Christmas songs while you are doing it.
  • Step 4 – Take each ‘present’ out and look at it carefully. Record any changes in the wrapping paper on a results sheet. These are your observations.
  • Step 5 – Put them all back into the sack and get your helper to shake them again.
  • Step 6 – Complete step 5 another three times (if your presents survive the shaking!). Record any changes each time.

Once you have determined which paper would be best, you could write a letter (or even a poem) to Santa to let him know how you tested the paper and which paper you think he should use. You can also look at packaging materials to see which protects items delivered by courier or the post the best.

Download the free Best Christmas wrapping paper activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Oh ho ho, and please do share your experiment highlights with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM.

Related resources