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Age Range: 5-7 | 7-11
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D & T

Christmas Emoji

Design an emoji that reflects the festive season in this fun graphics activity

Emojis are a way of communicating thoughts and feelings in our modern technological work. Can you think of your favourite things about the festive season and use them to design an emoji?

This is one of a series of free STEM resources designed to allow learners to use the theme of the Christmas period to develop their knowledge and skills in Design and Technology, and Engineering. This resource focuses on the design of a festive emoji.

Activity: Christmas emoji

In this fun and creative activity, learners will use the theme of the festive season to design an emoji. They will think about what the festive season means to them and list their favourite things about this time of year. They will then use this list to sketch initial ideas for their own emoji before producing a final design that could be used on a phone or computer.

This activity could be used as a main lesson activity to teach about sketching skills, following a brief and the use of modern communications technologies. It could also be used as part of a wider scheme of learning focusing on the design process or as a one-off transition activity.

The history of emojis

Emojis act as a visual language. While emojis are modern, visual languages have been used throughout history. One of the oldest examples is Egyptian hieroglyphics. Emerging around 3000 B.C. in ancient Egypt, hieroglyphics were pictorial symbols that represented objects, ideas, and sounds. Used primarily by priests and scribes, hieroglyphics adorned temples, tombs, and papyrus scrolls.

The history of emojis can be traced back to the late 1990s in Japan. Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese artist, created the first set of emojis for mobile. Initially, emojis were popular in Japan but gained global recognition in the late 2000s. Since then, emojis have become an integral part of digital communication, allowing people to express emotions, ideas, and reactions in a concise and visual way. Today, emojis have evolved into a vast and diverse collection, reflecting the richness of human expression in the digital age.

Resources required

  • A round coin (e.g. two pence or ten pence)
  • A4 or A3 paper
  • Graph paper (or sheet from the resource)
  • Pencils, coloured pencils, paints and/or felt tip pens
  • A fine-liner pen for detailing on sketches
  • A pair of compasses or round object to draw large circles (e.g. a drinking cup or mug)

The engineering context

The development of ideas is fundamental to the work of the engineer working to solve a problem. To be able to work to a brief is the start of all engineering problem-solving activities.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will know the purpose of emojis, they will be able to understand how to design an emoji using a given theme, and they will be able to sketch with confidence!

Download the free Christmas emoji 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 U.K. nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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

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