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Age Range: 5-7 | 7-11
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D & T
  • Maths

How to make Christmas crackers

Use design and technology skills to use a 2D net to make a 3D Christmas cracker and hat for friends and family

Christmas crackers and hats bring fun and enjoyment to the festive dinner table. Can you assemble your very own cracker and hat from 2D nets?

Activity: How to make Christmas crackers

This engaging activity for kids is one of a series of accessible STEM resources designed to allow learners to use the theme of the Christmas period to develop their knowledge and skills in Mathematics, Design & Technology and Engineering.

Download our free activity sheet for a step-by-step guide on making a DIY Christmas cracker and hat from paper.

This activity could be carried out individually or in small groups. Once you have created your Christmas cracker, consider what gifts you could put into it. Who would you give the gift to?

Students could add designs to the Christmas cracker and hat as a fun extension activity. For example, they could add different colours and images related to Christmas, such as reindeer or snowmen. Learners could also create a joke book to be put inside their crackers using the IET resource titled ‘Christmas cracker jokes’.

Tools/resources required

  • Glue sticks
  • Paper
  • Coloured pencils
  • Scissors
  • Gold/Silver pens to add decoration
  • Pre-printed Christmas images

The History of the Christmas Cracker

Christmas crackers have become a beloved tradition during the festive season. We can trace the history of these festive party favours back to the mid-19th century in Victorian England. Historians believe that Tom Smith, a London confectioner, invented the Christmas cracker in the 1840s. Inspired by the crackling sound of a log fire, he created a device that would produce a popping sound when pulled apart. Initially, the crackers contained sweets and love messages but evolved to include small toys, paper hats, and jokes. Today, Christmas crackers are essential to holiday celebrations, bringing joy and laughter to gatherings worldwide.

The engineering context

Engineers use nets to make 3D models of structures and even products like vacuum cleaners.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, you will understand what a 2D net or surface development means and how engineers assemble them into 3D objects, structures and products. You will then learn how to create and make a Christmas cracker and a hat from a net.

Download the free How to make Christmas crackers activity sheet below!

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

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

Oh ho ho, please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM.

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