The Polar Express

The Polar Express is a favorite Christmas holiday classic. This is a magical Christmas story by Chris Van Allsburg.

In this story, a little boy lies in bed waiting to hear the bells on Santa’s sleigh. He waits and waits, but does not hear the bells.  A friend had told him that Santa does not exist and that he would never hear those bells. All of a sudden, he hears an unexpected squeaking sound coming from outside his house.  The boy looks out the window and sees a steam engine in front of his house. The conductor invites him to board the Polar Express train.  This train is full of children in their pajamas. They are all traveling to the North Pole! The children were taken to the center of the city.  This is where the children had to wait to see who would receive the first gift of Christmas from Santa Claus.  To his surprise, Santa sat him on his lap and asked him what he wanted for Christmas.  The boy asked for a silver bell from Santa’s sleigh. A bell was taken from one of the reindeer and given to the boy. He put it in the pocket of his bathrobe.  When the children were back on the train, the boy noticed that his pocket had a hole and his bell was gone.  The children were taken back home.  On Christmas morning, the boy got an extra little present under the tree. It was the silver bell along with a note from Santa!  The little boy jingles the bell and hears a magical sound.  His parents do not hear the sound of the bell and think that the bell is broken.  Throughout the years, his friends stop hearing the bell.  The little boy never stopped believing in Santa and always heard the sound of the magical Christmas bell.

Click on the book above to see the video. The book is read by the author, Chris Van Allsburg.

Ideas for activities:

1. Students can dress up in their pajamas and drink hot chocolate the day that you read this story.

2. You can also have a silver bell waiting for the children when they return from recess, lunch or specials.
3. Hide little bells in the bucket of crayons.  When students reach in for crayons, they will hear the bells.

4. Retell the story through a reader’s theatre activity.
5. Line up the chairs and pretend that everyone is onboard a train. They will be departing from your classroom and traveling to the North Pole.

6. Locate your city on the map or a globe.  Now, locate the North Pole. Students can illustrate or write about how they would travel to get there.
7. Compare the weather in your city to the weather in the North Pole.

8. Make instant snow. Many students have never seen snow.  Just watch their eyes lit when you make all of this snow.  
You can buy it from the Steve Spangler science site. The kits start at $4.99 each.
Here are some free printables to go along with The Polar Express. Your students are sure to enjoy these fun activities and ideas provided in these books.  I hope that you enjoy them.  Just click on the image to get these.

Happy Holidays,
Lidia R. Barbosa


  1. Katie says

    Hi There! I just found you on pinterest, and am your newest follower! These are so great! Thank you for sharing your awesome free materials! I am a speech pathologist, blogger and mama of two and I host a linky party, Thrifty Thursday, to bring together educators and parents to share FREE or nearly free learning activities. I'd love for you to stop by, and link up if you'd like!

  2. Thank you so much!

  3. Hello Katie,

    I admire the work of a Speech Pathologist. I am glad that you found my blog and resources. I will make sure to visit your site.

    Happy Holidays,

  4. Rachel,

    Thank you for stopping by. I am glad that you are able to use these activities 🙂


  5. You've won an Award!
    The Liebster Award – Nyla.
    Nyla's Crafty Teaching

  6. Brian says

    Super ideas! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the insta snow! I tried that for the first time a couple of years ago with my class and they loved it!

  7. Aww, Thank you Teacher Nyla.
    You are so sweet.


  8. Thank you Brian. I love the Instant Snow. It's extra special for students who have never seen snow before.


  9. I love Polar Express too! You had great ideas! Congrats on your newest blog Lidia!

    Teaching Blog Addict
    ♥Teaching with TLC

  10. Just found your blog 🙂 I'm your newest follower!

    Happy Holidays!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
    A Teacher's Treasure

  11. Thank you Tamara. It is so nice of you to stop by.


  12. Welcome, A Teacher's Treasure!