10 Activities for The Polar Express — Creatively Teaching First (2024)

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is my absolute favorite Christmas story to read in the classroom and at home. It is such a magical story where a little boy takes a ride aboard the Polar Express to the North Pole. This is a story for all who believe in the spirit of Christmas!

I can’t wait to share 10 Polar Express activities with you today that I use in my classroom and go right along with this magical story!

I use these Polar Express activities as stations. My class and I have so much fun spending the day reading the story, completing these 10 activities, watching the movie, and enjoying a snack. These activities can be done on one day or spread throughout a week or month. We complete these activities on the last day before break. I use these in place of our traditional reading and math stations. This way, it is nothing new and my students already know how to rotate to different stations. These activities can easily be done whole group or individual work as well! The stations/activities are engaging, fun, and full of literacy, math, and STEM skills.

Prior to our Polar Express day, I send a note home to parents inviting my students to wear their pajamas to school. On the last day before winter break, we have our magical Polar Express day! Students will start out by receiving their very own Polar Express train ticket. I like to have these waiting on their desk when they arrive. On our projector screen, I share an image of the Polar Express. The kids are so excited when they walk in!

The Polar Express Activity #7 - The Polar Express Round Trip Ticket

Students will create their very own ticket for the Polar Express. Students will write or draw a picture of what word would be on their Polar Express ticket. There are 2 differentiated options included!

The Polar Express Activity #8 - A Cup of Hot Cocoa Word Problems

With this Polar Express activity, students will read and solve math word problems on cups of cocoa. A cup of hot cocoa is not complete without marshmallows! Once each problem is solved, students will glue a marshmallow on each cup. This is a fun little incentive for solving the problem. There are two differentiated options included!

The Polar Express Activity #9 - Snow Spelling

The Polar Express goes through snowy mountains on the way to the North Pole. My students LOVE this Polar Express activity! Students will write their spelling words or sight words in the snow. You could use shaving cream, salt, etc. to be pretend snow. I like to use shaving cream because it is easy to wash off and it cleans the table too :)

The Polar Express Activity #10 - The Polar Express Train

This activity was quick and easy to prep! I printed the train cards, laminated, and cut apart. The I put a colored different colored dot on the back of each train set using a permanent marker. This makes it easy to identify a missing train to the correct set. I put each train set in a plastic bag.

Each train car has a number on it. Students put their train together by ordering the numbers from least to greatest!

Hot Cocoa and Cookie Decorating

After we complete the stations/activities, it is time to watch the movie with hot cocoa and a decorated cookie! I find it easiest way to do this is to use a crock pot. However, one year I was so tired (and pregnant) and it was just too much work to carry in a crock pot to school. Instead, we drank chocolate milk instead and the kids were just as excited with that!

I bought premade cookie dough that was already cut into shapes (best thing ever) and I just baked these the night before. I brought in the cookies and had a few parents donate supplies to decorate. The students enjoyed their hot cocoa and cookies while watching the movie. It was a great way to end the magical day!

I also have some EXCITING NEWS! These Polar Express read aloud activities are now DIGITAL! There are 10 digital activities ready to go on Google Slides. First, students will listen to the Polar Express read aloud by watching a video directly on the Google Slides. Students will be able to type, drag, and drop while completing the 10 engaging activities!

10 Activities for The Polar Express — Creatively Teaching First (2024)


What is first class on The Polar Express? ›

First Class features plush furniture, large picture windows, and climate control for comfort. All guests will receive: Cocoa served by the car's chefs in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ souvenir ceramic mug. A cookie. A surprise treat.

What does The Polar Express teach children? ›

These are the main messages from The Polar Express: Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see. The true spirit of Christmas lies in the human heart.

What do you do on The Polar Express? ›

During THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, passengers are served hot cocoa and a cookie, delight in lively songs and dance, and enjoy a reading of the holiday classic, The Polar Express.

What are the messages in The Polar Express? ›

Parents need to know that, like the book that inspired it, the The Polar Express has wonderful messages about the importance of believing, the value of friendship, respect for leadership and courage, and the beauty of being kind to others.

What is the main point of the Polar Express? ›

Summaries. On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

What is first class on ice train? ›

In ICE 1st class, orders are taken by a member of staff and drinks and food are served at your seat, all using proper china & glassware. You can't reserve a table in the restaurant car and don't need to, you just go along and sit in any free seat.

What are the 6 role Polar Express? ›

The Polar Express (2004) - Tom Hanks as Hero Boy, Father, Conductor, Hobo, Scrooge, Santa Claus - IMDb.

What are some interesting facts about The Polar Express? ›

The Polar Express was the first feature-length film to be entirely created using motion capture technology. This revolutionary technique allowed the animators to create a highly realistic 3D world without having to draw each frame. The result was a unique and stunning visual style, unlike anything seen before.

What does the hobo in Polar Express symbolize? ›

The hobo's identity is never revealed in the movie, leaving it open to interpretation as to who he is and what his true purpose is. Some fans have speculated that he is a representation of Santa Claus, while others think he may be a guardian angel sent to look after the children on their journey.

How do I prepare for Polar Express? ›

  1. Layers. Make sure your child's pajamas are warm, and put a coat over him/her that can be taken off on the train. ...
  2. Get there early. Arrive in Bryson City in plenty of time to park, walk around and feel relaxed prior to the ride. ...
  3. Eat before boarding. ...
  4. Pit stop. ...
  5. Bring the book. ...
  6. Bring a camera.
Nov 30, 2015

What is included in The Polar Express? ›

Every customer travelling on the POLAR EXPRESS™ will receive Hot chocolate, a cookie and the sleigh bell from Santa, (the first gift of Christmas). Customers in the premium carriages will also receive the special ceramic mug each and the special POLAR EXPRESS™ bag (per pair of seats).

What is so good about The Polar Express? ›

The movie is trying to convey to the audience that it's not about what you see and how things work, it's about choosing to believe in the magic of the world. The power that choice to believe has is where the magic of childlike wonder comes from and is something people seem to forget when they grow into adulthood.

Is there a deeper meaning to The Polar Express? ›

The Spiritual Aspect Of Santa Is Further Hinted At

The Polar Express comes to a heartwarming conclusion with the Hero Boy embracing his belief in the holiday season and Santa Claus himself. This is signified by the bell under the tree on Christmas Day.

Does The Polar Express have a religious meaning? ›

Spiritual Elements

Some parents may elect to use the film's theme of “childlike faith in one who is unseen” to convey a spiritual message, though others will feel uncomfortable using a movie that has consciously stripped Jesus out of Christmas as a means of metaphorically putting Him back in, aided by yuletide myth.

What does the bell represent in Polar Express? ›

The bell in “The Polar Express” is a magical symbol of belief in the spirit of Christmas. Only those who truly believe can hear the sound of the bell. Throughout the story, the bell serves as a metaphor for the importance of maintaining the wonder and magic of Christmas in one's heart.

What is the difference in seating on The Polar Express? ›

FIRST CLASS: Pods of four seats facing each other with a small table in between. Sold in groups of four with a commemorative Polar Express mug (must purchase a seat for everyone in your party) Includes complimentary digital photo download. PREMIUM UPPER DOME CAR: Mix of booth seating and set of captain's chairs.

What is the coach class for Polar Express? ›

Coach Class

Seating is arranged in a 3-2 configuration with three seats on one side of the aisle and two on the other. Designated wheelchair spaces are located in select coaches and can be booked online by selecting the wheelchair space icon and adjacent companion seats as needed.

What is the first present on The Polar Express? ›

The boy is handpicked by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas. Realizing he could choose anything in the world, the boy asks for a bell from Santa's sleigh. An elf cuts a bell from one of the reindeer's harnesses.

What is the difference between standard and premium tickets on The Polar Express? ›

Premium class passengers will each receive the special limited edition ceramic POLAR EXPRESS™ mug and a POLAR EXPRESS™ bag for each pair of seats.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carmelo Roob

Last Updated:

Views: 6232

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carmelo Roob

Birthday: 1995-01-09

Address: Apt. 915 481 Sipes Cliff, New Gonzalobury, CO 80176

Phone: +6773780339780

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Gaming, Jogging, Rugby, Video gaming, Handball, Ice skating, Web surfing

Introduction: My name is Carmelo Roob, I am a modern, handsome, delightful, comfortable, attractive, vast, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.