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It's pageant time!

Cultural events


Suitable for children: 
Skills this activity improves: 
Christmas pageant Santa's float

Christmas is a time of celebration for many cultures and a time to reflect and give thanks for the year. Many families and communities will begin their celebration with a local pageant.

Before going to the pageant talk about the different things you might see and do. Talk about the sounds you might hear and the different types of floats and entertainers that might be there.

We will have to wait a long time for the pageant to start. We can draw on the ground with chalk while we wait.

Last year Jamee’s school was in the pageant. They walked behind the drumming band and gave out lollies.

Talk with your child about what they can remember seeing. Try and predict if the floats and entertainers will be the same or will they be different. Will it still be as loud and colourful as they remember?

Do you remember seeing the clown riding the tricycle last year? I wonder if he will be in the pageant again.

I remember last year that the first entertainers we saw were a marching band. It was so loud when they banged the cymbals together.

Talk about the different types of pageants. There is the big Christmas Pageant in the city and you can watch it on TV. Other towns and communities hold smaller ones and invite local people to perform. Explore together what the difference might be between the city pageant and the country town or local pageant.

I wonder if the city Christmas Pageant will have the cows and fishing float like they did at the Kadina Christmas Pageant?

Alternative tools

  • Television

Why does this matter?

Talking about the pageant helps children to develop planning and measuring skills and the language to talk about what they are doing and seeing. When you talk together about the pageant you will be planning what to take, when to leave home, where to park the car and where to stand to see the pageant.

“We will have to leave home early as there will be lots of people there.”

“We are going to catch the bus to see the Pageant as we won’t be able to get a park close to Victoria Square.”

What does this lead to?

Planning and getting ready to go helps children to develop an understanding that time is a form of measurement.

As children explore time they are learning to make predictions about when things will happen, how often they will occur and the likelihood of it happening.

Time can be represented as a numeral on a clock, as an event or something that happens at different times of the day. Time can be represented as something that will happen very soon or is over quickly. It can be an event that lasts a long time or something that we need to wait to happen. When we talk about time as an event or a routine, children are developing an understanding that we might use different language.

Language to use

  • Street, footpath, road
  • Walking, riding, driving, standing
  • Watching, waiting
  • Audience, participants, entertainers, crowd
  • Pageant, parade, march
  • Police, ambulance officers, first aid officer, photographer, announcer, marshals
  • Float, bus, bike, car, truck
  • Clowns, musicians, dancers, singers, community groups, bands

Questions to use

  • When will we see Father Christmas’s float?
  • Does everyone celebrate Christmas?
  • Can you hear the music? Where is that coming from?
  • Do all pageants have floats?
  • Why do some people walk during the pageant and others ride on a float?
  • How do the floats move?

Useful tips

  1. Sometimes you have to wait a long time for a pageant to start. Pack a bag of books and toys to use while you wait. You could also pack chalk, bubbles and a bubble wand.
  2. Pageants can be very loud and crowded. Before you go, explain to your child that there will be lots of people and noise.
  3. Before you go, talk to your child about what to do if you get separated from each other.
  4. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

  1. Make a lotto card of things you can look for before the pageant starts. How many people wearing red hats can you see? Can you find anyone wearing green shoes?
  2. Take photos along the way. You can use these to make your own pageant book.

Variation by age

Three to five year olds

  • Borrow stories and books from the local library about Christmas celebrations.
  • Mark off on the calendar how many days till the Christmas Pageant.
  • Explore when the local council or community pageant is being held.
  • Make a countdown clock to take with you. Mark off the things you have seen or done on the clock so your child can see when the pageant will begin.

Questions to ask

  • How many days till the pageant happens?
  • How will we know that the pageant is about to start?
  • Will we have to wait a long time till the clowns appear?
  • Do all pageants have a Father Christmas?

Language to use

  • When, soon, how long, next, after
  • Clock, timetable, time
  • Christmas, celebration, culture
  • Days, weeks, month, hours