Children rejoice! Google has just launched their 2014 Santa Tracker. You might recall, last year’s tracker allowed you to use Google Earth and Google Maps to track Santa’s progress around the world. This year, Google has sweetened the pot even further with an Advent calendar-style website for Santa’s Village, with each December day leading up to Christmas unlocking a new feature in the village.
Some of the videos and games are purely for giggles and fun, like the sleigh racing game – do you think I’m going on Santa’s naughty list for deliberately driving him into the snow banks and laughing at his “umph!”?
And some of the features have an educational bent. The website is preloaded with a feature highlighting different Christmas celebrations around the world (click on the globe icon). We already knew about Christmas crackers in the UK but had a good laugh at Iceland’s Christmas Cat! And for K-12 teachers or parents looking to carry the discussion even further, Google provides Common core lesson plans comparing Christmas traditions in different countries.
Last but not least, come Christmas Eve starting at 2:00 am PT, you and your kids can begin tracking Santa’s travel itinerary around the world until he climbs down your chimney to put gifts in your American stockings…or French shoes…or whatever your tradition calls for.
Tip of the hat, Google, for a fine example of edutainment for the kids!