The Nutcracker Family Zone

Join SAAM online for a Nutcracker-themed family celebration! We are delighted to have partnered with The Washington Ballet to bring you festive activities that you can enjoy at home. Join instructors from The Washinton Ballet School for two special virtual ballet classes that cover ballet basics and the story of Clara, her nutcracker prince, and the Sugarplum Fary. Get in the holiday spirit with crafts, puzzle activities, and coloring pages inspired by the magical tale of The Nutcracker and artworks from SAAM’s collection.

The Washington Ballet’s Story of The Nutcracker

Enjoy a charming iteration on this beloved holiday classic with a new all-American twist that was designed especially for Washington, DC.

It’s Christmas Eve in 1882 in a Georgetown mansion. Clara and her family prepare for a holiday celebration. As the guests arrive, Clara’s mysterious godfather, Mr. Drosselmeyer, enters with his handsome young nephew, who greets Clara with a kiss on her hand. Drosselmeyer entertains the guests with a puppet show and dancing dolls and presents Clara with a special gift—a nutcracker.
Jealous of his sister’s present, Fritz seizes the nutcracker and breaks it. As the party ends, Clara sadly places the nutcracker under the Christmas tree. Later that night, after everyone has gone to bed, Clara tiptoes downstairs to retrieve her nutcracker. Suddenly, the room fills with scurrying mice. Eventually, Clara falls asleep and begins to dream. When the clock strikes midnight, Drosselmeyer’s magic begins. The Christmas tree grows and a battle ensues between a brigade of toy soldiers led by a life-sized nutcracker against the Rat King and his menacing rats. As the Rat King nears victory, Clara distracts him, enabling the nutcracker to kill him. Suddenly, the nutcracker is turned into a handsome prince. He leads Clara through the enchanted winter to a glorious springtime.

Clara and her Nutcracker Prince travel to Springtime, where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. They are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy, her Cavalier and her attendants: butterflies, mushrooms and other woodland creatures. When the Prince tells them how Clara saved his life, the Sugar Plum Fairy summons her subjects to entertain them with wonderful dances—Spanish and Chinese dances, a duet for an Anacostian brave and maiden. Brilliant red cardinals frolic with a Tom Cat; an American frontiersman dances with frontier girls; Mother Barnum dances with her circus clowns; and the waltz of the Cherry Blossoms is led by the Dew Drop Fairy. The celebration comes to a spectacular climax when the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a grand pas de deux. Just before the curtain falls, we see Clara asleep with her nutcracker, marking an end to her magical journey.

This synopsis is courtesy of The Washington Ballet.

A photograph of a ballerina.

Photo by Dean Alexander.


Winter Card

An image of a homemade holiday card.

Supplies Needed:


- Print out our winter card template
- Cut out card, snowman, and glove outlines from the template
- Color in your snowman or gloves
- Glue your cutouts to your card and add a festive seasonal message if you like

Paper dancer

A paper ballerina dancing

Supplies Needed:


- Print out of our template and cut out the ballet dancers.
- Now for a snowflake tutu. Fold a piece of printing paper in half vertically and then cut along the fold.
- Starting from one end of the strip you cut, fold triangles until you have a cone shape.
- Cut off the top of the cone in a zig-zag pattern.
- Cut off a small bit of the bottom of the cone. Be sure to arch your cut.
- Cut shapes into your cone. Triangles, squares, whatever you like. When done, open the cone.
- Wrap your new snowflake around a ballet dancer to create a tutu. Or, cut the snowflake into smaller pieces to decorate a ballet dancer’s leotard instead. Have fun with it!

Toy Soldier

An image of a arts and craft project to make a toy soldier.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 toilet paper roll
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers


- Cut 3 strips of construction paper: 1 for your toy soldier’s face, 1 for their hat and 1 for their uniform. Make sure that each strip is long enough to fully wrap around the toilet paper roll. Feel free to use whatever colors you like for these—be creative!
- Carefully glue the strips one by one around the toilet paper roll.
- Draw a face on your toy soldier in the center panel of the paper.
- Decorate the hat and uniform however you would like. You could cut buttons out of construction paper, add a belt, or doodle unique patterns.


Enjoy a festive wordsearch based on the spectacular holiday tale of The Nutcracker.

A word search

Download the Wordsearch [PDF]

Coloring Pages

Enjoy coloring pages featuring seasonal artworks from SAAM’s collection. Since we can’t admire your creativity in person, please share a picture of your completed creations by using #SAAMFamilyZone on social media.

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