Web

Google’s updated Santa Tracker entertains and teaches coding throughout December

Whether you’re a parent with Christmas-obsessed kids, or simply looking for something to do in your lunch hour, then be sure to drop by Google’s 2018 Santa Tracker for a spot of festive fun.

The interactive website and Android app encourages visitors to “explore, play, and learn with Santa’s elves all December long” via a cornucopia of playful tasks and mildly distracting buffoonery. Oh, and coding lessons, too.

Google’s Santa Tracker is in its fifteenth year and comes with a revamped design to capture better than ever the merriment of the holiday season.

“Under Mrs. Claus’s expert guidance, the elves have updated the village with a snazzy look and feel along with some brand-new content,” it says on the site.

In years gone by, visitors could unlock one activity per day in the run-up to December 25, but this year it has done away with the countdown approach and now lets you dive straight into all 24 activities from the start.

This year’s offerings are split into three categories: Learn, play, and watch. Activities include Santa Selfie that lets you give the big guy a makeover — if you’ve ever wondered what Santa would look like with a rainbow-colored beard, here’s your chance. For something a little more educational, Code Lab introduces coding fundamentals that help to navigate an elf through a forest in the hunt for dropped presents.

You can also learn about different holiday traditions around the world and there’s a section offering lots of different Santa phrases in various languages.

Short animations pepper the site, too, among them A Day At The Museum and Elf Car, and the many games include Penguin Dash, Elf Jamband, and Gumball Tilt.

Educators looking for some festive inspiration can download lesson plans that incorporate some of Google’s learning activities, including the ones focusing on coding and holiday traditions.

And on the big night, you can, of course, track Santa’s progress as he makes his way around the world on his sleigh, delivering gifts as he goes. And keep an eye out, too, for the exclusive games that Google has promised to drop as Santa embarks on his most important journey of the year.

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