We, teachers, know that when December comes the only thing our students are thinking about is the holidays. Whether they participate in Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another winter celebration; we can use classroom games and low-prep activities that incorporate holiday themes and characters to keep learning both engaging and fun! From making cute DIY ornaments for friends and family to delicious treats, good deeds, and handmade cards, we have 20 of the sweetest activities to bring on the yuletide cheer!
1. Holiday Vocabulary Lesson
December is the perfect time to teach your students some keywords associated with the holidays. This link has a list of over 100 words for you to pick and choose the ones suitable for your students. Design a word wall they can reference daily, make your own word search, or ask students to use 5 words and write a short poem or story.
Learn More: Thought Co.
2. Edible Reindeer
Here is a fresh idea that not only uses my favorite food (peanut butter!) but also makes a healthy and adorable holiday snack for your elementary kids to enjoy. You can have students bring in the items they need: raspberries, pretzels, chocolate chips, nut butter, and celery, and create them together!
Learn More: Teach Starter
3. DIY Elf Handprint Cards
Looking for a cute card your students can give to their family and friends as a sweet holiday gift? These handprint cards are so simple to put together and will get your learners excited to decorate and write inside once completed.
Learn More: Simple Everyday Mom
4. Scented Gingerbread Playdough
Ready to whip up some moldable playdough that smells like Christmas? This recipe uses holiday spices like cinnamon and ginger to give your cute gingerbread the smell of the season. Bring in some holiday cookie cutters and craft supplies for students to mold and create festive characters with.
Learn More: Learning 4 Kids
5. Holiday Creative Writing Activity
There are plenty of ways to include holiday vocabulary, concepts, and props in elementary writing lessons. This fun activity asks students to complete an activity sheet with step-by-step instructions for decorating a Christmas tree using target transition words such as "first, next, then, last".
Learn More: Firstieland
6. Color by Code Activity
Not only are these activity packets helping your students with color recognition and sight words, but they also provide art therapy for students who enjoy individual, creative assignments.
Learn More: A Teachable Teacher
7. Guess Who?: DIY Christmas Version
Time for a little guessing game your students can play in teams and work on their descriptive and association skills. Split your classroom into two teams and write your own cards with holiday-themed characters, concepts, foods, and decorations for students to act out or provide verbal clues for.
Learn More: Kid Friendly Things To Do
8. Paper Plate Grinch Craft
How cute is the Grinch? This classroom activity is either made from green construction paper or by cutting and painting a paper plate green. The facial details can be made using different colored card stock or paints and markers. The hat can be cut and folded, and each student can add their individual flare to this iconic Christmas character.
Learn More: I Heart Crafty Things
9. DIY Beaded Snowflake Ornament
This fun craft can be hung on the class tree, brought home, or given as a present or part of a gift exchange. These ornaments are made by shaping wire into a snowflake outline and then adding beads before twisting the ends shut.
Learn More: Happiness is Home Made
10. Classroom Holiday Traditions
You can print out this bucket list or create your own to give students some ideas to make this holiday season a memorable one! Each day on the list can include a craft or activity they can do in the classroom, with friends, or at home. See which student completes the most items on the list for a prize!
Learn More: Mommy's Bundle
11. Holidays Around the World
You'll need some basic research skills for this festive celebration activity in order to teach students the ways in which different cultures honor the holidays. You can make a chart on your class board and ask students to add details over the weeks in December about what their families believe and do.
Learn More: Firstieland
12. Star Pattern STEM Activity
For this festive math skills activity, you can introduce your elementary students to the concepts of degrees, measuring angles, using a circle protractor, finding the circumference, and cutting out a finished product. Once they have drawn and cut their stars they can create cool designs using paint and hang them up for classroom decoration.
Learn More: Nurture Store
13. Bow Tie Noodle Wreaths
We've got another kid-friendly yuletide activity to bring your students some Christmas cheer! These craft wreaths are so creative and easy to assemble. Bring a couple of boxes of dried bow tie pasta, green paint, glitter, and ribbon for kids to make and decorate their own wreaths to bring home or hang in class!
Learn More: Crafty Morning
14. Toilet Roll Candle Crafts
How adorable are these toilet paper roll candles? Students can bring in their own paper rolls and paint them with Christmas colors and designs. Then cut a circle for a halo of light and use orange tissue paper to form 3D flames!
Learn More: The Chaos and The Clutter
15. Used Toy Donations Box
This festive activity starts in the classroom but reaches far beyond its walls. Get a big box and ask your students to bring in old toys or clothes they no longer need to donate to a local charitable organization.
Learn More: Money Crashers
16. Christmas Classic Memory Game
There are tons of free printable Christmas cards you can find online to print and play this classic game. You can also print out your own photos and make personalize the memory game for your holiday, students, or subject!
Learn More: Simple Everyday Mom
17. Christmas Book Advent Calendar
Kids LOVE countdowns, especially for a holiday as exciting as Christmas! Here is an educational advent calendar that features books for the weeks of December. For book ideas, you can pick your own, have students vote, or get inspiration from the link provided to improve reading skills while decking the halls!
Learn More: Rainy Day Mum
18. DIY Peppermint Candy Ornaments
During this chaotic time of the year, everyone could use a little something sweet. These melted candy ornaments are the cutest craft to make together and enjoy hanging on the tree or munching!
Learn More: One Little Project
19. Christmas Board Game Day
This super fun hands-on activity uses a game board with wh- questions students must answer to move along and help Santa find his sleigh. There are plenty of game boards ready to print and use online, or you can make your own with challenging questions that will be a hit with your class!
Learn More: Printablee
20. Foldable DIY Christmas Tree Cards
Check out these super cool and creative card suggestions suitable for kids to make and give to their family or friends! Use the tutorial video to guide students on how to cut and fold their greeting cards before writing sweet messages inside.
Learn More: Paper Magic