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6 Activities to Keep Your Students Engaged Until Winter Break

While the holiday season is one of our favorite times of year, we know that the weeks before winter break can be super hectic and stressful, especially that last week. The closer it gets to break, the CRAZIER kids become and we know from experience that crazy kids = a stressed out teacher. Here are 6 ideas to help you engage and excite students even as they are dreaming of winter vacation! Make sure to grab our gift to you-two FREE resources that you can use with your students.

1. Learn About Holidays Around the World

This is a great time to teach students about how people all over the world celebrate winter holidays. They get an opportunity to find out about similarities and differences that they might have with other cultures. This video shows several different winter holidays around the world. After watching, students can reflect and share their own holiday traditions. 

We created a fun Holidays Around the World Breakout Game where students can collect stamps in their passport as they learn about different holidays and complete challenges. Check out the printable and digital versions below:

 

2. Create a Homemade Gift

Looking for an easy gift that your students can make and parents will actually use throughout the year? This super cute calendar is a great idea. Just take a picture of each student holding out their arms with their hands down. Print and cut out the images. Glue mini clothespins to the back of their hands and insert a calendar. 

Check out @happilyeverafter here on Instagram for a full tutorial.

3. Make a Gingerbread House

One of our students' favorite activities of the year is making gingerbread houses. Kids have a blast designing, creating, and decorating their own house. Get parents to send in materials and use resources that are available to you, such as milk cartons. Tip: Make the gingerbread houses and allow them to dry overnight. Then they will be ready to decorate the following day. The smell of your classroom will be amazing! 

If you are looking for some gingerbread-themed resources, take a look at our Gingerbread Area and Perimeter Unit. This unit includes math activities and directions for creating gingerbread houses, as well as a parent letter requesting supplies. 

4. Have a Grinch Day

If you have never had a Grinch Day with your students, you definitely need to try it! It's so much fun and your class will absolutely love it. Throughout the day, we do grinch themed activities, such as STEM challenges, games, math activities, and more!  We even watch the old school version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. You can find it here on Youtube. Check out some of the pictures from our Grinch Day below, including the "Pin the Heart on the Grinch" game. 

           

5. Earn Class Rewards            

This is a great idea that could be used for the last week of school when behavior is at its craziest! Put 5 gift bags out on the Friday before the last week. After reminding them about the expectations, tell them that each day they will start with the word GIFTS on the board. Any time they as a class don’t meet those expectations, they will lose a letter. But if by the end of the day, if they still have at least one letter left, they will get to open a gift bag and receive a class reward! Our students absolutely loved being able to earn rewards and it SAVED our sanity! Hopefully you can use these reward cards to set up your own gift system and help you survive the last week before break. Click on the picture below to download your FREE set of Holiday Reward Cards.

6. Read Picture Books (not Featuring Santa)

As much as we love Santa, it can be tricky to read books about him at school. We are always on the lookout for great winter books that don't mention Santa. Check out a few great books below. You can also find the links to the books being read aloud on Youtube.

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie daPaola

How to Catch a Snowman by Adam Wallace

Snow Day! by Lester L. Laminack

Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright


One Winter's Day by M. Christina Butler

The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School by Joan Holub

This last book is featured in our Gingerbread Activities Unit. You will find all kinds of engaging activities for your students to complete, like a paper bag gingerbread house, plus this FREE History of Gingerbread Flipbook Activity!

                                 

                                                           

 You can grab the bundle of both of our Gingerbread activities below.

                                          

Hopefully we have given you lots of ideas to help get you through to winter break. We wish you a very relaxing and joy filled holiday season!