What holiday (or holidays) are you celebrating in December? There are plenty of classroom activities that can you do with your students regardless of whether they typically celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, more than one holiday, or nothing at all.
In a season marked by singing cheery songs, eating sweets and treats, wrapping gifts, and doing fun crafts, check out our list of holiday activities for elementary and middle school students below to ensure your class has a great send-off before winter break.
Fun Holiday Activities for Elementary and Middle School Students
1. Holiday Crafts
There's so much you can do when it comes to easy holiday crafts for the classroom—the list is endless. You can start by searching social media or consulting with your teacher BFF for ideas, but here's a list of some traditional school holiday craft ideas to start you off:
- Making snowpeople out of cotton balls (and other supplies)
- Making snowflakes out of popsicle sticks or paper
- Designing their own holiday ornaments
- Designing their own Christmas stockings
- Writing and illustrating a book or story based on whatever holiday they celebrate
2. White Elephant, Secret Santa, or Book Exchange
This holiday classroom game—which can be adapted across grade levels—can take different forms. For a secret Santa, you can have students randomly pick one of their classmate's names out of a hat. Make sure they don't reveal the classmate they selected! That is the student for whom they will have to buy a gift—you can set a spending limit (such as $5), or require students to bring in a book for another student if you want to do more of a book exchange.
In a white elephant, students can bring in wrapped gifts for their classmates and place the gifts in a central location in the classroom. You should then determine the order by which students will choose a random present to open. The first student selects and opens a random gift (make sure everyone can see what it is!), and then each student can subsequently either unwrap a new gift or "steal" one from another participant. The participant whose gift was stolen can then open a different wrapped gift or, again, steal one from somebody else. Continue until all the presents are unwrapped! There are many variations of this game, but you can read about your options here.
3. Create Holiday Cards
It's time for your students to get creative! Have them create holiday cards for their loved ones—their parents or guardians, family members, or close friends—using construction paper, glue, glitter, markers, and any holiday decorations you can find.
For older elementary and middle school students, you can consider even turning this into a writing assignment. Perhaps they can write short poems about the holiday they celebrate in their cards; draft a letter to somebody in proper paragraph form wishing them a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa; or thank someone for something kind they did in the past year.
4. Make a Multicultural Calendar
For this activity, download the printable PDF below. Students will research the traditions of different cultures and create a multicultural calendar. You will need to divide your students into groups, with each one assigned to a specific culture they would like to learn more about. They will then choose a month where at least one holiday is celebrated in that culture, research those holidays, and complete the assignment below.
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