The countdown to Christmas is on! Students getting antsy? Our Christmas classroom activities will keep them entertained while sharpening their reading, writing, and math skills. Challenge your class to conduct a survey on re-gifting and graph the results, update a classic Christmas poem and act it out, or research how Christmas is celebrated around the world.
The holiday season is also a great time to reflect on the importance of giving back and being kind to others. We've included Christmas activity ideas that prompt kids to undertake acts of kindness and to create a "wish list" for others. Take a look.
Christmas Activities for School
Whether you're teaching in person or remotely, these activities are sure to bring out students' creativity, compassion, and kindness this holiday season.
1. Roll a Christmas Story
Challenge students to write a holiday tale using our "Roll a Christmas Story" activity sheet. Three rolls of a die determine the story's main character, setting, and problem. Will the story be about a bossy reindeer at a classroom Christmas party who's looking for Santa's stolen sleigh? Or will it be about an angry elf in a huge toy store trying to save Christmas after all the toys vanish from Santa's workshop? There are so many possible story lines!
Consider writing the story together as a class if you teach younger grades. Older students can partner up and take turns writing each line of the story. Finally, give students the choice of how they want to share their creations, whether it's by:
- Reading the story aloud to the class
- Acting out the story
- Putting on a puppet show (To make the puppets, they could simply draw the characters, cut them out, and glue a popsicle stick to the backs.)
- Telling the story using a mixture of text and emojis
2. A Christmas Debate
Pose this debate question to your class: Is Christmas re-gifting okay? If you're teaching in person, have students who answer "yes" stand on the left side of the room, and those who answer "no" on the right. "Undecided" students should stand in the middle. Invite students to explain their viewpoint. Students who are convinced by opposing arguments can change positions. Be sure to have them explain what convinced them. If you're teaching online, pose the debate question using an online poll tool like Kahoot! As an extension, have students poll up to 20 people on the debate question and graph their results. Ask: Are your poll results similar to our class results? What might account for differences or similarities? Finally, challenge students to write an essay with one of the following titles: "4 Reasons Re-Gifting Is Great" or "4 Reasons Re-Gifting Is Unacceptable."
3. Update a Christmas Classic
Challenge students to put a modern twist on the classic Christmas poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." First, read the poem aloud. Tell students to listen for details that are not familiar or popular today. Make a list of student responses (e.g., sugar plums, stockings, kerchief, cap, chimney, peddler, thistle, sash). Start a discussion:
- In the story, the stockings hanging by the chimney are going to be filled with presents. Where do you think kids today expect to find presents on Christmas?
- The children in the story were dreaming of sugar plums. What do you think kids today would be dreaming about on Christmas eve?
- The mother in the story wears a "kerchief" and the father a "cap." What might you expect modern characters to wear to bed?
- The narrator likens Santa to a "peddler," or someone who sells merchandise door to door. We don't use the word "peddler" much anymore. What would you compare Santa to today?
After the discussion, have students write an updated version of the poem that describes Santa paying a visit to a modern home. Allow time for students to share their tales with the class by either reading them aloud or acting them out.
4. Make Christmas Cards
Here's a simple Christmas tree card that students of any age can make. For the littlest learners, you might want to provide the cut pieces of paper and just have students glue them in place.
Supplies You'll Need:
- Construction paper
- Glue or tape
- Crayons or markers
Step 1: Fold a piece of construction paper in half to serve as your card. (See the step-by-step photos above.) Cut a rectangle out of brown construction paper. This is the tree trunk. Glue it near the bottom of the card cover.
Step 2: Cut about 16 thin rectangles out of green construction paper to serve as the tree branches. (You might also choose unconventional colors like red, purple, blue, or orange to make the tree.) Glue one of the "tree branches" over the top of the tree trunk, as if you are creating a triangle.
Step 3: Now take another tree branch, and glue it on the other side of the tree trunk, completing the triangle top. Continue placing the "tree branches," one on top of the other in this triangular fashion, until you've used all the "tree branches" and you have what looks like a full Christmas tree.
Step 4: Top the tree with a star cut out of yellow construction paper, or create a tree topper of your choice. Write "Merry Christmas!" on the inside using crayons or markers. Add a heartfelt message for the person receiving the card. You might share what you admire most about the person or share a wish that you hope will come true.
5. Random Acts of Kindness
Brainstorm with your students a list of kind acts they can do for family members, classmates, teachers, and others in the community. They might suggest doing a household chore without being asked, giving a classmate a compliment, making a card for an elderly neighbor, or donating canned goods to a local food bank. Make a list of students' ideas. Then create a December calendar, adding one kind act for each day of the month. Provide students with a copy and remind them to stick to it! Have them journal or do a think-pair-share about the experience. Ask them to answer the following questions: What kind act did you do? Who did you do it for? How did it make you feel? Why is it important to remember to be kind to one another?
6. Christmas Around the World
What is Christmas like around the world? Have your students do some research to find out. This interactive map is a good place to start. Kids simply click on one of the countries on the map to get a pop-up explainer of how Christmas is observed there. Click on France, for instance, and you'll learn that kids leave their shoes by the fireplace with the hope that Père Noël (Father Christmas) will fill them with gifts. Have students write a paragraph comparing and contrasting Christmas traditions in two countries. Or, if they celebrate Christmas, have them compare their family's Christmas traditions with those of kids in another country.
7. Solve Emoji Math
Create emoji math puzzles for your students to solve. The littlest learners can simply add up emojis (🎁+🎁+🎁+🎁+🎁 = ___). Elementary students can start by solving simple equations (⛄+⛄ = 6, so ⛄ = ___), and move on to more challenging ones:
Have students create their own emoji math problems for classmates to solve. If they don't have digital access, they can always draw the pictures instead.
8. All I Want for Christmas
It's the Christmas season, so no doubt some kids are thinking about all the presents they want this holiday season. Here's a chance for them to think about what they wish for others. Our "All I Want for Christmas" activity sheet asks kids to write or draw a wish they have for their family, their classmates, their community, and the world.
More Christmas Classroom Activities
Have any more tips on engaging students with fun Christmas activities for school? Or maybe you have Christmas classroom activity ideas that are well suited to a remote teaching environment? Either way, we'd love to hear from you. Connect with us on Twitter (@HMHCo) or email us at Shaped@hmhco.com.
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