Holiday Activities to Help Keep Students Engaged

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The season of excitement and magic is upon us. During the holidays there is so much going on in the classroom and outside of it as well. This is can be a very exciting time for students, with parties, presents, and treats what’s not to love? But it can also create some chaos and disorder if we aren’t careful. With the holidays coming up, breaks from school, and so much going on, it is easy for students to get distracted. I have found that incorporating the magic of the holiday season into our school work helps keep students engaged and on track. Everyone loves a good holiday activity while learning right? Holiday activities make things fun and special! Here are some of my favorite ways to keep students engaged and learning throughout the holiday season.

Embrace the Holiday Season in Your Classroom

Embrace the holiday season and use it to your advantage as you continue your everyday lessons.

No matter what subject area you are focusing on, using a holiday theme can make it more fun and engaging for your students. From math to writing to language arts, your students can hit all of their important standards this winter. These activities bring a fun holiday-themed twist that will make things feel more like a game than learning.

Here are _ ways to use holiday-themed lessons in your classroom this season.

Editable Hidden Pictures

One of my favorite holiday and seasonal activities to include in the classroom are these hidden picture puzzles. My students love them so much more than a color by number or coloring page where you already see the picture. There’s something about the slow revealing image that really keeps them engaged.

These hidden picture activities are editable which means that you can use them for any skill or concept. I have used them for math facts, sight words, vocabulary and so much more. They are easily edited using Powerpoint and the Find & Replace feature. You can create the perfect activity in just a couple of minutes.

Better yet, you can create differentiated activities with very little effort to meet the needs of all your students. And, since students are all working on the same picture, no one knows who is doing what skill. It’s such a great way to provide just what each student needs without making anyone feel different.

You can find a variety of different editable hidden pictures in the Teaching in Blue Jeans store. For December I love the Christmas Hidden Pictures and the Winter Hidden Pictures.

Fun Holiday Activities for Math

Math is an important skill we learn and practice all year round. During the holiday season, I like to put a little Christmas twist in my math lessons to make them more engaging and exciting for students. I find this helps to keep them eager to keep learning as the holiday draws near. 

Design a Gingerbread House Measurement Activity

One of my favorite Christmas math activities I used to bring out every December was the Design a Gingerbread House print-and-go activity. It was also a favorite math activity my students looked forward to completing.

The design a gingerbread house activity gets 2nd through 4th-grade students measuring using different measurements including:

  • Inches (Whole, Half, Quarter, Three-Quarters)
  • Centimeters (Whole & Half)
  • Mixed measurement (Whole Numbers or Whole Numbers and Fractions)

With seven different gingerbread options to choose from you can make sure your students are practicing just the right measurement skills they need to work on.

You can also easily differentiate the activity. It’s easy to assign specific houses to specific students or groups of students depending on their skill level.

Design a Gingerbread House Counting Activity

This gingerbread house counting activity is a great way for students to work on number recognition and counting while have some creative fun too!

My third grade students love the Design a Gingerbread House activity so much that when I moved to kindergarten I knew I had to find a way to include it. Since inches and centimeters wouldn’t do I recreated this fun holiday math activity as a counting activity.

Students will use counting skills, number recognition and 1 to 1 correspondence to build their gingerbread house. This resource focuses on number to 20 and is perfect for students ages PreK through 1st grades.

Your students will love counting, cutting, coloring, and designing their very own gingerbread houses this holiday season.

Winter Math Fact Practice Digital Mystery Pictures

Winter digital mystery pictures are a great way to engage students in math fact practice

Winter-themed learning fun doesn’t have to be all paper and crafts. It’s a great opportunity to bring in some digital learning fun as well. Digital mystery pictures are the perfect way to keep your kids engaged and practicing some of their targeted math facts this winter.

My students love practicing math facts with the Winter Digital Mystery Pictures. As students answer each question correctly pixels from the image automatically reveal. An incorrect answer is marked red so students can self-correct. Kids LOVE working through the math facts and trying to guess what the final image will be.

Digital mystery pictures are great for almost every grade level with math fact practice for addition, subtraction, and multiplication and division. No matter what math facts your students are working on they are sure to love these digital mystery pictures.

You can easily differentiate your winter math practice by assigning specific digital mystery pictures to students based on their skill level or targeted area of practice.

Holiday Activities for Literacy and Writing

Nothing gets students excited about literacy and writing than holiday-themed writing prompts, Just Add Words activities, Elf Yourself craftivity, and Would you Rather writing prompts. These activities will be a surefire way to make sure you are hitting your literacy and writing goals this winter.

Just Add Words December Picture Writing Prompts

Writing prompts were always a hit in my classroom because I made sure to pick topics and themes my students would enjoy. Christmas and winter are no exceptions.

There are so many possibilities for writing prompts using pictures of gingerbread houses, a boy building a snowman, and even Santa himself just to name a few.

The Just Add Words December Picture Writing Prompts allow students to focus on writing and creative thinking by creating their own story based on an image.

These are super cute to hang up in your classroom after students have created their writing and image coloring.

Or, you can even put them all together in book form for your class to take turns reading to younger classes.

You could even start a yearly tradition and deliver your student’s pictures and writing to a senior center or homeless shelter. It’s a great way for them to show kindness during the holiday season.

Holiday Crafts 

Another fun way to keep students on task and engaged during the holidays is by doing Christmas or winter-themed crafts. Arts and crafts projects are great for young students because they help strengthen fine motor skills, enhance hand-eye coordination, and let students show their creativity.

There are tons of options when it comes to crafting through the holidays but my favorite are craft activities that I can connect to learning too. Sometimes a good craft is just what you need to inspire some great writing.

Elf Yourself

The Elf Yourself Holiday Activity includes a place for you to include a photograph of each student transforming them into adorable Christmas elves. They will also be writing about what their lives would be like if they were an elf. These stories always turn out so cute and creative.

But there are so many other ways to use this resource too! After students create themselves as an elf decorate your classroom door or hallway with them. One teacher even used them to decorate the classroom Christmas tree!

The students love seeing themselves as an elf. But they also love “elf”ing other people too! These elf templates are perfect for spreading some holiday cheer with the school staff or even another class.

Santa’s Stuck Writing Craft

The Santa is Stuck in the Chimney Writing Craftivity gets students into the creative Christmas mood by creating a hilarious craft with Santa’s boots sticking out of the top of a chimney.

Students will write about what they would do if Santa were stuck in their chimney.

You will be surprised at the silly and creative ideas they come up with. They are a sure fire way to start a giggle-fest in your classroom this holiday season.

Engaging Students through the Holidays

Keeping students on task throughout the busy holiday season doesn’t have to be a chore. Rather than fighting it, embrace the holiday excitement. 

Fun activities, crafts, and books will keep students filled with excitement and engaged all holiday season long.

Using holiday themes and topics in your lessons will help students stay the course and are sure to be crowd-pleasers.

Learning with a touch of holiday magic is exactly what you will need to keep distractions to a minimum and finish the year strong.

Be sure to grab these fun and engaging holiday activities for your students and have a happy, exciting holiday season everyone will enjoy! 

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Be sure to save these exciting holiday activities to your favorite Pinterest teacher board so you can come back any time for fun and engaging holiday activities your students will love!

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