A Guide to Christmas Classroom Activities

teachers

Looking for ways to add some holiday fun into your lessons? These activities provide ideas to incorporate Christmas into different subject areas and will help you keep your students engaged in learning.

Engaging Students With Christmas Activities

During the holidays, it can be hard to keep students focused on lessons. Use Christmas activities as a way to keep them engaged and having fun.

Christmas Writing Activity

Activity: Journal Prompts

Objective: Free-write for at least two paragraphs on a given topic.

Materials: Journals or paper, pencil

  • Journal prompts can be used daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • For each journal prompt, specify the skill students should focus on. Skills might include:
    • Use of descriptive words
    • Varying sentence structure
    • Proper punctuation and capitalization
    • Compound words
    • Subject-verb agreement

Prompt Ideas:

  • The best gift I ever received was...
  • The best gift I ever gave someone was...
  • An ideal holiday meal must have...
  • This Christmas, wouldn't my family be surprised if I...
  • I'm glad Christmas is only once a year because... OR I wish Christmas came more than once a year because...

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Christmas Reading Activities

Act It Out

Read a story and let the kids act it out. It often helps to break into smaller groups to ensure every child has an opportunity to participate. If time allows, the kids can create costumes and basic sets for their productions. Just a few simple costume pieces, made out of construction paper and common objects in the classroom, can liven up a story. Depending on the complexity of the story, you may want each group to act out a different portion of the book. A less complicated book only needs one group to act it out. In that case, several stories can be used to create the scripts for the groups in your class.

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Christmas Math Activity

North Pole Math

The truth is that math is at the heart of everyday life. You can't run a business without math, and you can't make a budget without math. We can use this to our advantage at Christmas by designing a math activity focused around Santa Claus's operation at the North Pole. Santa and his elves have to look at everyone's wish lists, add up the number of kids who want a particular toy, and figure out how many of each they need to make. They have to build the parts that make up each toy and buy the raw materials needed to make those parts.

You can create a worksheet that steps through the story of how the North Pole operates with math problem after math problem. You can even give the math worksheet a full narrative arc like a Christmas storybook.

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Christmas STEM Activity for Middle School

Building Santa's Sleigh: An Engineering Activity

For this activity, students will be tasked with building a sleigh sturdy enough to carry Santa and his large bag of gifts. Begin by breaking students into groups of three or four. Give each group its supplies: miniature marshmallows and toothpicks. Instruct students to build a sleigh that is at least an eight-inch cube. The object that will represent Santa and his sleigh should be a small plate with a collection of similarly-shaped rocks.

After students have built their sleigh, have each group bring the sleigh to the front of the class. The group members will share why they decided on the design that they did. Next, they will place the plate on top of their sleigh and begin stacking rocks on top of it. The goal is to get as many rocks on top of the sleigh as possible.

  • Materials Needed: Toothpicks, rocks, marshmallows, small plate

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Christmas STEM Activity for High School

No Simple Solution

The beauty of design is the focus of this activity.

Materials

  • Grid paper
  • Pencil
  • Example (video or image) of a Rube Goldberg Solution

Instructions

  • Ask your students to offer ideas about the easiest Christmas related task. You might get examples like:
    • Hanging stockings on the chimney
    • Putting decorations on the tree
    • Building a snowman
    • Spraying fake snow on the window
  • Choose the easiest/simplest task offered as the target task of this activity.
  • Divide your class into pairs (or allow them to work independently if desired).
  • Now, show the Rube Goldberg solution example and have a quick discussion of how Rube Goldberg solutions are insanely complicated methods of doing incredibly easy tasks.
  • Instruct the pairs to design a Rube Goldberg machine to accomplish the simple task chosen by the class.
    • Remember, the design must be incredibly complicated.
    • The design also must be plausible (if not practical).
  • Pairs should draw out their design as well as write a list of actions/steps involved in their process.
  • Allow time for the pairs to present their design to the class.

Access more Christmas STEM activities for high school here.

Additional Christmas Classroom Activities

Looking for more activities to use with your students? Try these:

Accessing More Holiday Teacher Resources

You can use these guides to help your students learn even more about winter holidays:

By Jessica Lyons
December 2020
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