Christmas Classroom Activities
Fun and Learning at the Winter Party
It's common for students to watch a video during the afternoon of the last day before winter break, but I think teachers can do better. Kids get to watch videos at home. Social interaction is the cement that binds your classroom together and makes them eager to return in January. So that means...party time!
The classroom Christmas party is a time for some quiet activities...a big difference from the typical Halloween party! No costumes needed - just a little music and a project to keep everyone in good spirits.
Kicking off the party
Like all classroom parties, time this one for the end of the day. Start by having the students enjoy a small cup of cocoa and a graham cracker or small cookie while watching a science video about snow from the internet.
If you are feeling jolly, lead them in a rendition of the carol "Let it Snow," or another song that respects all religious traditions. Then...on to the project.
Ideally, you have been leading up to your Christmas classroom party activities by teaching something about winter during the first two weeks of December. This sets the stage for a fun project that culminates the lesson plan...and might even produce a piece of student work that can be added to the grade book.
Even if you live in a warm area that never sees snow, there are all kinds of winter activities that can be developed into curriculum. Here's some ideas for lesson as well as projects.
No two alike: Study snow crystals
"Snowflake Bentley" is the man who first discovered that all snowflakes are different. He was also the first man to photograph individual flakes. Google his name and you'll find videos that explain his work. Supplement with articles from child science magazines that discuss snow crystals.
Cut out snowflakes at the Christmas party. Don't do the boring ones...there are plans on the internet for absolutely amazing ones!
Animals that hibernate
Lots of books are available that discuss the winter habits of bears, squirrels and other animals that sleep most of the winter. Students can pick their favorite animal and do research about their winter habits. At the party, finish the reports with a color illustration.
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere vs. the Southern Hemisphere
The flip-flopped seasons are fascinating to children. It is just hard for them to imagine that when it is blazing hot in America, it is snowing somewhere else. Again, there are lots of books on this topic. I recommend that students pick two opposite countries (one up north and one down south) and research their Christmas traditions. They can present these informally at the classroom party.
Writing about snow
This one ties right into your regular literature curriculum. Start introducing winter themes into your assignments, then spend the party doing a fun poetry activity. Kids like to rhyme and they like to read their funny verses to their friends.
Need some healthy food ideas?
Try these snow-white snacks:
- Cauliflower with ranch dip
- Mozzarella cheese sticks
- Applies with yogurt dip
Betsy Weigle is the creator of Classroom Teacher Resources, a website focused on classroom management and new teacher success.
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