It’s a fact that every child loves Christmas and New Year. This may be because everything is festive around this time of the year, but mostly because they get a ton of presents (which is becoming a cross-cultural phenomenon, too). Since the holiday season is upon us, we wanted to do something special so we came up with this list of fun activities that you can do with your students to celebrate.
Decorate the Classroom
For this activity, all you are going to need are 2-4 pairs of scissors, Scotch tape, and some blank paper. You can divide your students into 2-4 groups, depending on how many you have in your class so each group can get one pair of scissors. Your students will then make and cut out snowflakes, Christmas trees, and other decorations and tape them to the classroom windows. Those that are more creative can make a snowman, a house or a sleigh with Santa and colour them with crayons.
We do not recommend you do this activity with younger students whose fine motor skills have not yet fully developed. The scissors you are going to use should be sharp enough to cut through thin pieces of paper, but not so sharp the students could hurt themselves while cutting. Teacher supervision is, of course, a must here.
Write a Letter to Santa Claus
This is one of the easiest but possibly most fun activities that you can do with your students around Christmas. Each student should take a piece of paper and write their letter to Santa telling him what they want to get for Christmas. You can join in the fun and write one yourself.
At the end, when everyone has finished writing, you can give each student in your class an envelope and a stamp so you could send all of the letters to the North Pole.
In addition to encouraging children to learn through playing, the goal is to introduce children to the world of grownups through writing and literacy and to cherish written communication.
New Year’s Resolutions
If you plan on doing an interesting writing activity closer to New Year, this one is always a good choice. Have your student write down everything they want to achieve in the following year, be it related to school or not.
You will then take out a box or a bag in which you will put all of the letters your students wrote and come next winter holiday season, you will open the box and you and your students will read together what they wrote last year. They will then tell you if any of their wishes came true and what they did to make it happen.
“Happy Holidays” Greeting Card
In this simple activity, your pupils can make greeting cards to send to whomever they want. It can be their grandparents, mom and dad or even one of their classmates. The cards can be made by simply folding a piece of paper in half. Instruct your class to decorate the cards by drawing on them, encourage them to use as many colours as they like and to make the cards as festive as possible.
They can even take pieces of cotton and glue them onto the cards to resemble snow or little pearls from old necklaces that will be the ornaments on their trees.
This creative activity is perfect for all ages and that’s what makes it so great. You can do it with both your younger and older students and the results will be amazing every time.
Sharing is Caring
In the spirit of the holiday when we receive most presents, it is only fitting we give something back. You can talk to other teachers working in your school and make it an even bigger project or do it just with the class that you are teaching.
Ask your students to bring items they no longer need – it can be toys, clothes, old books or anything else. Tell them they can bring it throughout one whole week and that when the week is over, you will take everything they collected and donate it to the Red Cross, a children’s hospital or any charity that helps children in need or those that are less fortunate. Let your students know that they are making others happy by giving a little, and teach them about sharing and love through this project.
This game is part of the Western Christmas tradition and it is something your students will love. Write down the names of everyone in your class on small pieces of paper and put all of them in a bag. Your students will then take turns until each one of them has pulled out one name out of the name bag.
They should not tell anyone who they got. The students should then prepare a Christmas present for the person whose name was on the paper they got – they will be that person’s secret Santa. The presents need not be expensive. You can advise the class to make the presents instead of buying them, it could be a card or a drawing, etc.
All of the presents will be put in the corner of the classroom or under the tree if you have it. The students will open up the presents before winter break starts (or on Christmas if it’s not a holiday where you’re teaching). Once a student opens up the gift they got, they should try and guess who their secret Santa was.
This is another activity that teaches kids about the importance of sharing and giving to others and it is guaranteed they will they have a lot of fun pretending to be Santa, even if it is for one day only.
The holiday season, and especially New Year, is a time for new beginning, but also a time to learn new things and teach your pupils love, understanding, sharing, and teamwork. Hopefully, you will find a way to include these holiday activities into your curriculum and have fun with your students. Happy holidays!
About the Author
Milica Madić, freelance blog/article writer from Serbia with experience in working with young learners.