When the weather outside (and let’s be honest, the energy inside your classroom) is frightful – engaging, low-prep resources are a MUST to survive December as a teacher. Here are my favorite Christmas activities for upper elementary students to keep the rigor high, and engagement higher when everyone is counting down the days to winter break.
1. Adding and Subtracting Fractions Holiday Coloring Activity
If you teach 5th-grade math, this is a must-have for December. The math curriculum slows down for no one, and it especially doesn’t care that it’s the holidays and students are checked out! These fractions Christmas activities for upper elementary students will allow you to keep the rigor, teach the standards, and STILL have some holiday fun in the classroom. Click here to grab a copy for your own students!
2. Winter STEM Building Task Cards
I’m a HUGE fan of using STEM building challenges around any holiday in the classroom. These winter-themed building challenges are the perfect December activity to keep students engaged in hands-on exploring and learning while having some fun! I like to put the cards in stations around the room with different materials. I use Legos, hashtag blocks, K’Nex, Play-Doh, pipe cleaners, wax sticks – honestly, anything works! Each card will have students designing and building something winter-themed. You’ll be amazed at how creative your students can be. Click here for the full set!
3. Around the Room Reindeer Review Activity
An around the room activity is a great way to get students up and moving during those last few weeks before break, but still keep the rigor high! This 5th grade math around the room activity is reindeer-themed and covers almost all 5th grade common core math standards. It’s a great way to review everything you’ve taught while still celebrating the holidays! Best part? It has no specific reference to any winter holiday – it’s just reindeer! Click here to see this activity in more detail.
4. Winter Homophone Coloring Activity
If your students are anything like mine, homophones are one of those things that just don’t seem to ever completely stick! I find myself having to review and correct homophones in writing all the time. So what better time to review them than during December? Use this winter-themed homophone activity to review homophones and celebrate the holidays. I like to let my students work around the room, dim the lights a little, and put on a crackling fireplace Youtube video with some Christmas music in the background! Cozy, relaxed, but still getting some standards-based practice in. What more can you ask for? Click here to check out the activity!
5. Holiday Bookmarks
These free bookmark templates are the perfect student gift! Each bookmark is editable so you can type your students’ names in, tie a ribbon to the top, and VOILA! A simple and cute holiday gift for your students. Did I mention they’re totally free? Click here to download the template.
6. Digital Holiday STEM Building Challenges
What’s better than holiday-themed STEM challenges? Digital STEM challenges that are absolutely ZERO prep and will make absolutely ZERO mess! These digital STEM building challenges will have your students drag and drop virtual building blocks on the screen to design and build on the different holiday backgrounds. Use these with computers, tablets, even phones! These building challenges offer all the engagement and creativity of regular STEM building challenges, with none of the setup or clean-up. You can even have your students screenshot their creations to share with the class! Click here to see the full set of digital challenges.
7. Identifying Parts of Speech Holiday Coloring Activity
Another skill that my students always need practice with – parts of speech. This is the perfect topic for quick review during December stations, or during those last few days before winter break. Holiday and Christmas activities for upper elementary students do not have to be complicated and boring! This holiday-themed coloring activity will have your students identify parts of speech, and color the corresponding picture according to the answers they choose. This one’s great for morning work too! Click here for the full activity.
8. Winter & Christmas Game Boards
I love using game boards for all sorts of reviews in my classroom. These free gameboards come with editable playing cards, so you can create your own questions, OR just use them with any set of task cards! I like to have my students work in partners or small groups around the room – mini erasers work perfectly for playing pieces! Want to up the rigor even more? Have your students create the questions and answers, and then play as a class! The possibilities are endless with these. Click here to download!
9. New Years Reflection Coloring Activity
This one is great for before OR after winter break! I like to use this New Years’ activity as morning work on the first day back from break. Your students will answer questions about the New Year and color the picture according to the answers they choose. The best part about this activity is that every picture will turn out differently since the questions are opinion-based! I love hanging these up in the classroom to see all the different pictures. Click here to see the full activity!