I guess I also want to give you a heads up that I take the week before the winter holiday pretty easy in my classroom. I've always told my students about my "word hard, play hard" philosophy. My theory is that if they have put in the time and effort this far into the year, then we can take a little break and do some fun activities. Don't get me wrong - we still do regular math each day, always incorporate reading, often find time to do a little writing, and typically we're finishing up a project or two. But - there's plenty of time for fun. Besides, it's not like their heads are in the game anymore by the last week before break!
The picture above is something I've done with students in grades 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and Kindergarten. Even with my little Kinders, each candle holder turned out wonderfully and I received a lot of compliments from parents and family members. You can often find candleholders at dollar stores - so this is a relatively inexpensive present that your students' parents will actually be able to enjoy and use for years to come!
Whenever we start this project, I tell the students to think about the color of tissue paper the person receiving this gift would like the best. Otherwise I've seen far too many students just go with their favorite color. My Kindergarten students made one larger candle holder, while this past year I allowed my 6th graders to make four smaller candle holders. It's totally up to you and your budget!
Here are a couple links to products that would work well for this project:
1/4 cup butter
10.5 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1/8 tsp. black icing color
4 cups rice cereal
This fun book-tivity comes from Shelley Gray. It's a great FREEBIE that allows all students to get into the holiday spirit - regardless of what holiday it is they do (or don't!) celebrate. It talks about family traditions, the best part of the year, and so much more. This is a great project for the week before winter break because it keeps students occupied in a meaningful way. I've also had students present them to the class to get speaking and listening standards covered!
One project I try to do every year is gingerbread houses (read about it at the end of this post). However, one year I had a group of students who had already done them in a previous grade. When I suggested we just scrap the idea, they started whining quite a bit. So we compromised and created these fun trees instead. In a lot of ways, they were even easier than the gingerbread houses! All that was needed was a little frosting, ice cream cones, and some dollar store candy goodies. The students had a great time and it was nice to take a small break from the academics I'd pushed so hard all semester long.
The picture of Santa above is the only "for sale" product in this post. It's not something I created, but from the talented Mr. Hughes. I just LOVE his grammar mystery pictures! (He has a variety of mystery pictures to choose from for students in grades K-8, so make sure to check them out!) They are a fun break from the everyday grind, and the students really love them. Click here or on the picture above to purchase your copy today!
These little beauties were a lot of fun to make! I simply downloaded this FREE tutorial from TpT and my students set to work. We had two foot snowflakes, six inch snowflakes, and every size in between hanging in my classroom. It was another fun activity to get away from some of the daily work.
There you have it! A few of the many Christmas activities I've done over the years. Please let me know what your winter traditions are in your classroom. I'm always looking for new ideas, so feel free to leave a link or comment below!