Winter Holiday Classroom Activities

Teacher Guide by Anna Warfield

Be sure to check out all our holiday resources!

Winter Holidays Activities and Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Winter Holiday Classroom Activities Include:

Sometimes we use the seasons and holidays around us to engage our students in the skills we are teaching. Whether you want to use these activities just for fun, or if you have lesson plans centered around the winter holidays, Storyboard That is an excellent resource. Check out some of the great things your students can do!

Winter Holiday Classroom Activities Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Ways to Celebrate

In this fun activity, students will explore the different ways people celebrate the winter holidays. Students can use a web or grid to show some of the celebrations for one or more holidays. You can also use this activity to examine historical and/or religious aspects of the winter holiday season, discussing different practices throughout history.

Here are just a few thoughts to get your students started:

  • lighting candles
    • menorah
    • kinara
    • advent wreath
    • lights in windows

  • family visits
  • parties
  • gift exchange
  • cards
  • church or temple services
  • feast
  • outdoor decoration
  • special food
  • holiday games
  • holiday music
  • volunteering/giving to others
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The Story of [Insert Holiday Here]

There are a lot of stories surrounding the winter holidays, both familiar and obscure. After reading stories or articles in the classroom, have your students create a summary or retelling of the story. Use a traditional or a timeline storyboard to lay out the events.

  • Origins of the Holiday

  • Notable Occurrences on the Anniversary of the Holiday
    • wartime battle
    • wartime cease-fire
    • natural disaster
    • social issues

  • Favorite Characters
    • Santa Claus
    • Mrs. Claus
    • elves
    • Frosty the Snowman
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    • Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen

  • Books
    • Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel
    • Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis
    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

    An extension of this activity could be for students to write their own holiday story using a traditional storyboard, preferably a story on a holiday they do not celebrate.
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Personal Memories

The holidays can be very special for people. Many fond memories have been built around Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa. Have your students create a traditional storyboard to tell the story of a favorite memory about the holidays. Because many people celebrate holidays differently, this activity gives students a chance to think and write about their own family traditions, and learn about the traditions of their classmates. If any students don’t celebrate winter holidays, have them create a storyboard about a fond memory they have of winter break or some other time off from school.

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Story Starter

Use Storyboard That to get students thinking about stories. Give them a prompt to work with, or start a storyboard for them to finish. There are many amazing scenes and characters on Storyboard That to stir up imagination! The prompt for the example below is: “The snow kept coming down…”

Depending on the level of your students, you may want to enforce a narrative arc, or you may just want the story to make sense sequentially. This particular activity is good for expanding “quick write” ideas, or boiling down a story idea to its major points. It is also good to get stuck students started. Present several finished stories to see the different directions students took!

Stick with eight cells or less to avoid long and complicated stories. A fun, but challenging, alternative would be to have one student or one group complete one cell of the storyboard, and then pass the storyboard on. Similar to passing a story stick or writing a class story, this will challenge students to make sense of the previous cells and channel their creativity!

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Let's Create a Card!

Another great feature of Storyboard That is creating cards! Use the amazing scenes, characters, and items to make a card that celebrates a winter holiday. Check out our holiday image pack, too!

  1. Create a three-cell storyboard for a winter holiday or celebration. This could be a “seasons’ greetings” message to a friend or family member, a short story (beginning, middle, and end), a joke, or whatever you want!

      Cell 1 is the front of the card.

      Cell 2 is the left inside page.

      Cell 3 is the back of the card.

  2. After you save your storyboard, click "Make a Folding Card."

    The right inside page is a pre-selected message. Choose the artwork and message that works best for you!

    Storyboards of any layout can be converted into a folding card, but only the first three cells will appear. Titles and descriptions are not printed on the card. Use Textables inside the cell if you want to include text.

  3. Print out pop-up image, and fold.

  4. Hold the paper so the front of the card is right-side-up in the bottom right corner. Then, fold the paper in half away from you (you should see the back of the card on the left and the front of the card on the right). Fold the paper again so you only see the front.

  5. Don't forget to sign your card!

    There you have it! A Storyboard That card perfect for celebrating the winter holidays!

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Winter Holiday Symbols

Objects come to symbolize different things in various contexts, and understanding symbolism is vital to a greater appreciation of literature and culture. Many students can recognize that something is associated with Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hannukah, but they may not understand why. This activity can give students a good foundation on symbols and symbolism, or it can be used as a focus on winter holidays. Give students a list of symbols for all holidays, or let them select symbols on their own.

The example below uses the grid layout, but the spider map, traditional storyboard, and T-chart would work as well. Students should name the symbol in the title box, make a visual representation in the storyboard cell, and then explain what the symbol represents in the description box; or, as in the example below, name and depict the symbol, then make visualizations!

There are many symbols for Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa! Here are only a handful:

Santa ClausKinaraMenorah
Christmas TreeUnity CupDreidel
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Let students do some teaching! Have students create a storyboard that teaches how to do something for the winter holidays. This could be how to make a certain kind of holiday decoration, how to choose a gift for someone, how to wrap a present, how to make a great cup of hot chocolate, or anything else they'd like to teach!

The storyboard must include all the steps needed to complete the task. The steps can be directed to the reader using the imperative mood, or students can tell a pseudo-story like the example of “How to Play the Dreidel” below!

The dreidel is a top most often used during the Hanukkah season.

  1. Every player starts with the same number of game pieces. The game pieces can be candy, pennies, nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate coins referred to as "gelt".
  2. Each player puts one game piece into the pot at the start of the round.
  3. The first player spins the dreidel. What he does next is based on the side of the dreidel facing up after it stops spinning.
  4. There are four sides to a dreidel and each has a Hebrew letter. The letters come from "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham" (a great miracle happened there), which refers to the miracle of the oil.
    • Jimmy spins and the dreidel lands with the "shin" letter facing up. Jimmy has to put one of his game pieces into the pot in the middle.
    • For Jakob's turn, the dreidel lands on "nun". "Nun" stands for "nothing", so Jakob doesn't give or get any gelt.
    • Becky gets "gimel", which stands for all. Becky gets to take everything in the middle!
    • Whenever the pot is empty, everyone needs to put one piece in again. If a player cannot put a piece in when they need to, that player is "out".
    • It's Jimmy's turn again, and he spins to "he", for half. He takes half of the pieces in the pot. Since there is an odd number, he takes half of the amount rounded up: two pieces.

  5. The game is over when all but one player is "out"!
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•   (English) Winter Holiday Classroom Activities   •   (Español) Actividades en el Aula de Vacaciones de Invierno   •   (Français) Activités Hivernales en Classe   •   (Deutsch) Winter Urlaub Klassenzimmer Aktivitäten   •   (Italiana) Vacanze Invernali in Aula Attività   •   (Nederlands) Winter Vakantie Activiteiten in de Klas   •   (Português) Atividades da Sala de Aula do Feriado do Inverno   •   (עברית) פעילויות חורף Holiday כיתה   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) عطلة الشتاء الأنشطة الصفية   •   (हिन्दी) शीतकालीन अवकाश कक्षा की गतिविधियां   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Зимний Отдых Классной Работы   •   (Dansk) Vinterferie Klasseværelset Aktiviteter   •   (Svenska) Vinterskidåkning Klassrumsaktiviteter   •   (Suomi) Talviloma Opetukseen   •   (Norsk) Vinterferie Klasseromsaktiviteter   •   (Türkçe) Kış Tatili Sınıf Etkinlikleri   •   (Polski) Zajęcia na Wakacjach w Zimie   •   (Româna) De Vacanță de Iarnă Clasă Activități   •   (Ceština) Zimní Dovolená Aktivity ve Třídě   •   (Slovenský) Aktivity Zimnej Prázdninovej Triedy   •   (Magyar) Téli Szabadság Tantermi Tevékenységek   •   (Hrvatski) Aktivnosti u Razredu Zimskog Odmora   •   (български) Зимни Почивки в Класната Стая   •   (Lietuvos) Žiemos Holiday Pamokinę Veiklą   •   (Slovenščina) Zimske Počitnice Razredu Aktivnosti   •   (Latvijas) Ziemas Brīvdienu Aktivitātes Darbam Klasē   •   (eesti) Winter Holiday Õppetöös