Taking on the countdown to winter break can be stressful, but these themed activities may help to give students something to look forward to. Your classroom space might still feel wound up, but mixing learning activities with a countdown is a fun way to bring everyone together during the hectic days before break. Check out this five-day plan for classroom themes and activities to try the week before winter vacation.
Countdown to Winter Break Classroom Activities
This week-long classroom activity schedule can make the countdown to winter break a little more cheerful and fun for students. The theme of each day doesn’t need to be distracting or involve a messy craft.
Keep the themes a secret until students walk in for the day. Students may even enjoy trying to guess what the theme of the day will be before you share it with them. Use one of the suggested ideas to bring the day’s theme into the daily topics or events.
A Week of Winter-Themed Fun: B.R.E.A.K.
The acronym BREAK covers a five-day week before winter vacation and offers ideas for a theme to go with each day. Use the themes to think of winter break activities, lessons, or crafts that work with that theme. Feel free to use the themes as inspiration to come up with your own winter break countdown theme and activity calendar. Or use ours!
1st Day Theme – Blizzard: A severe snowstorm with high winds and low visibility.
- Blizzard Prep: Discuss how to prepare for a blizzard and compare preparations like coats, scarves, and a warm house with the preparations that animals make in the wild (hibernation, a cozy den, thick fur, migration).
- Blizzard Books: Read a book about snow or blizzards as a class.
- Classroom Blizzard: Pretend there’s an indoor blizzard and decorate the classroom with paper snowflakes. Allow students to wear a winter hat for the day.
- Blizzard Science: Try this Snowstorm in a Jar Winter Science Experiment.
2nd Day Theme – Reindeer: Mammal native to Eurasia and North America.
- What Are Antlers For?: Talk about how animals like reindeer use their antlers to protect themselves and to find a mate. Discuss the benefits of living in a herd and how they can protect each other by sticking together.
- Reindeer Craft: Make a classic reindeer craft by tracing and cutting out students’ hands to be used as antlers.
- Reindeer Dropping Bingo Board: Make winter-themed bingo boards and have the students use “reindeer droppings” (chocolate-covered raisins) as bingo chips.
3rd Day Theme – Evergreen: Plant that retains green leaves (needles) throughout the year
- Leaves vs. Needles: Discuss the differences between leaves and needles and why certain trees (specifically pine trees) don’t lose their needles when the weather turns cold.
- Evergreen Exploration: Bring in branches of various evergreen trees (green giant, cypress, spruce, etc.) and discuss how the evergreen leaves are built to last through winter.
- Triangle Trees: Discuss the shape of evergreen trees and how that shape helps to protect them from wind and snow.
- Bird Feeder Craft: Make bird feeder pine cones using this recipe without peanut butter, or try some of these other winter bird feeding activities. Tell students to hang them outside and watch for hungry and thankful birds.
4th Day Theme – Arctic: Relating to the area of the world near the North Pole.
- Icebergs in the Arctic: Talk about icebergs and how they grow, shrink, change, and move.
- Chilly Swimmers: Discuss how swimming animals stay warm when they live in the icy cold Arctic Ocean. Focus on the differences and benefits of fur and blubber.
- Whale Science: Test the idea of whale blubber as an insulator with this Whale Blubber Experiment.
5th Day Theme – Kindling: Small sticks or twigs used for starting a fire.
- Campfire Chat: Create a circle with the desks in your classroom and build a pretend campfire in the middle. Discuss how fireplaces and campfires have been used throughout history (cooking, lighting, heating, socializing).
- Hypothesize Heat: Discuss what colors of fire are the hottest. Have students list the different colors of fire that there are (red, orange, yellow, blue, white), and then hypothesize which color is the hottest.
- Word Fire: Have students list as many adjectives about campfires as possible. List them all on the board. Give out prizes to the students with the most creative answers.
- Campfire Songs: End the day and head into the winter break with “The Campfire Song Song” from Spongebob and a winter break dance around the pretend fire.
More Holiday Games & Activities
Looking for more ideas and ways to engage your students as winter break approaches? Check out some more articles on holiday crafts and winter break activities. Also, be sure to stop by the online store to find all the tools and supplies you need to make winter and holiday crafts and activities come to life!