Christmas Activities and Centers for Holiday Learning

Use these exciting and festive Christmas activities and centers for holiday learning in your classroom this month.

Who’s ready to spread some Christmas cheer?! I know I am! Celebrating Christmas in the classroom is one of my absolute favorite parts of the year. If you’re ready to plan your own Christmas lessons, you’re in luck! Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite Christmas activities and centers that are perfect for holiday learning!

Use these exciting and festive Christmas activities and centers for holiday learning in your classroom this month.

Setting the Stage for Christmas Activities

If you’re like me, you’re probably ready for Christmas decorations, songs, and treats as soon as November 1st rolls around. Sure, Thanksgiving is lots of fun to celebrate too, but Christmas is always the main event in my mind! Since I love it so much, I spend a fair bit of time planning and preparing. If you’re short on time, this post with be a total lifesaver because I’m going to be touching on some of my favorite activities and ideas you can use in a snap!

Christmas Books

Step one in preparing for Christmas activities and centers is to choose your books! Picture books go hand-in-hand with holiday learning in my classroom since I use thematic teaching.

Include these festive books in your Christmas activities plans this month for sweet stories and beautifully illustrated images your kiddos will love.

Typically, I choose a theme and then plan all of our math, literacy, writing, and other lessons around it. In this case, our theme is all things Christmas! Some of my favorite books for this theme include:

Books are a great way to start your daily lessons and tie your theme together. I like to read them aloud as a group, have a discussion, and sometimes even make an anchor chart to dive deeper. No matter how you choose to use them, books are a great way to sprinkle a little extra holiday magic into your lessons! Check out this post for even more Christmas books for kids!

Christmas Writing and Crafting

I absolutely love writing prompts. They are such a fun way to check in on student understanding of a topic and encourage some creativity. During Christmas time, we use lots of different writing activities throughout the month. I like to add activities to the writing center as well as use them in small groups.

Reindeer Writing Prompt & Craft

One of my favorite prompts for Christmas is about Reindeer. I ask the students to think about what would happen if they had a magical, talking pet reindeer.

Use this adorable craft and writing prompt in your Christmas activities to get your students thinking creatively.

I ask them to think about what their reindeer might say and write about it. You can encourage kids to be as creative as they want on this one or give them a little more context to nudge them along. For example, you might say something like, “What would your reindeer say to your family if he was invited to Christmas dinner?”

This silly writing prompt will make even the most reluctant writers excited for this activity! I provide kiddos with some writing paper to fill in the details of their story.

Then, we create a fun reindeer craft to attach to their writing paper. These look fantastic displayed on a bulletin board and I’m always careful to save them for memory books after the holidays are over. This an activity your kids won’t forget!

Santa Labeling Activity

If you’re looking for a great independent writing activity, you’ll love this one!

This activity is great for students who might not be ready to write full sentences independently, and instead need to work on writing letters and words. Students will use the full-color Santa poster alongside their matching worksheet.

To use, they will identify and read each word in the full-color picture and write it on their worksheet.

This a great way to focus on new vocabulary words too, like sleigh, beard, and hat.

Each worksheet also includes a word bank if you want to put the full-color poster away and make this activity a tad more challenging.

Students will love filling in the words and then coloring in their pictures afterward!

This is the perfect activity to place in your writing center, assign during independent learning time, or send home for extra practice!

Christmas Literacy Activities

Literacy topics are one of my favorite things to teach with holiday learning games. Skills that might be considered boring otherwise are suddenly a fun holiday adventure that students are excited to participate in! I like to use these types of activities during center time, but they’re also great for small groups and intervention if you find yourself needing to add some excitement to your phonics lessons.

Feed the Christmas Tree Beginning Sounds

One of my favorite Christmas activities for literacy centers is this Feed the Christmas Tree game. In this game, students will work on identifying beginning sounds.

They will draw a card, and name the picture and the beginning sound.

If the sound matches the letters on the Christmas tree, they get to “feed” their card to it.

I love using this game in small groups or during circle time. It’s also a fun partner game too!

Christmas Tree Digraph Sorting

Another fun literacy activity we use to celebrate Christmas in the classroom is a digraph sorting game.

This game has a similar concept, except instead of feeding the Christmas tree cards, students will “decorate” their tree with ornament cards after sorting by digraph.

I love both of these activities because they are easy to differentiate by skill level.

The best part is, that you can pick and choose which cards to assign based on what letter sounds or digraphs you have previously taught.

Christmas Math Centers

Just as holiday literacy activities can get kiddos excited to learn, I can always count on Christmas math activities to grab student attention. I rely on fun math activities to keep students engaged in learning during the extra busy time of year. Not only does this help students practice important skills in a fun way, but it also frees up some of my time to work in small groups with students.

Candy Cane Measuring Center

What screams Christmas louder than candy canes?! This Christmas measuring center is a fun way to practice measuring with non-standard units and counting.

To use, students will choose a candy cane and use a candy measuring stick to see how tall it is. They will count the number of candies needed to measure the full cane and then write it on their recording sheet.

I like to assign this one to partner groups and have students compare their recording sheets afterward to see if they got the same answers.

If they find one that doesn’t match, I encourage them to remeasure to double-check their answers.

Clip Card Centers

Another option we use frequently in our Christmas activities is clip card centers. I have quite a few options we cycle through during December, depending on what we’re looking to target.

One of my favorites is a “One More or Less” activity, where students will either clip the number that is one more or one less than the original number. When we first start, I give them only the “one more” cards. Once they have those mastered, they work on “one less” cards.

As a final review, I mix them all up and have students use them all.

Another clip card center I like for celebrating Christmas in the classroom is this set of Number Wheels.

These wheels display a number in the center, with a variety of Christmas objects around it. Students will carefully count each set of objects and clip a clothespin to each set that displays that number.

This is another great game to play in pairs and then switch after each student is finished to check their partner’s work.

Even More Christmas Activities

When it comes to Christmas activities and centers, I’m a big believer in variety. I find that having lots of options to choose from helps to keep engagement high and kiddos on task! Because of this, I’m always sure to include some print-and-go activities in our lessons. This helps balance out my prep workload and make sure I have some quick and easy activities too.

Christmas Q-Tip Painting

I love to use Q-Tip Painting Pages to fill this spot in my lesson plan. Students love them, and I love that we can target writing and fine motor skills with this low prep activity!

To use, students will name the picture on their paper and then practice tracing and writing the word.

Once they have finished, they use paint and a Q-tip to carefully fill in each dot on the perimeter of the picture.

This is a very calming activity if you need something to help quiet the room down and refocus!

Christmas Color By Code

If you’ve been around here a while, you already know that color-by-code is my no-prep MVP!

Use this editable color by code activity in your Christmas activities for targeted skills practice this December.

I love to use thematic color by code activities throughout the year.

They’re always a student favorite and can be customized to practice just about any skill you can think of!

I like to use editable Christmas-themed pages to practice skills like letter recognition, numbers, sight words, number sense, math facts, and vocabulary words.

This makes them great for differentiation by skill level and even grade level if you’re teaching multiple age groups!

This quick and easy option is my go-to to have on hand for busy days in December!

Endless Christmas Activities and Centers

This is just a small peek at everything inside of my Christmas Activities and Centers Unit. This resource is jam-packed with over 1,000 pages of math and literacy centers, writing activities, mini-readers, crafts, and special Christmas activities! If you’re looking for a simple way to save time planning, be sure to check out the full resource here. Included you’ll find activities like:

  • Seasonal Directed Drawing Worksheets
  • Holiday Craftivities and Editable Writing Templates
  • Gingerbread House Measuring 
  • Christmas Shape Recognition Board Game
  • “Oh-no, Santa is Stuck” Retelling Activity 
  • Playdough Mats 
  • Snap Cube Mats and so much more!

These resources are simple to prep, versatile, and super engaging for students so you won’t have to add extra stress to your plate when planning holiday learning activities. I know you and your students will love them and they’re sure to add plenty of Christmas sparkle to your month!

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