10 Fun and Educational December Activities for Kids

Use these fun and exciting December activities for kids in your classroom this month.

December is such a fun month for little learners. Whether you’re a classroom teacher or a homeschooling family, there are plenty of magical activities to include in your lessons during this month. Come along to check out some of my favorite December activities for kids that are sure to add a touch of holiday sparkle to your routine!

Use these fun and exciting December activities for kids in your classroom this month.

Magical Themes for December Activities

I am a big fan of thematic teaching. Over the years, I’ve learned that the addition of a fun theme not only makes it easier to plan our lessons but also makes them far more engaging to students! If you’re not sure what I mean by thematic teaching, I’m talking about teaching a variety of subjects while using one central theme throughout all the lessons.

Themes typically align with the seasons and holidays to allow for real-life connections and meaningful teaching experiences. For example, in the spring you might focus on gardens, insects, and baby animals. Since these themes can be viewed “in action”, they’re great choices for that time of year. In December, some of my favorite themes are:

Choose December activities that focus on all the fun of the holiday season, holidays around the world, and real-world learning.
  • Gingerbread
  • Holidays Around the World
  • Reindeer (the real, non-magical kind!)

Themes like these are fun for students and help calm some of the holiday excitement you might be seeing in the classroom. Getting started with thematic teaching is simple! Simply select a theme and then plan all of your activities to go with it in some way. And you don’t have to choose just one either!

I use all of these themes in my December Activities & Centers Resource. This unit combines hands-on games, center activities, craftivities, writing prompts, mini-readers, and more to work on a variety of subjects. Beyond exploring these topics, using these themes makes teaching math and literacy skills simple and fun.

Choosing December Activities for Your Students

December is a chilly month and often means lots of time spent inside. We all know that missing recess isn’t ideal for the primary crowd, and this is especially true when you’ve got holiday magic in the air! Have you ever noticed that student attention spans can be a bit all over the place when they’re anticipating a holiday? I like to work with this, instead of against it.

Choose December activities that focus on all the fun of the holiday season, holidays around the world, and real-world learning.

I do this by choosing plenty of holiday-themed activities to sprinkle throughout the month. When students get to participate in holiday activities, you’ll be able to easily snag their attention.

Another important thing to keep in mind is providing opportunities for hands-on learning whenever you can. Being intentional about choosing activities that will get kids up and moving, working together, and using fun manipulatives is key to keeping kiddos engaged.

Curious what this looks like in action? Check out some of my absolute favorite activities from the December Unit and how we use them for maximum learning and fun.

December Social Studies & Science Activities

As I mentioned, our themes for December are reindeer, gingerbread, and holidays around the world. Luckily all 3 of these themes offer plenty of content to dive into for our social studies and science lessons. Since this unit uses cross-curricular activities, you’ll also notice that many of these activities also target writing, literacy, and math skills too! This is super helpful to make the most of your time during a busy month like December.

1. Holidays Around the World Non-Fiction Reading Passages

One of my favorite ways to kick off our December activities is with non-fiction reading passages.

Celebrate holidays around the world with full color booklets to include in your December activities.

These reading passages focus on many of the different celebrations that happen worldwide during December. Some of the holidays included are Kwanzaa, St. Lucia’s Day, Diwali, and more!

Students love hearing about holidays around the world during our read-aloud and then making their own booklet to take home.

This is a great way to kick off your December lessons and learn about holidays that students might not have heard of before!

2. Reindeer Life Cycle Activities

In December we learn a lot about real reindeer! This is a fun topic to explore throughout the month as children hear about those magical reindeer in Christmas books.

Add these fun reindeer life cycle December activities to your plans this month for fun non-fiction learning your kiddos will love.

The activities we use focus on vocabulary words for reindeer body parts, the reindeer life cycle, and interesting facts about these animals.

I like to use non-fiction reading passages in small groups, and then have students write about some of their favorite reindeer facts.

We also use labeling activities to help master new vocabulary words. Students are always fascinated to learn about these creatures and the words we use to describe each stage of life.

This is always a favorite topic during December and opens the door for plenty of group discussions too!

December Math Activities

When it comes to math, I’m a big fan of using center games and activities that can be used in pairs or groups. Students are much more excited to participate when they get to play games with a friend! The following activities are great for partner games and also work well for centers and independent learning.

3. December Count and Clip Wheels

Do your littles need help with counting and fine motor practice? If so, you’ll love this simple center activity.

Students will identify the number in the middle of the wheel. Then, they count each group on the wheel and clip a clothespin to the sections that reflect the number.

This activity is great to assign to partner groups. Have students each work on a wheel and then switch to check their partner’s work.

I love using activities like this for morning tubs as well since students can jump right in and work independently as we get settled for the day.

4. Animal Cracker Sort, Count, and Graph

December means it’s cookie season and what better way to celebrate than with a holiday math activity? I love to begin by reading The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers by Lisa Campbell Ernst. It’s the perfect way to connect our December gingerbread theme with this fun, hands-on math activity.

I love using this animal cracker sorting game to focus on visual discrimination, counting, graphing, and analyzing data.

Typically, I will use this activity in small groups. Each kiddo gets a bowl full of crackers to sort, graph, and count.

Afterward, each child completes a worksheet that helps them analyze the data. I ask students to compare their graphs with a partner and see who has the most of each animal cracker.

Students love this activity and everyone is always excited to have a little snack after we finish counting, graphing, and comparing our charts!

December Writing

Do you struggle to get kiddos excited about writing? If so, you’re not alone! Writing can feel daunting to little learners, but I’ve found that fun writing prompts make all the difference.

5. Vocabulary Tracing Activities

Use vocabulary tracing activities like these in your plans for your December activities to get in some extra letter formation and writing practice.

One of my favorite writing activities to start every new theme with is vocabulary. I love introducing new words that align with our theme and discussing what they mean.

In December, we focus on holiday words and reindeer life cycle words. These new words not only help to cement our other lessons, but they are inspiring story starters too!

To practice writing these words, we use worksheets that ask students to trace the words and color the picture.

I also like to have students glue these pages in their writing journals and use them as a starting point for creative writing throughout the month.

6. December Directed Drawings

Have you ever used directed drawing activities in your classroom? These are another fun way to encourage writing among your students.

In December, students get the opportunity to draw a variety of holiday shapes like trees, gingerbread, reindeer, and more.

Each page shows them how to draw the image, step by step. Students love seeing their drawings come to life as they complete each part of the image.

After students are finished, they get to complete the sentence and add some final details to their picture. It’s always fun to see the touch of personality that students add to their drawings.

These look great displayed on a bulletin board or bound together as a holiday writing journal.

December Literacy Centers

I love using seasonal literacy centers in the classroom. Choosing fun games and center activities is a great way to practice important literacy skills like beginning sounds, CVC words, sight words, and more!

7. Sight Word Search and Find

Sight words are SO important in the primary years. Helping children master common sight words and high frequency will help to build reading confidence and overall reading fluency.

Sight words tend to get a bad rap since they often involve endless flashcards and drills. I like to make them fun again with an activity like “Sight Word Search and Find”.

This center activity involves searching for common sight words among holiday background scenes.

I like to provide students with magnifying glasses to make this activity even more fun!

As students find the words, they will fill out a recording sheet to practice writing the words too.

8. Feed the Gingerbread House – Syllable Counting Game 

Syllables are a tricky, but important, phonics skill. I like to practice counting syllables with a fun “Feed Me” game during the month of December.

This game is so much fun when played in small groups or with your whole group during the morning meeting.

To play, students will draw a card and name the picture on it.

Then, they will clap the number of syllables used in the word. Finally, they “feed” their card to the gingerbread house for that many syllables.

I love this game because it’s an easy way to encourage practicing this skill and it’s always a student favorite!

More Fun December Activities for the Classroom

Some of the other activities in my December unit cover multiple subjects and don’t quite fit into any one learning category. These activities are often perfect for holiday parties, fun Fridays, and anywhere else you need a dose of holiday magic! Here are a few of my favorites…

9. December Color By Code Activities

In case you haven’t heard, I absolutely LOVE color-by-code activities!

Use the editable color by code December activities to get in extra literacy, math, or vocabulary practice.

They’re such a great way to make skills practice more fun and engaging, plus they are low-prep and easy to use!

Inside my December centers and activities unit, you’ll find color-by-code activities for holidays around the world and gingerbread themes.

There are print-and-go pages as well as editable options to customize these to fit your needs. Fill these pages with sight words, math facts, spelling words, or just about anything else you’re focusing on!

We use these for instant centers, homework, fast-finishers, and more throughout the month!

10. December Crafts

This resource includes two of my favorite crafts as well! Inside the December Unit, you’ll find adorable Gingerbread and Reindeer Crafts.

These pair perfectly with some of the fun holiday writing prompts, and look great displayed on a bulletin board.

I like using these crafts on the days leading up to our holiday break. I know during the busy holiday season, it can feel hard to “fit” crafts into your schedule. But don’t forget, lots of learning happens when crafting too!

Students get to exercise fine motor skills, work on following directions, and even use some creativity, too! And. . . they are so easy to pair with a writing prompt for a fun writing activity. Making time for crafts is something I know you won’t regret.

These crafts also make great party activities. You can lead the activity or grab a few parent helpers to lead small groups. It’s the perfect way to add some holiday fun to your class party.

Endless December Activities

Can you believe that this is just a small sampling of the activities in the December Centers & Activities pack? Crazy, huh?!? There is more than enough to fill the month with one, two, or all three of the themes.

So, which of these December activities was your favorite? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably hard to choose just one. This is a good thing though! Over the years, I’ve found that the more variety I offer in our lessons, the more likely it is that students will stay engaged. Variety in our lessons also means there’s a little something for every learning style out there too!

If you’re looking for a simple way to plan all of your December activities in a snap, be sure to check out the full resource here! Inside you find all of the activities mentioned here plus MANY more! You and your students can look forward to activities like:

  • Gingerbread Letter Matching Games
  • CVC Word Train Game
  • Gingerbread Rhyming Cards 
  • Gingerbread House Size Sorting Activity
  • Gingerbread House Measuring Activity
  • How to Make Gingerbread Cookies Readers & Sequencing Activities
  • Gingerbread Man Story Retelling Hats and more!

There are over 1,000 pages in this resource with multiple options for differentiation. There are even color and black-and-white options included so that you can choose what works best for your group. These centers and activities are super versatile too, and they’ll work great for both classroom settings and homeschooling families. Make planning your December activities fun and easy with this jam-packed resource!

Save These December Activities

Pin this post on Pinterest to keep these December activities at your fingertips!