Every teacher knows that even the best kids go a little loopy around holidays. And the bigger the holiday (or the more sugar involved!) the more crazy things can get. It can be super tempting to just throw on a movie or slap together some craftivities. And honestly, no judgement if you’re doing that as a teacher. We’ve ALL been there.
But, if you’re looking for something a little more in depth to do during the holidays, I’d like to suggest some fun activities that are also standards-based. Impress your principal (and yourself!) by actually getting your kids to review and practice actual content, even on the craziest of days. Or don’t, that’s okay, too. But here are some ideas if you have the bandwidth to tackle something that’s content and not just cute:
>Holiday Themed Designs with Shapes (2D or 3D)
I don’t know about you, but my students always needed more review and time working with all the different shapes to be able to remember all the names and attributes. Holidays are a great opportunity to let them be creative and excited but still meet your teaching objectives. Have them create a holiday themed design using all sorts of different shapes. They can be 2D or 3D. They can color code them by attribute or create a key explaining how many of each different type of shape they used. It’s a great chance for them to practice composing and decomposing shapes in a way that is more open ended and creative.
Standards: K.G.1-6, 1.G.1-2, 2.G.1, 3.G.1, 4.G.1-2, 5.G.3-4
>Lines of Symmetry
This is always a fun one, and can be done with almost any holiday. Pick holiday colors and have kids paint and fold their paper to create different shapes. Make symmetrical leaves in the fall, snowmen in the winter, and butterflies in the spring. You can make symmetrical fireworks for New Years or Fourth of July, or symmetrical apples or pumpkins in the fall. Just about any holiday has something that can be made symmetrical!
>Holiday Themed Coordinate Grid Designs
Pretty much any holiday design can be made into a coordinate grid. Give students the coordinates and have them plot out the points to create the shape. They can even create their own and trade with each other. It’s low prep, engaging, and standards-based, all in one!
>Folding Circles & Rectangles
The circles can be made into pumpkins, flowers, snowballs, lollipops, ornaments, gold coins, suns, etc.
Rectangles can be gifts, boxes of chocolate candies, beach blankets, calendars at New Years, etc.
Standards: 1.G.3, 2.G.2-3, 3.G.2,
Bonus points for adding in measurement!
Break out the rulers, yardsticks, tape measures, etc. and let the kids measure their designs. See who can make the tallest snowman entirely out of half circles. Or, who can make the biggest symmetrical flower or butterfly or pumpkin or heart shaped box of chocolates. Then pat yourself on the back and be proud that your students learned something, even on the most hectic of school days.
Teach geometry at the beginning of the year and then have fun reviewing and playing with geometry during the different holidays.
Geometry is one of my favorite strands to teach because it’s so fun and accessible to most students. I always teach Geomtry at the beginning of the year so that I can review & practice with fun activities during the different holidays throughout the year. It’s just one more thing off my list and then we can focus on the other content, knowing that we’ve already covered an entire strand.