So, you’re back from Thanksgiving break and you’re counting down the days until winter break. The thing is, you’re not the only one counting down the days. Your students are counting too! Knowing that an extended break is just around the corner can make students antsy and distracted. But, incorporating the holidays into your instruction is a great way to keep them focused during this season. If you’re teaching online this year, here are five of the best virtual holiday activities for students!
This post includes a few of my top virtual holiday activities. If you’re looking for even more activities that students will love this time of year, be sure to check out the video below. It includes ideas for seven additional virtual holiday party games and activities you can complete with your students.
1. Virtual Holiday Escape Room
My students love classroom escape rooms. Since moving to online learning, I’ve been transitioning many of my escape rooms to a digital format that students can complete and self-check from any location.
Recently, I created this Christmas Around the World Escape Room and it has been a huge hit! Students complete a series of six challenges and puzzles to learn about holiday traditions in Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, France, and Japan. Not only is this activity a lot of fun, but students also have an opportunity to learn about other cultures as they complete each challenge.
2. Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Another virtual activity my students love is a virtual scavenger hunt. A virtual holiday scavenger hunt can be completed the same way as any other virtual scavenger hunt, except students should search for holiday-themed items. If you are uncertain how a virtual scavenger hunt works, I have a blog post all about virtual scavenger hunts that can help you get started. You can find that post by clicking HERE.
Remember, students are not limited to just searching for Christmas-related items. This virtual game is also a great way to introduce students to other winter holidays. For example, you could instruct students to search for a candle. Then, discuss the relationship between candles and Hanukkah. If you have any students in your class who celebrate Hanukkah, encourage them to tell the other students about Hanukkah traditions.
Other virtual holiday scavenger hunts include finding:
- a favorite gift students have received
- things related to certain holiday movies or books
- items of winter clothing or clothing worn in the snow
- holiday food items or ingredients used to make holiday foods
- holiday decorations
3. Virtual Holiday Lights Field Trip
Field trips are so important because by gaining a better understanding of the world around them, students are better able to make connections and inferences. Unfortunately, field trips are not an option for most right now. But, virtual field trips can still enable students to see and experience new things.
Before winter break, host a virtual holiday lights field trip. To do this, put together a presentation with videos and images of holiday light displays from around the world. This is another great opportunity to incorporate other cultures and traditions as you show students what light displays look like in other countries.
4. Holiday Read Alouds
No matter what age your students are, they likely enjoy being read to. There are lots of great winter and holiday read alouds you can use with your class during this time of year. If you’re looking for great picture books to read to your older students, I have another blog post where I list my favorite holiday read alouds for upper elementary. The list includes a combination of classic holiday stories for kids and newer holiday books you might not have heard of. You can find that post by clicking HERE.
Keep in mind, that holiday read alouds are a great way to practice ELA skills with your students during this time of year including reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary. I have ELA activity packs for each of the classic holiday stories for kids in my store.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas Activity Pack
- Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Activity Pack
- How the Grinch Changed: A Character Development Activity
5. Holiday Letter Writing
This year has looked different for all of us, including our students. It is now more important than ever to incorporate social and emotional learning (also known as SEL) into our instruction.
Throughout the holiday season, I like to incorporate SEL by encouraging my students to think of others. One way I do this is by having my students write letters to troops who are serving overseas throughout the holiday season.
Use this activity as an opportunity to teach your students about letter writing. Before having students write their letters, you can also ask members of the military to speak to your class through your virtual learning platform. Think of this as a mini career fair. Then, have your students type their letters using a program such as Google Docs. When students have completed their letters, you can print them and mail them to an overseas military base or the USO.
You could also have students write their holiday letters to senior citizens in nursing homes or children in hospitals.
These are five of the best virtual holiday activities for students! The great thing about these activities is that most can be used with almost any winter holiday (not just Christmas). Also, most of these holiday activities can be used to incorporate or reinforce content and standards.
Remember, if you want even more ideas for virtual holiday activities for students, be sure to check out my holiday YouTube video!