The winter season is filled with opportunities to learn about cultural celebrations and bring some festive fun into your classroom. Whether you’re looking for lesson plan inspiration or holiday games and crafts, here’s a roundup of ideas for a full month of learning.
Do your students know when winter officially begins? This video is a great introduction to the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) and how it connects to hemispheres, seasons, and the Earth’s elliptical orbit. Follow up a viewing with this winter solstice book list for some seasonal reading and in-class discussions.
The winter solstice is also the perfect time to make your own human sundial and talk about why this day is the shortest of the year. Interested in other winter solstice science? Try a STEAM snowflake activity or make your own snowstorm in a jar.
Don’t forget this IXL skill: Second Grade, Seasons
The first specifically African American holiday, Kwanzaa was created to celebrate the history and culture of African Americans. There are plenty of related activities that you can add to your lesson lineup, including some that focus on African folktales or creative Kwanzaa crafts.
And since Kwanzaa’s roots are tied to the Black Freedom Movement, you can also include an African American history lesson in your classroom Kwanzaa celebration. For middle and high school students, check out this timeline of the Civil Rights Movement—and don’t forget about IXL’s Kwanzaa skills for 2nd grade and 3rd grade!
Don’t forget this IXL skill: Third Grade, Kwanzaa
Hanukkah activities can easily be incorporated into almost any subject, from dreidel math tallies and Hanukkah writing prompts to a history of Hanukkah read-aloud. Scholastic offers a great lesson plan for younger grades that involves comparing and contrasting Hanukkah with other winter holidays—and the same idea can be applied to older grades, too.
You can even try out the recipes found here and host a classroom Hanukkah feast. Be sure to enlist help from parents who may enjoy sharing their heritage and traditions with their child’s class!
Don’t forget this IXL skill: Third Grade, Hanukkah
When it comes to classroom Christmas celebrations, there are tons of creative ideas out there. Try a balloon display that includes secret activities or a festive writing station to spruce up your room. Or spend an afternoon working on Christmas-inspired STEAM activities, where students can learn about static electricity using tinsel or the circuits of Christmas tree lights.
Don’t forget this IXL skill: Third Grade, Christmas