Christmas activities – Best festive resources for schools
Deck the school halls ready for the festive season with these creative and educational activities…
- by Teachwire
The weather outside may be frightful, but the mood inside your classroom in the build-up to Christmas should at least be jovial. That’s not to say the learning should stop, though. If you’re searching for fun, festive Christmas activities to stop the gradual decline of pupils’ concentration as they dream about impending presents and turkey dinners, look no further…
KS1 Christmas activities
Story starter worksheet
This free creative writing Christmas story starter worksheet includes short tips for students on plot, setting and characters, and space to write their short story and draw a picture.
Year 2 Christmas writing resource pack
Keep pupils in Year 1 and year 2 engaged with writing right up until Christmas with this appealing free Elf Fact File resource pack from Plazoom.
Pupils will read a fact file for one of Santa’s elves, Elliott Sparkles. Using the model text as inspiration, they will then draw and write about their own elves.
The model text includes a variety of grammar and punctuation from the Y2 curriculum including:
- suffixes -ly, -ful and -less
- commas in a list
- noun phrases
Christmas number bonds
This number bonds activity sheet has a Christmas theme. Pupils are tasked with entering the missing numbers in a series of Santa hats, so that the two numbers inside each hat add up to ten.
Christmas home-learning challenges for KS1 and KS2
This pair of free sheets from Plazoom, one each for KS1 and KS2, features 12 Christmas challenges. They’re the perfect way to keep children creatively occupied at home during the Christmas holidays – with plenty of learning opportunities along the way!
The challenges could be set as homework task to encourage pupils to be creative and explore the world around them.
AF Harrold festive poetry lesson
Every December in Trafalgar Square in central London a huge Christmas tree is put up and covered in lights. Did you know that this tree is a gift from the city of Oslo as a token of gratitude for British support for Norway during the Second World War?
Poet AF Harrold wrote a poem about the tree and has provided free worksheets for your class and an outline for his Christmas tree poem. You can use it to produce your very own poems in celebration of friendship.
KS1 Nativity Storytelling and Sequencing Resources Pack
This free nativity resource pack for KS1 from Plazoom will help pupils retell this traditional story in spoken language and in simple written sentences.
Use the image cards to sequence the story before using the writing sheets to retell it. You get image cards, an answer sheet and themed writing paper.
Letter to Santa
This is a simple printable letter to Santa template. There are two PDFs included, one with and one without lines.
KS2 Christmas activities
Write & record a festive poem
Give the famous poem The Night Before Christmas a school-based twist with this fun Christmas poetry KS2 lesson plan from Adam Jevons-Newman.
Pie Corbett Christmas poems
Amidst the Christmas celebrations, pupils should take time to reflect on the contrast between festive excess and continuing crises in other countries.
Use these poems from Pie Corbett as an emotive way to explore these differences and have children write their own haikus in the same way.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ lower-KS2 writing and poetry pack
For Years 3 and 4, this free festive resource pack from Plazoom asks pupils to read and perform the famous poem, explore new vocabulary and the author’s use of language, then write additional stanzas for the poem in a similar style.
Finally, pupils will write their own short poems about Christmas morning, based on the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore.
Where do Christmas trees come from?
We all love the smell of a real tree but who grows them and how? What challenges do Christmas tree growers face? What decisions will they have to make to get their trees to market?
This free KS2 lesson, based around the old favourite of Christmas trees, covers many different areas of the curriculum, including maths, science, history, art and design and RE.
Children will learn the life cycle of a tree and what trees need to grow, as well as working on multiplication, division and estimation, and building teamwork, communication and problem solving skills.
Santa’s STEM workshop
Get your students in the festive spirit with Christmas-themed STEM activities from the IET. There’s a variety of resources to help you add holiday fun to your curriculum, including activities that take 30 minutes or less and ones which require just a few common classroom supplies. There’s also a printable Santa’s STEM workshop activity sheet.
Year 5 & 6 A Christmas Carol writing resources pack
This free upper-KS2 pack from Plazoom lets students explore characters’ viewpoints using extracts from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. They will read two extracts from this classic literary text and explore Scrooge’s view of Christmas at the beginning and end of the story and compare these viewpoints with his nephew’s.
In the writing tasks, pupils will write diary entries in the role of Scrooge (or another character) describing the events, and his view of them, from the two extracts provided.
Light-themed artwork lesson plan
When it comes to Christmas it’s tempting to trot out the traditional art and craft activities – after all, there’s always a display board that’s crying out for a little seasonal spirit.
But for many of us our happiest memories of Christmas have little to do with cotton wool and glitter and a lot to do with colour and light. Here’s an opportunity for your class to shine a little light on their preparations for Christmas.
In this project, experiment with some of the resources often found in the classroom at this time of year – balloons, sticky tape and tissue paper – but combine them in an exciting way.
Year 6 A Christmas Carol unlocking inference pack
This free A Christmas Carol unit from Plazoom is designed to support you in your teaching of inference and vocabulary, and is based on a carefully scaffolded whole-class reading approach, including multiple iterations, enabling all pupils to access even relatively challenging texts.
The extract has been annotated with running questions to help you check that children are creating accurate images in their minds, and to clarify their literal understanding (including of key vocabulary) – an essential step towards them making reasoned inferences as they read.
The running questions are largely retrieval-based; it is the combination of literal retrievals which allows inferences to be made.
Devise a musical Christmas performance
This simple and appealing song for lower KS2 with lyrics is set to the familiar melody of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ with opportunities for learning accompaniments played on tuned and untuned percussion. This accessible carol is perfect for a class Christmas performance.
Writing a Christmas story – Author in your Classroom podcast
The brilliant Author in your Classroom podcast is recorded especially for sharing with pupils and features children’s authors sharing writing tips and advice.
In episode 10, Catherine Doyle shares inspiring writing advice with children, as they devise and develop their own, brand-new Christmas story. The free resources pack contains teacher notes, a Powerpoint, planning sheets and wall displays.
Tom Fletcher’s Christmasaurus
Originally produced to support a Puffin Virtually Live webcast for schools, this resource aims to help primary classes explore the book The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher.
The 23-page document contains three lesson plans, each supported by a different extract from the book and a set of accompanying resource sheets, including printable cards, writing templates and instructions for pupils to create their own Christmas cards and doorhangers.
Christmas-themed nets for 3D shapes
Included in this KS2 classroom resource from Plazoom are the nets for 12 festive 3D shapes, including winter versions of the same nets to cater for children who do not celebrate Christmas.
These templates can be used by primary children to investigate shapes as part of a maths lesson, or to create present boxes for friends and family. Both make a great Christmas activity towards the end of term.
More Christmas activities for kids
Christmas around the world
We’re all familiar with the Christmas traditions of the UK, but how is the festival celebrated in other countries? Find out with this free PDF, with added activity ideas.
12 Days of Christmas PowerPoint
Let your class sing along to the 12 Days of Christmas with this free PowerPoint that features lyrics and images every step of the way.
Image bank for descriptive writing
This PowerPoint features 18 Christmas images for you to show to your class and use in descriptive writing exercises or as story starters.
Festive page borders
These free printable page borders come in five separate designs, each with and without lines.
These free printable worksheets feature acrostic poems for ‘Snowman’, ‘Santa Claus’, ‘Reindeers’ and ‘Christmas’.
Crafty Christmas activities
Christmas colouring pages
This set of free Christmas colouring pages features baubles, stockings, presents, winter house scenes and holly designs.
Sew a felt robin
This cheery 3D felt robin sewing craft includes a printable to scale template. Children will love making this little bird and it would make an excellent Christmas craft project.
Print and craft 3D paper reindeer and card
Create a herd of colourful 3D reindeer and super reindeer card craft with these printable templates for both crafts. Children will love colouring in the designs or making them with scraps of patterned card.
Winter scene 3D Christmas cards
This resource and instructional video shows you how to make these 3D Christmas cards. Download the card templates from Plazoom.
Holly jolly Christmas card
Use this Holly Jolly Christmas card idea with your students using masking fluid, glue or crayons and watercolour paints. The set includes a printable template design. This is a great Christmas card craft project for you and your students and it’s really effective.
Little angel cards
Use this free download to help your students create beautiful little angel cards. It includes a printable template for three different designs. Your students will love cutting out the different pieces and sticking them onto their cards – a perfect Christmas craft for them to take home.
Make a unique layered Christmas bauble card. Suitable for older children, the download includes a printable template page. Let your students colour in the bauble pieces and layer them together to make a great card for them to take home.
Decorate your own Christmas tree bunting
This free printable Christmas tree bunting comes with three options.
- A printable Christmas tree ready to hang up in your classroom
- A green, undecorated tree for children to stick decorations on
- A plain tree outline for children to colour in and decorate
Alternatively, if you just want something ready made, this festive bunting is ready to print and hang up in your classroom or school.
Christmas activities for EYFS
EYFS Nativity storytelling skills and emergent writing pack
Are you tackling a Nativity this year? This resource pack from Plazoom helps you retell the story with paper puppets. Children can also add words and captions to pictures of themselves in nativity costumes to encourage emergent writing.
Multisensory Christmas activities
Get your children in the mood for Christmas with this selection of fun, festive-themed games and multisensory activities, ranging from snow-based play to experimenting with socks, stockings and sacks.
More great early years Christmas activities
Enjoy the festive season without abandoning children’s learning with these ideas from Judith Harries, an author and teacher of music and drama...
As Christmas approaches, it is fun to try out lots of different seasonal activities. However, it’s also important to continue children’s learning in all areas of the EYFS framework. The activities below encompass most of the Early Learning Goals. Children will:
- enjoy books and making up stories
- try out role play activities
- develop number and shape skills
- find out about the world and different cultures
- look at changes in materials
- develop fine motor control
Read or tell the Christmas Story or Nativity to the children. Make a list of main characters and events. Make a collection of comic strips for children to read.
Explain that they are going to try to retell the Nativity story in four or five boxes as a comic strip. Model ideas for them to use.
Reassure them that it doesn’t need to be funny but they must pick out four or five main events to include, then draw them. Can they use bubble speech to tell the story?
Collect books about Santa Claus: Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs, Dear Father Christmas by Alan Durant, The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow, The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore, and a book about Saint Nicholas, the man behind the legend.
Set up Santa’s workshop in the role-play corner with dressing-up clothes, boxes for children to wrap and label, a craft table for making toys, a stable for the reindeer, a garage for the sleigh, a kitchen to make reindeer breakfast (oats and dried fruit), and encourage children to act out stories about Santa’s adventures.
Make a collection of flat pebbles and choose some Christmas characters and objects to draw or paint onto them (if your skills are rusty, cut and stick pictures).
Try some of these: Santa, snowman, snowdog, reindeer, robin, gingerbread man, elf, Grinch, tree, star, candle, pudding, candy cane, gift, stocking, snowflake, bells.
Varnish the stones once the pictures are finished so they last longer.
Encourage children to work with a partner and choose some of the stones to make up their own story. What might a snowman and a robin find on Christmas Eve? Where is the gingerbread man taking the candy cane?
Provide children with thin strips of green card, rulers and scissors. Show them how to measure and cut a 10cm strip of card and write the number 10 on it.
Then cut a 9cm strip and write the number 9, continuing until they have 10 pieces from 10cm to 1cm in length.
Can they build a Christmas tree out of strips in the right order from 10 at the bottom to 1 at the top? Stick down the strips and let them decorate the tree to create a Christmas card.
Count the days
Set up a Christmas-themed counting table. Place a pot of buttons in the middle, 10 white felt or cardboard snowmen and number cards 1–10.
Invite children to choose a number card or use a die, then find the corresponding number of buttons to place on their snowman.
Label Christmas paper cups 1–10 and ask children to place the correct number of buttons or pompoms inside each one using tweezers.
Hang up numbered pegs 1–10 onto a washing line. Let children peg a Christmas tree decoration on each one until all 10 pegs are filled.
Use an advent calendar to challenge counting and ordering up to 24!
Cut a large Christmas tree out of felt and mount it onto a display board. Make 24 felt shapes and write or stick the numbers 1–24 onto them.
Children can place the shapes onto the tree in order, then mix them up again for the next player. If the felt doesn’t stick, try angling the board so the tree isn’t quite upright, or add velcro!
Each day invite one child to go and fetch the number that matches today’s date for an advent treat.
“Open a story corner with lots of different Christmas-themed books for the children to share. Provide lots of comfy red and green cushions and throws to create a cosy reading spot”
Around the world
Find out about ten European Christmas traditions from this BBC Newsround article. Ask children and parents to share any traditions they have.
In Italy, gifts are brought to the children on 5th January, Epiphany, by a witch called La Befana, and if they’ve been bad she leaves coal.
Meanwhile, in Germany, children leave their shoes outside the door on St Nicholas Day, 6th December, and find them filled with presents or twigs.
In the Philippines, they decorate star-shaped lanterns or ‘parols’ and hang them outside their houses.
Make a list of traditions appropriate to your setting and try to include some in your festivities.
Talk about the different food children enjoy at Christmas – mince pies, candy canes, roast turkey and Christmas pudding.
Read A World of Cookies for Santa by ME Furman and try some of the recipes.
Create Swedish saffron buns to bake and eat with the children on St Lucia day, 13th December – prove the dough ready for the children to shape the buns. Let them roll small pieces of dough into snakes and shape into the letter S. Just before baking push a raisin into the spiral at each end of the S.
Look at images of German Christmas markets online. Organise a Christmas market at your setting in a similar style.
Decorate the rooms with paper chains and Christmas decorations. Serve hot mulled wine and mince pies. Sell Christmas cards and gifts made by the children. Sing Christmas carols and play seasonal music. Wear Christmas jumpers.
Invite local craftspeople to come and sell their wares and raise money for charity or for your setting.
Playdough ho ho!
Make some green playdough and provide lots of dough tools and Christmas tree and holly leaf cutters.
Let children roll out the dough and make different-sized Christmas trees or leaves to decorate using sequins, shiny stars, beads and tiny strips of tinsel.
Make white playdough and add some glitter. Ask children to shape the dough into cake shapes.
Provide small plastic Christmas cake decorations such as leaves, robins, flowers, trees and so on, for children to decorate their Christmas cakes.
Finally, flavour some brown playdough with ground ginger and let the children make gingerbread men.
Stories in the sand
Watch a sand art retelling of the Nativity story then provide children with shallow trays of dry sand or coloured glitter. Let them draw shapes, or write numbers and letters in the trays.
Can they write their name? Ask children to choose simple Christmas shapes to draw in the glitter such as candy canes, stars and trees. Take photographs of their stories in the sand.
Listen to lots of Christmas music as you enjoy these Christmas activities. Introduce some traditional carols alongside popular Christmas songs.
Make a selection of jingle bells, hand bells and chime bars, and put them in a Christmas music basket. Bring them out for children to use when you sing Christmas songs. Try these new Christmas rhymes:
Five fat snowmen standing in the snow, The sun came out and one had to go! Four fat snowmen…
I’m a little robin, round and red, Here’s my wing, and here’s my head. When the wind blows, and the air is cold, I tuck my head under here, so I’ve been told.
Christmas activities for KS3-KS4
I am organising a Christmas party, but I don’t like anything to be left over. I plan to give each guest one of each of the a variety of Christmas party themed items. What is the smallest number of guests I should invite so that nothing is left over?
Download a PowerPoint featuring this lowest common multiple Christmas maths activity.
Christmas Tree Shaped Poems
There are many poetic conventions that provide challenge restrictions on wordplay, and this one has a simple festive twist.
Have your students compose a poem about how they will spread joy in the festive season, while fitting the words into the shape of a Christmas tree.
A Christmas Carol
This handy storyboard template based on the novel A Christmas Carol features a model illustration for stave 1. Students need to illustrate and summarise staves 2–5 and consider Scrooge’s future.