The countdown to winter break is on! As you know, students tend to become more excited than usual around this time, which means having engaging activities planned is a must. So, break out the winter decor and get ready to fully embrace the chilly days ahead. I’ve got 11 no-prep winter activities for elementary students, so you can spend less time planning and more time sipping hot cocoa.
Winter Reading Activities
Decorate your classroom with seasonal reading banners! These banners do double duty. They review important reading comprehension skills AND make the perfect festive decor. The best part is they can be used with any fiction or nonfiction book.
Each template within the resource covers a different skill, such as storytelling elements, summarizing, informational skills, sequencing, and more. Plus, the banners come in really cute seasonal shapes.
You can apply them to any book and display them in various ways. You can attach it to ribbon and hang them from the ceiling or wall, staple to a bulletin board, or line the hallways with seasonal decor.
There are templates for 12 different holidays and seasons, including a Winter Banner, Holiday Lights Banner, and a Christmas Banner. This is a winter activity that serves an educational purpose, as well as a festive one!
If you use graphic organizers in your classroom, then these seasonal graphic organizers will help you mix it up in the winter. I created Winter Themed and Christmas Themed reading graphic organizers that you can use with any text.
Each set of graphic organizers covers the same 15 skills, including cause and effect, character traits, context clues, main idea and details, and more. They also involve zero prep. Just print, and go!
Classroom decor holds a sweet spot in my heart. But, it’s even better when it’s functional. This decorative winter bulletin board has 12 writing prompts hidden behind 12 presents.
Each prompt is designed to let students explore different aspects of winter, from snowmen and polar bears to family traditions. Your students will love the chance to write about all aspects of winter. The prompts cover a variety of writing styles including how-to writing, poetry, creative writing, personal narrative, descriptive, informative and more. Students get a recording booklet to keep all their writing in one place, and it makes for a great finished project to take home to their families.
Another engaging winter activities for elementary students involves selling a house! Your students will act as a realtor for this writing activity with an exciting job – selling a house located in the North Pole! They will need to use persuasive, descriptive, and creative writing skills to pull it off.
All pages include student-friendly directions, a checklist of “Things to Consider”, and a suggested range of sentences. This makes it easy for students at all levels to work independently. You’ll be amazed by what your students come up with!
A cross-curricular winter writing activity that brings science to life. In this narrative nonfiction writing activity, students will write a story from the perspective of a snowflake! Their journey begins as a raindrop, travels through the water cycle stages, and ends with the snowflake falling gracefully from the sky.
You can use this activity during your writing block and it works well with the writing workshop model. Or, have students complete it during centers. I suggest beginning with a brainstorm of a snowflake (looks like, sounds like, feels like), as well as the scientific terms used to describe the water cycle.
Winter Themed Math Activities
If you want to add winter activities to your centers or independent learning, task cards are a great no-prep tool. These 24 winter themed task cards are perfect to review and reinforce finding the quotient and determining the unknown number in a division equation.
Two-step word problems can be a doozy, and there’s always room for more practice. With these task cards, students will use a variety of strategies to solve each word problem. They’ll focus on finding the quotient, after completing an addition and/or subtraction step.
Incorporate some movement with these task cards. Scatter the task cards around the room for a game of Scoot. Students move from one task card to the next as they roam the room in search of all 24 cards.
Holiday Research Project
Ever wonder what Christmas is like in other countries? Give your students the chance to explore the world and learn about the many different ways this holiday is celebrated. This project has two parts: a presentation (poster, PowerPoint, etc.) and an optional diorama to bring learning to life.
Students are able to manage this project independently with clear rubrics, student-friendly directions, writing pages, and poster headings.
The final product also makes for a great winter celebration that parents would love to see. Having a winter party before break? Invite parents and other classes in to share in the excitement and learn about the different Christmas customs and traditions around the world.
I hope you found some great no-prep winter activities for elementary students! If you’re getting ready for winter break, and wondering about giving gifts, check out this blog post for 20 budget-friendly gift ideas for your students. Be sure to Pin the image below to save this post for later and to share it with other educators.