Christmas always sneaks up on me as a teacher. The week of our Christmas/holiday party, I would begin scrambling around for activities and gift ideas. If your brain is fried, then these Christmas party ideas for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms should help!
There are ideas and activities that require little to no prep or money, as well as some ideas that require a little more prep and the help of Amazon Prime.
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1. Candy Cane Races
Divide the class into two teams and complete some relay races using candy canes.
Pass the Candy Cane
Have each team line up. The first person in line holds a candy cane using only one index finger (the "hook" of the candy cane rests on the finger).
Students must pass the candy cane to the next person in line, with each person using only one index finger. The first group to finish wins.
On the Face
Have each team line up. The first person must run to the opposite end of the room and then return to their line with the candy cane on their face. If they drop the candy cane, they must start over.
After they make it back to their line, the next person goes. The first team to have everybody carry the candy cane on their face without dropping it wins.
Between the Knees
Have each team line up. The first person must run to the opposite end of the room and then return to their line with the candy cane in between their knees. If they drop the candy cane, they must start over.
After they make it back to their line, the next person goes. The first team to have everybody carry the candy cane between their knees without dropping it wins.
Over the Head
Have each team line up and face the same direction. Students must continue to face the same direction for the entire race. Give the candy cane to the first person in line. They must pass the candy cane over their heads to the next person in line. Repeat, passing the candy cane to each person in line.
The last person in line gets the candy cane and begins to pass it back to the first person in line, once again over the head. Whichever team gets the candy cane back to the first person in line first wins.
2. Toilet Paper Snowman Group Activity
Put upper elementary students into small groups and give each group several rolls of toilet paper. Each group chooses one person to be the snowman, and the rest of the group wraps that person up with toilet paper to make a "snowman." You can have students add paper buttons and a nose if you want!
This can either be set up as a race (the first group to use all of their toilet paper and make a snowman wins) or a contest where the best looking snowman wins.
3. Build Gingerbread Houses
Divide students into small groups and have each group build a gingerbread house. The easiest way to do this is to give each group a gingerbread house kit. You'll start seeing these at Walmart or Target around the holidays. This can be a really fun team building activity.
4. Watch A Christmas Movie and Drink Hot Chocolate
Simple, yet fun - and it gives you some extra time to catch up on all the things that you never have time to do.
5. Have a Paper Snowball Fight
Need a last minute holiday activity that is virtually no cost and no prep? Have a paper snowball fight in the 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade classroom.
Give each student a couple of sheets of paper to crumple up into a snowball. Make sure students understand any rules you might have while they are having a snowball fight - my rules are always no running or screaming,
freeze as soon as I stay "Freeze," and if you don't follow instructions you don't get to play again.
Then, let students start throwing paper snowballs at each other!
While this makes a fun classroom activity before Christmas, you can also have snowball fights to reinforce math and reading lessons or as an informal assessment.
6. Keep Your Class "Party" Educational
Depending on your administration, you may not have the freedom to have a holiday party with your class. You can still get your students into the Christmas spirt with some educational activities, however!
This Free Snowman Fraction Activity is a fun way to celebrate winter while also practicing fraction skills.
These Christmas Writing Prompts are sure to engage your writers all season long! Motivating students to write is much easier when they are inspired by ugly Christmas sweaters, snowmen, or Santa's elves!
7. Make an Ornament
This is always a crowd pleaser - and one of the few school crafts that can actually be used year after year at home!
There are endless options - elaborate options for the crafty, and no prep options for the busy.
- Photo Ornaments - Take pictures of each of your students and put the photos in these Clear Ornaments. Students can decorate the ornaments however they want. Find more detailed instructions here.
- No Prep and Cheap - Don't have much time or money, but still want to do something fun? These Color Scratch ornaments might be perfect for you.
- Wood Slices - This kit makes it easy for students to decorate a wood slice for a rustic and fun ornament.
8. Holiday Minute to Win It Games
Minute to Win It Games are usually quick challenges/races using common household items. Kids and adults love them, and there are endless options to choose from!
Some fun examples of Minute to Win It Games you could use with your upper elementary students are:
- The Gingerbread Challenge - give each student a gingerbread man cookie and have them put it on their forehead. Have students move the cookie from the forehead to their mouth without using their hands!
- Red Christmas Tree - Put students into small group, and give each group a 36 red plastic cups. The first group to stack the cups up into the shape of a Christmas tree wins!
- Holiday Card Cliffhanger - Give students a stack of holiday cards to put them on their desks. Have students blow on each of the cards so that they are hanging over the edge of the desk - but haven't fallen over! The student with the most cards hanging off the desk wins!
- Hot Chocolate with Chopsticks - Give each group of students an empty mug, a bag of marshmallows, and some chopsticks. The group that can put the most marshmallows in the mug using only chopsticks in the time allotted wins!
Never Stress Over Sub Plans Again!
Make copies, find a fiction book, and you'll be ready for any emergency that comes your way!