December is a truly unique time of year. Despite the cold and the dark there is an overwhelming abundance of light and warmth. I’m not just talking about the decorations either. The holidays encourage us to be a little better. To seek out the good in all of us and spread a little joy where we can. The word “jolly” takes on new meaning, and even the grinchiest grinch feels their heart grow a little bigger.

For educators, this season offers excellent opportunities to inject a little wonder into student learning. December classrooms tend to get pretty rowdy as the excitement of winter vacation grows. Rather than fight it, teachers can lean into that excitment by providing students with holiday-themed lessons that are memorable, meaningful, and fun. From the science of snow to engaging videos, here are just a few fun activities teachers might consider trying this holiday season:

  • The 12 Days of STEAM: Explore a dozen delightful challenges with a wintery theme! In these activities, students exercise their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking while learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Do them all or pick and choose; The Twelve Days of STEAM are the perfect fit for any teacher’s schedule.
  • The Science of Baking: Every family has a secret recipe that they use to make that one holiday dessert like nobody else. We all have our favorites, and recently a survey was given to determine each S. State’s favorite holiday treat. What makes these different holiday treats taste so special? Does it really matter how much sugar is put into a dish? Or if we forget to use the baking powder? Use this activity to discover the science behind baking (and maybe make some delicious snacks in the process)!
  • Winter WONDERland: Love it or hate it, snow has fallen in all 50 states at least once throughout history and falls annually in the majority of the United States. How does snow form? Is each snowflake actually unique? Why is some snow good for packing snowballs while other snow won’t stay together? Answer these questions and more with an activity that teaches students about the winter weather.
  • An Educational Holiday Movie List: Videos are a great tool for teaching students, and there’s a lot about this season that they may not be aware of. Use these ten free videos to teach students about celebrations from around the world! They’ll discover the meaning of Sweden’s Sankta Lucia, learn about the WWI Christmas Truce, and even hear some facts about Kwanza.
  • Make Your Own Snow Globe: For even more STEAM action, check out Make Your Own Snow Globe! This cool holiday craft teaches students how to make a snow globe from household materials. What’s more, it’s a great way to recycle used jars and decorations — so you’ll be helping look after the environment, too.

The holiday season will be over before we know it. So, let’s seize the moment and celebrate while we can. If you found these resources helpful, be sure to check out Keep Curiosity Alive and Blue Apple’s Timely Topics. Both resources are free to use and include a variety of fun activities that will boost student curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. There has never been a better time to check them out. We hope you all have a very Happy Holidays!

For more free educational resources, check out these free tools and strategies from Blue Apple!

*Image courtesy of Michael Pardo via Wikimedia Commons.