3 Simple Tips to Engage Students With Seasonal and Holiday Activities

3 Simple Ways to Engage Students By Teaching With Seasonal and Holiday Activities

Teaching with holidays and seasons is totally my thing!

When it comes to the changing month, season, or upcoming holiday I literally get giddy with excitement! I love to display new seasonal picture books, read aloud some of my favorites, change the bulletin board, and all-out decorate! There is something about bringing outside events like changing seasons and holidays into your classroom that truly excites students. Choosing to use holiday and seasonal activities in your classroom does NOT mean that you have to sacrifice rigor, critical thinking, or your curriculum standards

In fact, it is quite the opposite!

When you use the seasons and holidays to enhance the activities and standards you already have to teach you will immediately see:

  • an increase in student interest and motivation
  • an increase in student participation and discourse 
  • students applying skills and strategies you have taught them
  • students making connections 

No matter how old students get, they still love to celebrate the changing seasons and holidays. Kids love learning about what is happening in real life outside of the four walls of the classroom. By using high-quality, standards-aligned, holiday and seasonal activities you will find that student attention, motivation, and critical thinking increase greatly.

Want to bring the seasons and holidays into your classroom and lesson plans simply? Try these ideas!

Read a Picture Book

There really is no better way to bring in the holidays and seasons than with beautiful picture books. I love gathering up all the holiday and seasonal titles and displaying them at the start of the new month or new season to get students excited about reading! The best part about sharing some extra read alouds with your students to celebrate the holidays and seasons is that when you pick the right picture book you can bring in all of your reading and writing standards to squeeze in a little extra practice! 

Need some suggestions? Boy, do I have some for you! Get started HERE.

seasonal picture books for upper elementary

Bring in the Nonfiction

While I love all things holidays and seasons, there are some holidays that we do not celebrate in my classroom. My district has a policy about celebrating Christmas and other religious holidays in the classroom during the month of December. I also know some school districts stay away from celebrating Halloween. Just because you may not be able to celebrate a specific holiday, it does not mean that you can not bring topics related to the holidays into your classroom. And the best way that I have found to do that is through the use of nonfiction reading!

Want to plan nonfiction activities to use each month that correlate to the current holiday and seasons? It is easy! Try these ideas to get you started:

  • Brainstorm a list of related topics to the season or holiday. When it is Halloween time we study how candy is made. It is a related and equally engaging topic, but does not scream Halloween! During December you can study the winter solstice, and during November you can celebrate Friendsgiving and gratitude!
  • Ask students what comes to their mind when they hear about a holiday or season. Then record all of their ideas and use those topics to inspire learning. If you ask students to share topics that come to mind for winter, you will probably get responses that include penguins, polar bears, blizzards, and snow. All super engaging topics that are perfect for holiday and Christmas alternative learning.
  • Grab high interest and interactive print and interactive digital nonfiction reading activities like these and these to keep students engaged and learning through the year AND practice reading skills! 

seasonal close reading activities for kids

Do a Monthly Project

Once you see the spark that seasonal activities create in students you will want to do monthly seasonal activities all year long! I love to use seasonal writing activities to practice all of the skills we have learning during writing workshop. These projects give students a chance to see their writing skills in action in a fun and engaging way and bonus, they make a great seasonal classroom display, too! By completing seasonal writing activities students also get a taste of real-world writing tasks, showing them that the writing skills they learn in class are so important!

seasonal procedural writing activities: how to catch a leprechaun

Monthly seasonal activities do not need to just be for writing! Bring the seasonal into your math lessons and watch your students' engagement skyrocket! Try some of these ideas to get started!

seasonal math activities and problems: Planning a fall festival

Ready to take the leap and lean into students' excitement over all things holidays? This one big set will last all year long and challenge students to critical think as they celebrate a variety of holidays! Each set includes close reading, writing, math and so much more! See the year long holiday bundle HERE.

seasonal and holiday activities for upper elementary Easter and spring

Want to try some free seasonal activities to see just how engaged students get? Try these!

I love using all things holiday and seasons in the classroom to keep lessons fresh, current, and engagement high and I know you will, too! It is a simple way to mix things up each month and engage students in learning. Grab this exclusive free print and digital summer reading set to see just how rigorous and engaging seasonal learning can be!

Grab FREE seasonal activities
to engage your students! 

free summer print and digital activities for kids

Check out my favorite seasonal activities HERE

Like these monthly seasonal poetry writing activities

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3 Simple Ways to Engage Students By Teaching With Seasonal and Holiday Activities

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