There are some holiday activities that are so awesome, they become a permanent part of your classroom holiday events. I gathered a list of some of my favorite third grade Christmas activities that I keep coming back to each holiday season. I hope you’ll want to keep doing them every year too!
Third Grade Christmas Activities
I’ve included my top third grade Christmas activities with links to resources and freebies. Enjoy!
Take a trip around the world
Teaching about holidays around the world is one of my all-time favorite third grade Christmas activities that I have been doing for years! This always ends up being an incredible learning experience that is fun and memorable for my students.
Take your class on a journey around the world to learn about special traditions, celebrations, and foods for the holidays in different countries. There’s so much to learn!! Make the experience even more magical by using the free flight script and holiday destination posters in this post. If you’re looking for even more resources for teaching holidays around the world, click here for a complete Holidays Around the World Unit & PowerPoint!
Have a Holiday Book Exchange
Who doesn’t love a new book? A holiday book exchange is an excellent way to give books new life by allowing students to regift, recycle, and reuse unwanted books. This will get students eager to read over the upcoming break.
Set up your holiday book exchange by asking students to bring in gently used books from home wrapped with a bow or a candy cane. You can lay out the books ahead of time to build students’ excitement all week long!
If you have Scholastic bonus points, that’s another great way to get books for the exchange. Look for books that students have been getting excited about and you’ll really spark their interest in the book exchange!
You can grab this FREE Holiday Book Exchange Parent Letter to spread the word to adults at home!
Compare different versions of The Gingerbread Man
Comparing different versions of The Gingerbread Man is a great way to practice and review skills taught so far this year. All of the versions of The Gingerbread Man are excellent for teaching about central message, character traits, repetition in stories, and how characters respond to challenges. They’re a great starting point for turning readers into thinkers!
Host a holiday movie day
My students always love a holiday movie day (and so do I!), so it’s making my list of top third grade Christmas activities! You can transform a simple movie day into a learning experience with some great movie day math and ELA ideas in this post. Be sure to download the awesome FREE movie day menus to use with any movie while you’re there!!
Have a countdown to Winter Break
No list of third grade Christmas activities would be complete without a special countdown to Winter Break! Students will get so excited to see what each day will bring. We even sing an alternate version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”.
Here’s how it works: Each morning roll down or uncover the chart to reveal that day’s special treat. Students use the treats to do math and ELA tasks!
Click here to check out what I use for this activity. I have options for grades 1-4!
Challenge your students to write one sentence summaries
One of my favorite third grade challenges, this one-sentence summary freebie is a great option if you’re looking for third grade Christmas activities. It really keeps students engaged by providing a little challenge combined with a cute craft!
It’s a simple activity too—just use some favorite books and challenge students to write a summary in one sentence only. It also makes for a great door or bulletin board decoration, which is an awesome added bonus!
Make easy parent gifts
One of the third grade Christmas activities I like to do in December is create easy and inexpensive parent gifts. I really like using Dollar Tree candles and turning them into little art projects by students. The candles can easily be made to look like snowmen, or students could decorate the candle with tissue paper scraps and watered down school glue.
There are also a ton of cute homemade ornament options that can easily and inexpensively be made. Check out this post to get more ideas for easy parent gifts!
Make candy cane cactus ornaments
Read The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires and make candy cane cactus ornaments! They’re super easy to do!
Candy Cane Cactus Ornament for the Gingerbread Cowboy
- Draw a cactus shape on card stock to make a tracer.
- Trace 3-4 on a sheet of copy paper.
- Copy on red paper.
- Cut out the cactus shape.
- Glue thin strips of white paper to the back of the ornament. Then turn the ornament over and trim off the extra.
- Glue pieces of green pipe cleaner to the tops of the cactus.
Hold a secret Santa of kind words
The Secret Santa of Kind Words is one of the third grade Christmas activities that you’ll definitely want to repeat each year—it is such a precious way to spread the gift of kindness during the holiday season!
Place the names of your students in a hat. You could also add names of volunteers and school staff as well to include them in on the fun. Have each student draw a name to find out who their Secret Santa of Kind Words is, then each student makes a card and writes kind things about the person they chose!
For students who don’t celebrate Christmas, this could be a Secret Snowman instead!
Exchange gingerbread men
Exchanging gingerbread men is a great holiday tradition for your classroom and it’s a great option for third grade Christmas activities. We sign up to exchange gingerbread men with other schools each year. It’s a lot of fun!
I like to get my students ready for this gingerbread exchange by reading The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School. Then, we make a class book filled with pictures of our class chasing our gingerbread men through the school. Click here to get my templates and directions for the class book and gingerbread man craft if you want to do this with your class!
Decorate for Data
I love to incorporate math skills into my third grade Christmas activities, so this Gingerbread Decorate for Data activity is always a favorite! We generate data by decorating our cookies according to a glyph key. You can use real cookies or paper cookies for this (to avoid the mess!).
It’s awesome to see how each child is represented through the items on their gingerbread man. This is a great classroom community building activity because students can get to know their classmates through their glyphs!
We even used the ChatterPix app for students to explain what each item on their cookie represents.
Take a look at this post to learn more about how I do this activity with my students, as well as some other gingerbread math activities to try out!
Create lunch sack gingerbread houses
These adorable gingerbread house gift bags are one of the third grade Christmas activities that are always a crowd favorite with students! You can make them easily and cheaply by using lunch sacks from the dollar store. It also makes a great gift wrapping option for parent gifts!
I hope you’ve discovered some third grade Christmas activities you’ll want to repeat year after year! Pin this post to keep these ideas in mind and have them when you plan!
Find more fun holiday activities & teaching ideas in these posts!