Active Learning Ideas for Holiday and Winter

As it gets colder outside, you may be looking for creative ways to incorporate movement into your lessons to both reinforce key concepts and keep students active and interested in the content. Studies have shown (https://www.walkabouts.com/research/) how active learning leads to increased student engagement and achievement, improved comportment, reduced behavior referrals, and the adoption of healthy habits and reduced obesity. It can also help you deliver some serious fun at a time when students (and teachers) need it more than ever. These activities include modifications to fit hybrid teaching models.

WINTERTIME AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES

Snowman Answers (K-2): Create two (or more) construction paper snowmen. Place the snowmen on the floor in different parts of the classroom. Each snowman represents an answer to a question. Ask the class a question. (Questions can include math problems, science questions, questions about books the class has read, etc.) Give students possible answers and tell students which snowman (and movement) corresponds to each answer. Students should move toward the snowman they think is correct. Movements may include pretending to ice skate, jumping like a penguin, or flying like a snowy owl. Repeat for as many questions as desired.

Virtual Learning Alternative: Show snowmen graphics on your screen. Each snowman represents an answer to a question. Ask the class a question. (Questions can include math problems, science questions, questions about books the class has read, etc.) Give students possible answers and tell students which snowman (and movement) corresponds to each answer. Students should move toward the snowman they think is correct. Movements may include pretending to ice skate, jumping like a penguin, or flying like a snowy owl. Repeat for as many questions as desired.

Cold Weather Song (PK-2): Tell students the lyrics for “I’m a little snowman.” Then, sing the song as a class. As they sing, have students point to parts of their bodies where the clothing would be worn.

Virtual Learning Alternative: Display the lyrics on screen and sing the song as a class.

Lyrics below are from (Super Simple, A Place to Learn).

I’m a little snowman, look at me.

These are my buttons, 1, 2, 3.

These are my eyes, and this is my nose.

I wear a hat and scarf. Brrr . . . it’s cold!

I’m a little snowman, look at me.

These are my buttons, 1, 2, 3.

These are my eyes, and this is my nose.

I wear a hat and scarf. Brrr . . . it’s cold!

I’m a little snowman, look at me.

These are my buttons, 1, 2, 3.

These are my eyes and this is my nose.

I wear a hat and scarf. Brrr . . . it’s cold!

Video: (https://supersimple.com/song/im-a-little-snowman/)

Snowball Math Relay (K-2): Provide two white balls (volleyballs, soccer balls, and inflatable balls work well) with several math facts written on them. (Snowballs should be small enough so students can carry them.) Mark start and finish lines on the floor with masking tape. Have students line up at the start line in two equal groups. The first student should state a math fact on the snowball and say the answer. Then, the student should roll the ball to the finish line, pick it up, run back to the start line, and give the ball to the next student in line. Repeat until the last student runs back to the start line. The team that finishes first wins.

Snowflake Sizes (K-2): Provide five snowflakes of varying sizes. Have each student pick up each snowflake and put the snowflakes in order from smallest to largest.

Virtual Learning Alternative: Show five snowflakes of varying size on your screen. Have the students start on the left and jump to the side to the first snowflake, then wave their hands/fingers like falling snow and shout 1. Then, they follow that pattern to jump for each snowflake.

Snowman Spelling (K-3): Place three toy hoops on the floor in the shape of a snowman. Add a black paper hat, an orange paper (or real carrot) nose, and black paper eyes and mouth. For this partner activity, provide bean bags (the number of bean bags should correspond to the letters in the longest word) and a list of spelling words. One student should read a spelling word and the other student should toss one beanbag into each hoop as they spell the word aloud. Students should check each other’s work. After students toss and spell a predetermined number of words, they should switch roles.

Virtual Learning Alternative: Build a snowman as students spell words. Choose spelling words with the correct number of letters to build a complete snowman. Say a word aloud. Call on a student to say the first letter in the word. Add a snowball for the base of the snowman, and write the first letter of the word. Continue to spell the word by calling on students to say each letter of the word, writing the letters, and building the snowman. Depending on the lengths of each spelling word, snowmen may have two or three snowballs, a nose, two eyes, a mouth, a hat, and two arms.

SEASONAL SPELLING WORDS MIGHT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  • snow
  • snowball
  • snowman
  • snowflake
  • ice
  • icicle
  • ski
  • skate
  • winter
  • cold
  • freeze
  • frozen
  • frost
  • sled
  • boots
  • coat
  • hat
  • mittens
  • scarf

JUST FOR FUN (PK-2)

Fun Freeze Dance: Play “Let It Go” and other seasonal tunes. Ask students to show off their silliest dance moves and tell them to freeze in place when the tunes turn off!

Ice Monster Walk: Have students walk like quiet ice monsters, yeti, or the abominable snowman. Students may choose to walk with stiff legs and arms straight out in front of them.

Fly Like a Snowy Owl: Have students walk like quiet snowy owls by flapping their arms.

Snowball Bowling Relay:  Provide two small decorated balls. Mark start and finish lines on the floor with masking tape. Have students line up at the start line in two equal groups. The first student should roll the ball to the finish line, pick it up, run back to the start line, and give the ball to the next student in line. Repeat until the last student in line runs back to the start line. The team that finishes first wins.

Musical Snowflakes: Cut large snowflake shapes from white and silver construction paper. Tape them to the floor in a large circle. Play winter music such as “The Nutcracker,” and tell students to move from snowflake to snowflake while the music plays like in musical chairs. Stop the music, remove a snowflake, and tell students to stand on a snowflake (or share by putting one foot on a snowflake). Remove one snowflake each round. By the end of the game, all students must put a foot on the same snowflake. For variety, use gingerbread men, penguins, or winter hats instead of snowflakes.

Virtual Learning Alternative: Play winter music such as “The Nutcracker,” or songs from the “Frozen” soundtrack and tell students to pretend to be snowflakes, Winter animals, or a character from the movie Frozen (if all students are familiar with the movie) while the music plays. Stop the music, and tell students to freeze in whatever pose they landed on when the music stopped. Restart the music and movement. Ask students to switch what they are pretending to be each time.

HOW WILL YOU KEEP YOUR STUDENTS MOVING THIS WINTER?

Learn more about Walkabouts, web-based lessons that activate pre-k through 2nd grade content with fun, standards-based movement. Start your free trial today.