It includes three magical writing prompts for you to give to your students. Each of the writing prompts gives a different scenario, and asks the student, “What would you do?” So the students have a choice. Fill December with Christmas activities and worksheets that are sure to delight students and keep them engaged in learning up to the break.


Home » Blog and News » Holidays » Merry & Bright School Christmas Activities & Christmas Card Ideas to Keep Students Engaged


December is full of holiday and Christmas activities that keep students engaged, but how do you combine academics with holiday fun? With all of the excitement of the holidays, your students’ energy may seem to be boundless. From jingle bells on their shoes, to fluffy reindeer headbands, to endless Santa jokes, you may end up more tired than Rudolf after the big night. Here are some activities that are academic, fun, and engaging for your students this December.

December activities to keep students engaged on a blue banner over a snowy background with a polar bear holding a sign that says let it snow.
This post was first published in December 2021 and was recently updated for December 2023.

Christmas Activity #1 Santa Claus Tracking with Norad

You know about NORAD, right? It stands for North American Aerospace Defense Command and it monitors the airspace worldwide. On December 24th, they have a special mission of tracking Santa and answering questions from children who call or email or text them. It’s a real thing, and you can take advantage of all the fun they have to offer for the entire month of December.

Santa stuck in a chimney with a reindeer nearby on the roof.
Get this for free in the Member Vault. The link is right below.

NORAD has a free app with daily activities and with real-time tracking of Santa on Christmas Eve. I got permission from our IT department at school to have it available for the students. It was a reward they worked hard to get! The library and activities in the app are good for early finishers, or if you want to give your students a quick brain break.

To go along with it, I have this super cute Santa Claus Tracking resource. It includes reading, comprehension, and writing.

All you need to do is print it and sit back with your hot chocolate or peppermint mocha latte while you watch your students work. ☕ Doesn’t that sound like a holiday wish for every teacher?

Of course, we don’t want anyone to forget to thank Santa. The packet includes thank you cards for Santa. The students write a thank you letter and personalize it with crayons or colored pencils or markers.

Read about this whole NORAD Santa tracking activity in this post.

If you like what you see, download them for free from the Member Vault. When you sign up to get the password, you’ll find many more fabulous freebies!

Christmas Activity #2 Christmas Around the World Scavenger Hunt

One of my favorite activities each December with my 3rd grade classes is Christmas Around the World. I pretend that we’re actually visiting each country. We dress up, we taste some of their foods, we do some crafts, but most importantly, we read and write about the countries.

To add a unique twist to this, you can have a no-prep (except for printing) escape room style scavenger hunt. Your students will be learning and practicing reading and looking back in the text to find evidence. But they won’t even know it! They’ll just think they’re having fun helping Santa.

Here’s the premise: Santa’s GPS isn’t working and he needs your students to help him find his next stop. This video hook will get your students ready to rescue Santa!

You can place the reading passages around the room so students will be up and moving. As they visit and read about countries, they’ll use text evidence to find clues. When they unscramble the final clue letters, they’ll know where Santa is going next.

There are 15 countries included in this escape room / scavenger hunt activity pack. They’re divided by geographic regions into three different scavenger hunts.

Blue and silver bells on a cover for a Christmas Around the World Scavenger Hunt.

Countries in the Christmas Around the World Scavenger Hunt

The Europe hunt includes:

The Southern Hemisphere hunt includes:

The Norther Countries hunt includes:

The reading passages are all original, written by a teacher (me) about the Christmas traditions. They’re at a reading level for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students.

You can divide the activities up and do just one escape room / scavenger hunt in a day, or do all three! You can do them in any order.

Extras with the Christmas Around the World Scavenger Hunt

When you purchase this resource, you get Christmas activity printables such as cards to make and coloring pages.



Christmas Activity #3 Add a Mentor Text Activity With a Holiday Book 

When my son was growing up, every Christmas Eve, we sat by the tree and read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg together. After reading it, and enjoying hot chocolate as thick and creamy as could be, he would curl up and fall asleep on the couch. He waited for Santa every year, but he was never able to catch him dropping off his presents!

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie DePaola is another wonderful picture book I recommend.

One thing I loved to do during the holiday season is to choose mentor text picture books to read with the students.

You can do this too. You’ll find a freebie set of mentor text routine worksheets to go with any book you choose. Just click on the image to go to the Member Vault.

Mentor sentence template pages on a pink background

Christmas Activity #4 Writing Every Day with December Writing Prompts

I’ve mentioned in another blog post that my digital interactive writing journals that are based on celebrations and observances for each day of the month. Each day has a short text about the day’s observance. For example, in December we have

At the beginning of this journal, in the teacher’s notes, you’ll find suggested websites where you can find videos or reading to build background knowledge. If you’re able to include some of these your students will be brimming with ideas to write about the day’s prompt.

The December digital and printable journal has 33 prompts total. That’s enough to keep your students busy writing during the winter break, too! If you’d like to preview the December notebook, you can see ithere in my Teachers Pay Teachers storeOr you can watch the video preview here.

Christmas Activity # 5 Multiplication Facts Practice with a Christmas Theme

Dominoes amp up the fun when used to practice all kinds of math facts and strategies. Multiplication practice is easy to adapt to dominoes. I created three levels of multiplication flash cards in Google Slides for you that are self-checking! They all have cute clipart so they take advantage of the holiday excitement and turn it into excitement in learning math facts!

Christmas Math Game bundle with an ornament that says facts 1-9 and a domino in the corner.
Click the image to see what’s included.

A very wise teacher friend once told me his secret to teaching multiplication. When I taught 4th and 5th grade, I could always tell which students graduated from his 3rd grade class, because they were solid with their multiplication facts.

He taught me to teach multiplication in a progressive from the easiest to skip count, which are 1s, 2s, and 5s. The next step includes the doubles; 4s, 3s, and 6s. The final level has 7s, 8s, and 9s.

These three multiplication decks follow that system. You can purchase the decks separately or as a bundle from my Teachers Pay Teachers store

Christmas scenery with a domino math game for multiplication

These are so handy to have on hand. Since they’re digital, the kids can use them for independent practice, in stations, at home, in the car, or wherever they are. 

Christmas Activity # 6 Holiday Multiplication Bingo Game

As if the domino math isn’t enough fun for you, here’s a super popular Holiday Multiplication Bingo Game. It’s one of my top sellers. You can play it digitally or print out the Bingo cards and markers. It’s a way to practice math facts, which are a Common Core Standard, and destress with your littles at the same time.

Here are a some ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews.

Such an adorable, fun, and engaging resource! Who doesn’t love BINGO?! Thank you for a great resource. ~~~Teacher Plant Lady

I used this as a fun practice with my students. They loved it. Thank you! ~~~Jamie V.

Super fun! Kids loved it! Thanks! ~~~Eberly Room 217


Holiday Multiplication Bingo Game with a tablet and a snowman and mittens on a blue background.

If you’re not sure how to use a digital bingo game, I’ve included instructions on how to share the file with your students, and how they move their markers to the bingo card.

But don’t worry! It’s printable too! You can print it and save it to use from year to year.

FREE Christmas Activity # 7 Christmas Card Craft Lift the Flap Tree Card

Here’s a gift from me to you. Enjoy!

This is such a cute and fun activity. Even my adult son loved it! (The same one who fell asleep waiting on the couch for Santa each year.) He’s more artistic than I am, so he did the coloring for these photos. 😃

Christmas craft greeting card.

Start with a few pattern pieces and cut and color them.

Christmas card pattern pieces.

Glue them together. Add a message to a loved one under the flaps.

The pattern includes a printable for a larger tree, too.

You can share this video with your students showing how to make it step-by-step.

I Wish You a Happy Holiday Season

Whichever holidays you choose to celebrate, I want to send you my warmest wishes and warmest thanks. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to read this post. I hope that these products will give you a little extra time in your day to sit back and enjoy a warm cup of tea, coffee, or [insert your favorite drink here.]  Our dog Tucker is a little grayer now than he is in this picture, but he’s still loving his comfy bed in front of the fireplace. Our beagle Dahlila is as happy as ever.

Happy-Holidays-dog-and-fireplace                A beagle dog on a couch with a gold and silver background and the words warm wishes from Dahlila and TeacherWriter.

Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends, and enjoy your holiday season! If you have pets, enjoy spoiling them!



If you’d like to read more holiday posts on the blog, here are some you might like.

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