That last day before the holiday break can be a doozy if you’re not careful. For me, I like to make it manageable for me and fun for my kids. Stress-Free Holiday Stations are just the ticket. I’ve compiled my favorite games and activities to share with you so you can enjoy a Stress-Free day, too.
STATIONS MAKE IT EASY PEASY
Just like when I’m planning for Halloween and Thanksgiving, I find that when I can keep students engaged in fun and meaningful activities, the day is more pleasant and peaceful and joyful for everyone. You can decide based on how much time you have in your schedule just how long students are at each station, but I generally like to keep it between 10-12 minutes with no more than four students at any one station at the same time. So for instance, in my classroom of 20 students, I will have 6 stations with 3-4 students at each station. It will take me about an hour and a half for students to get to all 6 stations. If you would work better with a schedule that only includes 4 or 5 stations, that’s perfectly fine. Or, just in case you need a few extra stations, I will add a couple of additional ideas here that you can try. To find out more about any of these activities, just click on the pictures or highlighted text.
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Geoboards are a basic staple in my class. Along with Legos, q-tip, daubers, and dough, these are items that I just always have available for my students in one way or another. Because of this, my students are familiar with the materials and that makes these activities so independent and easy. And most importantly . . . it makes them STRESS-FREE!
I use a couple of different levels of difficulty so I’m never worried that it might be too hard or too easy for any one student.
DOUGH, DOUGH, DOUGH
There’s not much my students love more than getting their hands on some dough. Today is a perfect day to give them some fun dough mats and let them get their hands moving. One of them lets them decorate a tree and the other is for decorating an ornament.
They are both included in my December Morning Work Stations packet. (There are like 35 different activities in this packet. I am only using 12 this month so I have a ton of extra activities that I can use in my Math Stations, Daily 6 Stations or . . . Stress-Free Holiday Stations.)
- Various colors of playdoh
- Playdoh cards
Stress-Free fun means at least one station has to involve a race of some kind. This one is all about snowballs. Where students raced spiders for Halloween and then feathers for Thanksgiving, this time we race extra-large pompoms. Each student is given their own festive holiday straw. Two students stand at the starting line and by blowing through their straw, they race to get their ‘snow balls’ across the finish line.
I promise this is going to be a favorite activity, but it won’t be a quiet one.
- 1 holiday straw per students
- tape for start and finish line
- 2 extra large white pompoms
This is another super easy station because my students use Legos nearly every day in one way or another. This time we are working on all the things that have to do with the holiday season. You’ll find them included in my Winter Building Block Challenge set.
All you need are some small bases like the ones I use and legos in a bunch of different colors.
DOT THE HALLS WITH Q-TIP PICTURES
All you need are cotton swabs and some paint and you’ll have your station.
- Q-tip Dot A Design Holiday pages
There are quite a few pictures and versions that you can choose from or just offer a bunch and let your students choose.
Either way, this is a familiar activity that we use nearly every day for morning work and literacy stations and math, so my students know how to manage the tools and clean it up easily.
This is another super independent station that my students LOVE. There are several different images and levels from which you can choose to print.
SWEET BEADED CANDY CANES
My students love making beaded bracelets, and I like that I can just put some beads out in a tray and they produce their own creations without much direction from me.
- various pony beads
- jingle bells
- pipe cleaners
But if you want to have them produce something a bit ‘more,’ these super simple beaded candy canes are so easy. Students just create a pattern and you form it into a candy cane shape. Super easy peasy.
Because stacking ghosts is such a hit on Halloween, I thought I would give my students the opportunity to stack some snowmen for Christmas.
Just grab yourself some more of those all-white little cups from Walmart and paint little snowman faces on them with a couple of Sharpies and there you go. I gave my students 100 and that was a good number for them to work with during the time we had.
- plastic white cups
- Sharpie pens in black and orange
Finally, here’s an oldie but an easy one! I just get some foam gingerbread men and some ‘stuff’ for them to decorate them.
It’s easy. And it’s open-ended, so there’s no wrong or right way to do it.
- foam gingerbread boys
- various buttons
- yarn or rick-rack
- google eyes
- clear-drying glue
- ribbon to hang it
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