Updated December 12, 2023
Beloved winter holidays present an excellent opportunity to engage students while teaching about cultures and traditions from around the world, as well as winter-related science and language arts topics.
All of the following winter holiday lessons and activities are easy to access, use and enjoy. Best of all, they’re 100% free!
Best Free Winter Holiday Lessons and Activities
National WWI Museum and Memorial: The Christmas Truce, Winter 1914
From the National World War I Museum and Memorial, this remarkable online exhibition explores the unofficial but documented truce between trench warfare combatants along parts of both the Western and the Eastern fronts. Includes extensive primary source material as well as photos, video, and explanatory text. In a quirky twist, users may declare a truce of their own on any topic, as well as voting on others’ truces.
Counting Christmas Trees
A standards-aligned lesson based on sales of Christmas trees that can be customized for students in grades K-8. Included are PDF materials, questions, lesson extensions, and a brief assessment.
Weather for Kids
Obviously, “weather” is not limited to the winter. Nonetheless, in many parts of the country wintertime is associated with colder temperatures, snow, ice, and other weather-related phenomena. This robust collection of experiments, videos, lessons, projects, and games offers a broad range of teaching and learning options.
National Weather Service: Why We have Seasons
What makes it winter now, and not spring, fall, or summer? Hint: It’s not related to Earth’s distance from the sun. In this compact lesson from the National Weather Service, students will learn what causes seasons as well as related information about the movement of the Earth relative to the Sun, and a myth about eggs and the spring equinox. Still curious about seasons? Visit the related page Meteorological Versus Astronomical Seasons.
PBS Learning Media: Why Do We Have Seasons?
A complete, standards-aligned interactive lesson exploring Earth’s year-long trek around the Sun. Grades 3-12, shareable to Google Classroom.
An inventive, engaging and educational site, Snow Crystals.com is the brainchild of Kenneth G. Libbrecht, professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology. While Libbrecht studies the physics of snowflakes, he clearly also appreciates the artistry and whimsy of snowflakes. Everything is here, from the hard-core science to snowflake fun facts and activities to time-lapse videos of growing snowflakes.
Googley Wintertime Activities for Kids
Google expert Eric Curts presents awesome digital activities for holiday fun and learning. Try the all-digital magnetic poetry, holiday greeting cards, pixel art, or any of the eight activities. All include full instructions as well as digital templates.
Make your own holiday greeting card
Select images, font, background colors, and greeting to create a customized printable greeting card for your favorite winter holiday. Don’t forget to include a fun graphic on the back. Great for kids of all ages.
All about Christmas
A treasure trove of Christmas traditions, customs, and activities, including Christmas crosswords, quizzes, and puzzles. Christmas song Karaoke, anyone?
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights
Teach the story of Hanukkah, then add the grade-based reading, writing, and art activities to your December classroom instruction.
December Holiday Lesson Plans and Activities
A wealth of cross-curricular winter holiday lessons and activities for students of all ages. Explore the history of games and toys, try the “Re-Name That Tune” vocabulary exercise, or delve into Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
This detailed article from the History Channel covers the history, principles, and symbols of Kwanzaa. Educators can use it to launch a classroom discussion about the importance of rituals in building communities, or how students can put the seven principles into use in their everyday lives.
Give your students the Dickens!
According to some scholars, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the single greatest literary influence on our modern Christmas customs. Explore these student-friendly ways to study not only A Christmas Carol, but also 19th-century English society. Both encompass themes relevant to today’s world, such as poverty, inequality, and how we treat our fellow humans.
Online Kwanzaa Games
Practice math and language skills while having fun with these Kwanzaa-themed digital games and puzzles.
Online Hanukkah Activities
Kids learn the history and rituals of Hanukkah through engaging activities, including digital Dreidel games, crossword puzzles, and coloring pages. These digital activities are printable too!
Christmas Interactive Slides
This Spanish-language digital slideshow helps students learn about Christmas traditions in Spanish-speaking locales, from Spain to Mexico. Perfect for Spanish language class.
Interactive lessons from PBS: Celebrating Winter
Celebrate the season with a bounty of winter-related interactive lessons in math, biology, art, religion, and poetry. These preK-12 lessons are standards-aligned, sharable and integrated with Google classroom.
Crafts for Kids
Kids will enjoy creating a Winter Wonderland Terrarium using only empty jar, twigs, pinecones, and trinket toys. Be sure to check out the Cotton Swab Snowflakes for another easy and fun winter art project.
Online Christmas Puzzles and Games
Fun online interactives for younger learners include puzzles featuring Santa and the elves, a Santa and Rudolph coloring page, and a digital math game, video lesson, and worksheet.