Inside: Host a classroom holiday party in your kids’ classrooms or scout groups with low-prep, low-mess, low-cost games, activities, and crafts that are winter-themed.
Most room parents are busy planning or scrambling to plan, the very best, most awesome holiday party for their kids’ classrooms.
And I was tasked with the same job, but for my kids’ whole school. Too many classes were getting magical parties and others were getting “normal” parties and others were getting something thrown together at the last second. Some parties cost hundreds of dollars, and some parties were low-budget (and rightfully so).
So to even the playing field, the PTA at my kids’ elementary school had one parent (me) create and prep ALL the class parties. Every kid in Kindergarten-2nd grade got the same party and every kid in 3rd-5th got the same older kid party.
And my budget was tight. Supplies for 500+ kids and I spent about $200.
So if you have a winter holiday party to plan for a classroom, for a scout troop, or for a family reunion, here are some of the best winter party activities because they are:
- super fun,
- winter-themed activities (not Christmas themed or religious at all)
- perfect for large groups
And as the kids are waiting for their winter party and more importantly, winter break, you can give them this Kindness Countdown to Winter Break so they can see how many days are left in December and spread a little kindness at the same time.
Winter-themed Classroom Holiday Party Ideas Kids and Teachers Love:
Snowman Project Glyph Art
A glyph is made out of smaller pictures that tell a story, similar to hieroglyphics.
This is a following directions activity that is simple enough for a Kindergartener, but fun enough for fifth graders.
And there is no right or wrong way to create this snowman craft because kids are answering about themselves.
You’ll need a snowman template, glyph directions, and Name a Snowman sheet. Get the full directions and the 3 free printables for the Snowman Project here.
And when they’re done, they can name their snowman!
Gingerbread Glyph Art for Classroom Holiday Parties
We have the exact same project with a gingerbread theme, rather than a snowman theme. Make it even more fun by letting them eat gingerbread cookies while they create their gingerbread!
And of course, they get to name their gingerbread person! Get the free printables here!
Have time and patience for a winter-themed art project during your classroom holiday party?
You’ll love our Snowman Pointillism craft:
Related: 16 of the BEST Snowman Crafts
Related: Gingerbread Crafts and Activities
Winter-themed Holiday Games PERFECT for your Classroom Holiday Party:
Toss the Marshmallow
Each kiddo playing gets 6 large marshmallows and toss the marshmallows into a large hot cocoa mug. Remind them to use gentle tosses and you can keep score if you’d like or just let them toss and try to make it in. Rotate kids until everyone has had a turn. Let kids have an extra turn as time allows.
Make it a challenge: Have a team member hold the cup they’re trying to throw into, have them close their eyes when they throw, have them throw over their shoulder and team member tries to catch it in the cup, etc.
Simon says game but with a winter twist. Have them all stand and remind them of the rules. If “Snowman says ____,” they do it. But if you just tell them to jump without saying “Snowman Says jump,” they have to freeze for 30 seconds.
Some ideas to call out: hop, hop on one leg, jump, sit, stand, spin around, dance, freeze, be a snowman, be a robot, touch their arm, nose, head, toes, high five a classmate, yell “My teacher is the best,” pretend that you’re a snowman, walk like a penguin, roar like a polar bear, hug yourself, clap hands, blow a kiss, etc.
As you call it, make sure you randomly throw in directions without the “Snowman says.”
On 6 styrofoam cups, draw 2 coal eyes, a carrot nose, and a coal smile.
Stack the 6 snowman cups up into a pyramid (3 on the bottom, 2 in the middle, 1 on top). Have the kids stand back and roll or toss a ping ball to try to knock over the most number of snowmen.
Have the kids count the number they knock down and then rebuild the snowman stack for the next person in line.
You can also use these cups for an indoor snowball fight!
Blow the Snowball Races
Each student will need one straw and cotton balls. Students will blow a cotton ball across a desk to another student on the other side who will catch it in a cup. They can race each other or see how many they can catch in the cup in a short amount of time. Remind students to throw away their straw when they’re done. (Edit: No longer Covid-friendly).
Split your group into two teams and have each student put a ball or styrofoam”ice block” between their legs (between their knees and ankles) so they waddle like a penguin. Have them put on one oven mitt (so they have a penguin wing) and have them use a large cooking spoon to carry a whiffle ball or styrofoam ball across the room and turn around. Then have them waddle back to the start line and pass off the ball, the oven mitt, the “snowball,” and the spoon to the next kid in line.
Extra fun: ask their teacher if they’d like to join in the race. The kids think it’s hilarious to watch a teacher compete!
Save the Snowman
Set up a plastic cup and balance wooden dowel sticks or lollipop sticks across the top of the cup.
Place a snowman-decorated cup on top of the sticks. One by one, slowly and carefully remove a stick without toppling over the snowman. When the snowman falls, you can rebuild the game and play again.
Stack a Snowman
Give each child a stack of mini marshmallows. Remind them not to eat them! Have them try to build the tallest snowman they can without it toppling over. Have them spend the time trying new ways to balance the marshmallows to see who can make the tallest one.
Over Under Snowball Tic Tac Toe Race
Draw a giant Tic Tac Toe board on the whiteboard and split the class into two teams. Give each team a different color white erase marker and assign them either X or O. Remind them how to play tic tac toe (that sometimes they make a move to try to win and sometimes they have to make a move that prevents the other team from winning. Also in this game, one of their turns can be to erase one of the other team’s marks.
Each team will stand in a line with about a foot between them. Give the first person in each line a styrofoam snowball. When you say go, they will pass the snowball over their head. The next kid will pass the snowball under their legs to the kid behind them in line, then the next will pass over their head. This will continue until the last student gets the snowball.
When that happens. the last kid will race to the Tic Tac Toe board and mark their teams X or O wherever they want on the board. They then head to the front of the line and pass the snowball over under with their team. When the last student gets the snowball, they’ll run and add an X or O to the board, trying to help their team win/prevent the other team from winning.
When you run out of spaces on the board, remind them they can erase one of the other team’s marks. The game is over when one team gets 3 in a row OR it can be a “cat’s game” if you’re running out of time and everyone in the line has had a turn to be at the back of the line.
Snowman or Gingerbread Wrap
When you start the clock have teams wrap one kid in white crepe paper or toilet paper to build a snowman or brown crepe paper to build a gingerbread cookie.
When they’re done, they can tape on eyes, a nose, a smile, and buttons. When the timer goes off, have each gingerbread or snowman shown off at the front of the class. After you take pictures, make sure they recycle!
Give each child a straw and a stack of marshmallows. They will take the straw, touch it to a marshmallow and suck in until they move the marshmallow over a cup. Once the marshmallow is over the cup, they can stop sucking in and the marshmallow will drop into the cup. Remind them not to eat the marshmallows and throw away the straw when their time is up. (Edit: Definitely NOT Covid-Friendly, use with discretion)
Classroom Holiday Party Who Am I?
Tape a piece of paper to the back of every child’s back, near the neck of their shirt with one winter-themed word on each one.
They are going to go around the room asking their friends questions that will help them figure out what/who they are. Give them ideas by reminding them about the game 20 questions or HeadBandz: Am I a person? Am I a place? Am I a food? Am I an animal? Can you wear me?
They can ask anyone a yes/no question, but will also have to answer other people’s questions also. Once they figure out what/who they are, they can help by just answering questions. At the end of the time, ask if anyone knows what they are and then have them take off their sheets to check.
Some winter words to use: snowman, sled, mittens, icicle, snowboarding, hot cocoa, ice skates, scarf, snow boots, snowshoeing, tubing, etc.
Kind or Unkind Sort Game:
Sneak a little social-emotional learning into your winter party games with this Snowman Kind or Unkind Sort Game.
Kids can sort little snowmen with kind or unkind images on them to help them decide what is kind and what isn’t kind this winter. This is perfect for a quiet-down game or as a game for kids who need a less active game.
Or you can use this Hot Cocoa Kind or Unkind Sort:
Plan Extra Time Activities During your Classroom Holiday Party:
One of the hardest parts of hosting a party for a large group of kids is time management. Some things you think will take a few minutes can take forever and activities you assume will take a while will be done in minutes.
Always have a backup plan in your pocket you can pull out.
I usually bring a good winter-themed story to read like these:
And I have a few zero-prep games ready to go like these:
Snowman Freeze Dance
Bring in winter-themed music like Frosty the Snowman or Let it Snow or Jingle Bells and let the kids play freeze dance until the time runs out. Remind them to freeze like a snowman when the music stops.
Winter-themed Music Ideas:( non-religious/non-Christmas music)
- Jingle Bells (Raffi)
- Jingle Bells Dance Remix (Laurie Berkner)
- Candy Cane Jane (Laurie Berkner)
- Frosty the Snowman (Raffi)
- I Live Inside a Snowglobe (Laurie Berkner)
- Icicles (Laurie Berkner)
- Let it Snow (Pentatonix)
- Over the River and Through the Woods (The Chipmunks or Songtime Kids)
- Marshmallow World (Frank Sinatra)
- Little Jack Frost Get Lost (Bing Crosby)
- Do You Wanna Build a Snowman (Frozen Soundtrack)
- Skating (Vince Guaraldi Trio)
- Snow (Bing Crosby)
- Winter Wonderland (Laurie Berkner)
- Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms)
- Winter Weather (Fats Waller)
Classroom Holiday Party Winter Charades
Use any of the words from “Who Am I?” and have them act out the winter-themed words.
Winter Themed Classroom Holiday Party Favor Ideas:
Want to send home kids with a little gift/activity for winter break?
- winter-themed pencils
- winter-themed erasers
- Winter-themed squishy/fidget
- new pair of mittens
- And send them home with a Winter Themed Kindness Challenge:
More great winter-themed ideas that might help you plan your classroom holiday party:
Are you looking for more ideas or do you need more quiet activities for kids who need some downtime?
Do you want to build a snowman? This sweet invitation to craft a snowman from Fun With Mama will be a hit.
Teach kiddos how to fold a square white piece of paper into an origami Polar Bear from Red Ted Art.
Set up a coloring spot with these gorgeous and free winter-themed coloring pages from Kiddy Charts.
Help kids make Snowflake Crowns using doilies from Pink Stripey Socks.
Make snowflake ornaments out of puzzle pieces from A Dab of Glue Will Do (with the glitter, this is not low-mess, but if you cover the area well with a plastic table cloth, you can roll up the mess when you’re done).
With these fun games, crafts, and winter activities, the winter-themed classroom holiday party will be a success and you’ll be crowned room mom of the year.