10 Activities and Projects for Winter

December 19, 2017

Contributed by Shannon McClintock Miller


The holidays and winter months are one of my favorite times of the year. I love celebrating, spending time with my family and friends, and cherishing all of the traditions that we have made over the years.



A big part of our holiday growing up was singing carols and wintery songs. During the holidays, my sister Heather and I would get out the holiday albums and sing along to people like John Denver and Bing Crosby. I would play the piano as Heather sang. I even remember Heather and I singing as we made snowmen and snow forts behind our house. It was always so much fun!  


Now with my family, the second holiday songs begin to play on the radio, we have it on in the car and at home all season long. As we get ready for special family events, it is our tradition to listen to music, singing and dancing along.


With the winter holidays here, it is also the perfect time for us, as librarians and teachers, to find and bring together wonderful books, resources, songs, and activities to inspire students. We can pull in seasonal and holiday themes that will keep keep our students engaged and creating during this special, busy, and memorable time of the year.


Two of my favorite resources to use when planning for the winter season are Cantata Learning and PebbleGo. These two products work perfectly together by supporting important math, science, social studies, science, reading, and language arts standards while tying in so nicely across the curriculum with art, music, PE, library, and more.  


Today, I want to share 10 winter holiday activities and projects, using Cantata Learning and PebbleGo, that you can bring to your library and classroom now and throughout the winter months.  



1. Learning about and sharing the different ways our holidays are celebrated is so important! Use the new Holidays in Rhythm and Rhyme series to introduce students to Christmas, Diwali, and Hanukkah alike through these beautiful stories, songs, and illustrations.


2. One of the most special and unique things about Cantata Learning is that each title has a song that goes with it. It is so much fun for students to sing along as they learn about the holidays. It is also an effective way to get those holidays wiggles worked outStudents will love to sing, dance, and move along to the songs.


You can bring instruments into the mix by setting up a holiday music maker station with simple materials. You will find lots of ideas for musical instruments to make on this Pinterest Board. These will be fun for them to use and to bring home to share with their families too.  



It would be helpful to have them glue a QR code onto their instrument that would take them right to the music. Also, you can download the instrumental version of each song from the Cantata Learning site. The students can use this as they create their own version of the song.


3. Within the back of each book, there are Guided Reading Activities that will promote connections, learning, and creating at school and at home too. Check them out!


4. Cantata Learning provides all series lesson plans for free on their site. You can download the Holidays in Rhythm and Rhyme lesson plan, which will give you all the steps and materials that you need when using the books.


One of my favorite parts of the lesson plans are the extensions. This series includes art, science and nutrition, and technology extensions, among others.


5. As you use the books, guided reading activities, and lesson plans, PebbleGo Social Studies is the perfect place for students to go as they continue researching the holidays. All three of these holidays are included, along with lots of other holidays.



You can print off the activity sheets included with each PebbleGo article and turn your students into little researchers. These are easy to include in a learning center, classroom activity, or something to send home over the holiday break.  


6. Within each of these books, traditions are shared such as food, art, and activities. This is a great opportunity for the librarian, teacher, and related classes such as music, art, and physical education to collaborate on wonderful activities and projects.


A recipe book or family traditions album could be created using Buncee and the different backgrounds, stickers, and animations available.  


Two years ago, over 250 schools around the world came together to create the Winter Around the World, Global Story 2015 project.We used Buncee, Flipsnack, Tellagami, Google Slides, and more to create this amazing winter story with friends around the world.



7. Cantata Learning has another new series perfect for celebrating the winter season called Winter Math. Throughout this series, students will practice math skills with wintery and holiday objects such as snowflakes, decorated trees, menorahs, snowmen, marshmallows, and more.


A simple station or class activity could be to have students create their own snowflakes.  There are lots of ways they can create snowflakes from paper as well as online with digital tools.



8. As they create snowflakes, have them go to PebbleGo Science to learn more about winter, including an entire section on Snowflakes and Winter Weather.     


9. Both of these series would be perfect to include in a winter concert or play. Students could even make up their own play with the books and lyrics.  


10. And of course, don’t forget about sending home links to the Cantata Learning eBooks and to PebbleGo over the holidays. These are wonderful resources to provide for students and their families so that learning, creating, and engagement can continue throughout the holiday break.


With PebbleGo being online and all of the Cantata Learning titles in print and eBook format, this is possible.  And of course, they can access all of the music from the Cantata Learning site at any time.



To make it super easy for you, I put together this Winter Symbaloo filled with the Cantata Learning titles I shared, along with PebbleGo, snowflake creators, crafts, the Pinterest board, Buncee, Storyboard, and other digital tools to inspire creativity throughout the season. Please feel free to share this with your students and families too!


And if you have any winter holiday activities and resources you use in your library and classroom, please share them with me at @shannonmmiller.  I would love to add them to this Symbaloo.  


I hope all of you have a beautiful holiday season.