First Grade Back-to-School Activities for After the Christmas Break

Christmas break is often more than a week off from school for students.
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The end of winter break and the return of school can be a mixed bag of emotions for both kids and teachers. To help ease the transition for first graders, a daily plan of fun and educational activities will keep them interested and eager to learn. This is also a time to explore the season and teach students about some of the holidays and special events in January.

1 Holiday Recap

A holiday recap is an enjoyable activity to do with kids immediately after Christmas break. Kids will be eager to talk about what they did over their vacation, and this activity allows them this opportunity while also teaching writing and communication skills. Provide students with paper, crayons or markers. Make a list on the board of questions that students will answer, such as what special outings they went on over break, what presents they gave and received, and what family traditions they have. For first graders, aim for three questions, and go over each with the class. Have students write a response to each question, then select one answer to represent visually with their crayons or markers. Afterward, have students talk about their pictures.

2 New Year’s Activities

With the recent passage of the New Year, this is an ideal time to teach first graders about the holiday, its traditions and how people celebrate it. Try a classroom New Year’s party, complete with a countdown, party hats and noisemakers. After the excitement wears down, discuss the holiday and describe the different ways people celebrate it around the world. Use a calendar to show kids about the passage of time, and talk about what a resolution is. As an activity, have students write their own resolutions on a snowflake or snowman cutout, then share them as a class. Display the resolutions on a winter bulletin board.

3 Winter-Themed Activities

There are lots of winter-themed activities to do with students after Christmas break that will teach them about the season and sharpen their skills in core subjects. Snowman’s Adventure focuses on reading and writing skills, as students write fictional pieces about a day in the life of a snowman. Use writing prompts like “My snowman went to __” or “He got_ ____” to help students structure their story. Work on math facts by teaching students about geometric shapes and how to piece them together to make objects. For example, a snowman is made of circles for the body, a triangle for the nose, and rectangles for a top hat. Have students cut out shapes from construction paper to make snowmen and other winter-themed objects.

4 100th Day of School

Many elementary schools celebrate the 100th day of school, which typically happens toward the end of January. After Christmas break, you can start a countdown to the 100th day and use a variety of activities to help students develop their counting skills. Challenge students to represent the number 100 in different ways using everyday objects, such as buttons, paperclips or small candies. Explore patterns with a worksheet featuring 10 rows and 10 columns, divided into 100 boxes. Have students write their names continuously, with one letter in each box. Afterward, direct students to color each letter a different color to discover the resulting pattern.

Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.