Celebrate Winter at The Holiday Zone!

Winter Games and Activities



Bedtime Bear

As cold weather approaches, bears find warm caves and bed down for a long winter's nap. Once students understand this concept, they can have all sorts of fun by helping their teddy bears find good places to hibernate.

Variation One (Beginner)

  • Divide students into two teams. Blindfold one child from each team long enough to hide a teddy bear somewhere in the classroom. Once the bear is securely tucked away, remove the blindfold and let the students hunt for the bear. Teammates may help their "bear hunter" by offering simple directions such as "Go right," "Go left, "Look up," etc. Give a point to whichever team finds the bear first. (Consider subtracting points if students speak in a language other than English!)

Variation Two (Beginner)

  • Have one student sit at the front of the class with his or her eyes closed and a small teddy bear under his or her chair. Choose another student to "steal" the teddy bear. Once the bear is well-hidden, have the entire class chant "Mama Bear (or Papa Bear), Mama Bear, where's your baby? Somebody stole him, I don't mean maybe! Mama Bear or Papa Bear must then try to guess who has baby bear. ("Joo-ha, do you have my baby?" "No, I do not." "Min-kyung, do you have my baby?" "Yes, I do.") To make the game more challenging, limit the number of guesses. Give one point for each grammatically correct question or response and two points for finding the teddy bear.

Variation Three (Intermediate)

  • Hide the bear in full view of the class. Go around the room asking students yes/no questions using familiar vocabulary. For instance, "Is the bear on something?" "Is it under something?" "Is it inside something?" etc. Give a point to each student who answer correctly. As the game progresses, make the questions more challenging -- "Is the bear on my desk?" "Is the bear on Gyung-hee's desk?" "Is the bear beside the bookcase?" "Is the bear on top of the book case?" At the end of the game, offer a small prize to the student (or students) who earn the most points.

Variation Four (Advanced) 

  • Ask each child to bring a teddy bear (or another stuffed animal) to class. Make a list of adjectives that could describe a good place to hibernate (warm, dry, soft, spacious, cozy, etc.). As a class, vote on the top three or four characteristics. Next, encourage each student to think of an ideal spot where his or her bear could spend the winter and write the name of that spot on a piece of paper. Answers may (and hopefully will) vary. Each answer, however, should conform to the qualities decided upon by the class. Quickly circle the classroom and review the answers. After ensuring that each student's response is appropriate, call one student at a time to the front of the class. Other students must quesitons to try to guess where this student's bear is hybernating. For instance, "Is it indoors?" "Is it near your home?" etc. Offer a small prize (piece of candy, sticker, etc.) to the student who guesses the correct answer. If no one can guess the correct answer, the prize goes to the student who thought of a unique place to hibernate.

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Birds of a Feather

Idioms might well be one of the most challenging aspects of any language. But the English idiom "Birds of a feather flock together" is easy enough to understand when acted out. Introduce the phrase by calling students who share a common trait to the front of the class. You may call students all students wearing mittens (vs. gloves), students wearing boots, students wearing jackets (vs. coats), etc. But don't let the students know WHY you have selected them. Simply call them by name, one at a time. Make them figure out what trait they have in common. Go through the group, asking each student what characteristic he or she thinks he or she shares with the rest of the group. The first student to guess correctly gets to pick the next trait and summon the next group of students to the front of the room.

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Jack Frost

(A winterized version of freeze tag, this game requires large open spaces.)

On a clear, but cold day, bundle up and go outdoors. Select one or two students (depending on class size) to be Old Jack Frost. Next, establish two opposing boundaries, and divide students into two teams. Teams make their "homes" on the far side of their respective boundaries. But they don't get to stay in by the fire all day. They must run across to the neighbor's house (crossing the opposing boundry line), fetch a pair of mittens (or some other winter object) and return to their home without succumbing to Old Jack Frost. Students tagged by Frost are frozen in place and may not move until one of their teammates frees them. The first team to get all its members safely back home wins.

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Mitten Matchups

Click here for mitten pattern.
Use the mitten pattern provided to create a winter matching game. Adapt game to students' ability levels. Suggestions include the following:

  • Uppercase-lowercase letter matching: Copy 26 pairs of mittens onto cardstock or heavy construction paper. On each left mitten, print one uppercase letter. On each right mitten, print one lowercase letter.

  • Consonant-initial sound matching: Copy 21 pairs of mittens onto cardstock or heavy construction paper. On each left mitten, print one consonant. One each right mitten, paste or sketch a picture beginning with a corresponding consonant sound. (For example, /b/ and a picture of a ball; /c/ and a picture of a cat; etc.)

  • Consonant-final sound matching: Prepare as above, except paste or sketch pictures ending with a corresponding consonant sound. (For example, /b/ and picture of a crib; /d/ and splotch of the color red.)

  • Picture-word matching: On each left mitten, print a word. On each right mitten, paste a corresponding picture.

  • Rhyming words matching: On each pair of mittens, print two words that rhyme. For instance, "duck" on the left mitten and "truck" on the right.

  • Synonym matching: On each pair of mittens, print two words with similar meanings. For example, "happy" on the left mitten and "glad" on the right.

  • Antonym matching: On each pair of mittens, print two words with opposite meanings. For example, "big" on the left mitten and "small" on the right.

  • Subject-verb matching: On each left mitten, print a subject. On each right mitten, print a corresponding verb. If the subject was singular, the verb must be singular. If the subject was plural, the verb must be as well. Consider creating two similar pairs, such as both "dog" and "runs" AND "dogs" and "run." After matching the pairs, students might be asked to sketch the subject/verb combination.

  • Word translations: On each left mitten, print a word in students' native language. On each right mitten, print an equivalent word in the target language. For example, "uno" and "one."

  • Sentence translations: On each left mitten, print a sentence in students' native language. On each right mitten, print an equivalent sentence in the target language.

Laminate mittens for longer life if desired. Place all mittens face down on a playing surface. Children may flip over two mittens at a time. If the mittens form a matching pair, the child should keep the pair. If mittens do not match, the child should turn them back over. The child who collects the most pairs of mittens wins.

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Pass the Ice

(A winter version of "Hot Potato")

Arrange mitten-clad students in a circle. Give one student a piece of ice. When the music starts, students must begin passing the ice around the circle. When the music stops, whoever is left holding the ice is out. Play until only one student remains.

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Snowball Toss

Divide students into teams of four or five students. Give each team a paper "snowball." (Crumpled newsprint works well.) Line up one player from each team at the front of the class, then tell them players to toss their snowballs to a certain location. (i.e. "Toss the snowballs onto the table." "Toss the snowballs behind my desk." "Toss the snowballs over So-ree's head," etc.) Give a point to the team of each player who succeeds in tossing the snowball to the correct location.

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Printable Puzzles

Winter Wonderland Word Search (in Microsoft Word format)

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