10 Holiday Themed Activities for Spanish Class
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Your classroom walls are filling up with student artwork and holiday break is right around the corner. Everything is covered in glitter, lights and suddenly the winter months don't seem quite so dark. The month leading up to holiday break can be wonderful and tough time for teachers and students because excitement is high and energy levels are starting to run out. Here are some holiday themed ideas you can use these last weeks of December to teach Spanish to kids in a fun and attention grabbing way.
1. Movement cards
We’ve said many times and we’ll say it again, one of the best parts about being a foreign language teacher is the ability to combine teaching Spanish to kids with developing other skills. Movement cards are an incredible way to practice listening, cater to different learning styles in the same activity (they’re visual, kinesthetic and auditory!), and in many cases to help students become aware of their own bodies through movement. There are many TPR activities and movement cards that are focused on action verbs and animal movements, but these Christmas themed movement cards are perfect for this time of year!
For for the younger learners trying this easy paper snowflake that combines learning Spanish with fine motor skills.
Have your students already done too many snowflakes? For older students (K-5) you could try this ariel view of a snowman art project combining a winter themed activity with clothing and body parts!
3. Songs and video comic
We have some great teaching resources for kids that are winter themed and combine vocabulary with simple sentence structures and stories. Play this winter song in Spanish before or during an art activity or use it to introduce winter vocabulary. Go on a winter adventure with Timbo and his friends to learn about winter clothing and what goes where in this video comic.
Follow up the video comic with our interactive Spanish worksheets for kids that practice vocabulary, sequencing and finish with creating a list of what to take on a trip.
4. Advent calendars
What better way to get excited for Christmas and the holidays than by counting down? You can create an advent calendar to use in class or help your students create one to take home and use with their parents and siblings. Keep the language simple and level-appropriate. Check out Spanish Playground’s adapted advent calendar here!
5. Collaborative class project: A holiday tree!
Collaborative projects are amazing because they provide an opportunity to mix language, in this case Spanish, with life skills such as teamwork, collaboration, and working toward a communal goal. This project is great for young learners because it combines a communal goal (making a class holiday tree) with individual work time. To make the class tree you will need green paper, pencils, scissors, glue and anything you want to use to decorate it with. Have each student trace their hands and cut them out. They don’t need to put their names on the tree, although it’s interesting to see who does anyway, because it’s a class project, not an individual one. The handprints will then be glued onto a giant sheet of paper or cardboard in the form of a tree. You can then create decorations for the tree using whatever vocabulary you’d like. We had just learned shapes so we colored and cut different shapes that we stuck on the tree. We then reviewed the shapes by having one student come to the front of the classroom and another student asking them to find a specific shape.
6. Make wishes
Discover the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight, a tradition that started in Spain, but has spread to many Latin American countries. The tradition consists of eating twelve grapes right before midnight and making a wish for each one that you eat. Not only is it something culturally different, but the simple language structure required to make wishes allows for your students to create their own wishes for themselves, their family and the world. Explore the tradition in class with a video and expand on the activity with this printable coloring page
7. Compare and contrast holiday traditions
This could be done between the place where you’re teaching and any Spanish speaking culture or country that you’re familiar with or think that your students would be interested in. The idea of the lesson is to introduce new information about that Spanish speaking country and compare it to what the students are familiar with. You can present the information in a visual way (with flashcards/images/slides) and the students will listen in Spanish. It’s best to work through the traditions the learners are familiar with first before presenting the new information. When you present the information for the other culture, make sure to highlight the differences between the traditions where you teach and the traditions of the Spanish speaking country. Julie, from the Mundo de Pepito has a wonderful video, where she compares and contrasts the different elements of Christmas and El Día de Los Reyes Magos ALL in Spanish. The class is visual, provides opportunities for the class to actively participate by answering her sí/no questions and the information can be used later in graphic organizers to help students classify the new information they’ve received.
Explore the differences between Christmas and Spain with this bilingual holiday book either by reading it in your class or checking out this video version of it being read in both Spanish and English!
8. Write a letter to the Three Kings or to Papa Noel
Practice writing with simple sentence structures and using toy vocabulary by writing the words and drawing pictures.
Find a mix of letter templates here.
9. Discover the Christmas Lottery in Spain
The Christmas lottery is something magical in Spain. They start selling tickets LONG before the holiday season and every year they come out with a new lottery commercial that is a mix between a short film and an advertisement. Usually the commercials are heartwarming and always they show you how amazing it would be to win the lottery! Even if you don't have time to build a lesson plan around the lottery, it's fun to watch the commercial from the different years. Our favorite is the commercial from 2015.
Find a full resource pack for teaching about the Christmas lottery here.
10. Teach about Hanukkah in Spanish class with videos, songs, and a video about the history of the dreidel
Find a full lesson plan with activities here!
We'd love to hear how you celebrate the holidays in your Spanish classroom either by commenting below in the comments section or on our Facebook page. We hope that the days leading up to the holiday break are merry and bright and happy everything to everyone!