December Themes and Activities for the Classroom

December activities and lesson planning ideas.

Let’s talk December activity ideas! Just look at the below to find historical dates, holidays, and theme ideas. December is always an exciting month with lots of anticipation for the holidays.

What is December’s Flower? Narcissus-Stands for Self-Love
What is December’s Birthstone? Turquoise
What is December’s Astrological Sign?
Sagittarius, November 22-December 21
Capricorn, December 22-January 19


  • Hi Neighbor Month
  • Read a New Book Month
  • Universal Human Rights Month
  • Write a Friend Month
  • World Aids Month
  • National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month

Few months have as many multicultural Holiday Celebrations as December!

  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian) ~ December 6
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican) ~December 12
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish) ~December 13
  • Hanukkah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 27Kislev and lasts for eight days.
  • Christmas Day  (Christian) December 25
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish) December 26
  • Kwanzaa (African American) December 26 to January 1
  • Omisoka (Japanese) December 31

December themes by THE WEEKS!

Week One Week Two Week Three Lipstick Week (See page bottom) Week Four
Hand Washing Awareness Week
Cookie Cutter Week
Deaf Heritage Week
You’re doing a Good Job Week
Coats for Kids Days (Many Communities have an annual coats & toys for kids drive; coats are distributed about the 10th of the month–but any time is a good time!)
International Language Week (See Ideas page bottom) Las Posadas (Spanish for the Inns) ~ a nine day celebration that begins December 16 and ends December 24; the 24th is called Noche Buena (“Holy Night”). It is a yearly tradition for many Christian Latin Americans symbolizing the trials which they believe Mary and Joseph endured before finding a place to stay and where Jesus could be born. Kwanzaa: December 26 to January 1
Kwanzaa means ‘first fruits of the harvest’; it is a non-religious celebration in which African Americans celebrate their rich heritage. Each of Kwanza’s seven days represents a different principal:


1. UMOJAUnity
We help each other to build a strong community.
2. KUJICHAGULIASelf-determination
    We decide who we are and who we will be.
3. UJIMACollective work and responsibility
    We help each other, working together to make a better life.
4UJAMMACooperative economics
    We support African-American businesses.
    We have reason to live. We want to make our people great.
6. KUUMBACreativity
    We think of new and different things to do.
7. IMANIFaith
    We believe in all African people, our dreams, and our future.

December Activity Calendar by days

December 1

  • World Aids Day; Rosa Park’s Day (Refused to give up bus seat-1955)
  • Eat a Red Apple Day (How simple is that )
  • National Pie Day (See ideas below)
  • Brittany Spears Birthday – 1982

December 2

  • National Fritters Day

December 3

  • National Roof over Your Head Day
  • International Day of Disabled Person
  • World’s first heart transplant (1967) by Dr. Christian Barnard

December 4

December 5

  • Walt Disney’s Birthday

December 6

  • Everglades National Park dedicated-1947
  • Mitten Tree Day (Can you do this for a Community Service?)
  • St. Nicholas Day
  • Special Kids Day

December 7

  • National Cotton Candy Day
  • Pearl Harbor Day

December 8

  • First Christmas card produced (Put out supplies and make cards!)
  • National Brownie Day (the dessert)

December 9 

  • Home-made Gift Day
  • Ball bearing roller skates patented – 1884
  • First Christmas Seals issued 1907

December 10

  • Emily Dickenson’s Birthday (1835)
  • Human Rights Day
  • First Nobel Peace Prize awarded
  • Grand Ole Opry-first radio broadcast from Nashville in 1927

December 11 

  • Apollo 17 lands on moon  1972
  • Pilgrim’s land on Plymouth Rock

December 12 

  • Poinsettia Day: First plant brought from Mexico
  • Bonza Bottler Day (See below)
  • Gingerbread House Day (See Christmas Crafts )

December 13

  • St. Lucia Day in Sweden
  • National Cocoa Day (See Cocoa Category) and Ice-Cream Day (below)
  • Violin Day
  • First Susan B. Anthony Dollar (1978)

December 14

  • NASCAR founded

December 15

  • Edison patented the first phonograph in 1877
  • Underdog Day

December 16

  • Boston Tea Party
  • Los Posadas
  • National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
  • Ludwig Von Beethoven birthday 1770

December 17

  • National Maple Syrup Day (See page bottom)

December 18 

December 19

  • Oatmeal Muffin Day

December 20

December 21

  • Humbug Day; Look at the Bright Side Day;
  • Don’t Be a Scrooge Day; National Flashlight Day; First Crossword puzzle in newspaper
  • First Day of Winter (See below)

December 22

  • First Christmas lights for sale -1882

December 23 

  • Roots Day

December 24 

  • National Eggnog Day
  • Last Minute Shoppers Day

December 25

December 26 

  • Kwanzaa begins
  • Boxing Day – Observed the same date each year in:
  • UK, Canada, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina,
  • West Virginia Boxing Day
  • National Whiners Day

December 27 

  • Howdy Doody premier on NBC 1947 to 1960
  • Holocaust Remembrance Day

December 28 

  • Card Playing Day (Have a card playing marathon)
  • National Chocolate Day

December 30

  • Rudyard Kipling (novelist) born 1860

December 31

  • Make up Your Mind Day
  • New Year’s Eve



  • Split the students into two different groups; one is apple pie and the other group is pumpkin pie.
  • Have one student be the pie eater, who will be standing on the center line. The pie eater can only move from side to side on the center line.
  • All the students say to the pie eater, “Pie eater, pie eater are you hungry?” The pie eater responds with a ‘yes or no’ answer.
  • If the answer is no, the pies (students) ask again.
  • If the answer is yes, then the pies ask again, “What kind of pie would you like?”
  • The pie eater then says apple or pumpkin and that pie tries to make it to the other side.
  • If the pie is tagged, then they become a pie eater.

Play a game of ‘Apple, Apple, PIE!’ It’s played just like ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ – but change the words


✓ 18 Oatmeal cookies
✓ 1 can Apple pie filling
✓ Large square or rectangular microwave container.


  1. Have children crumble 9 cookies in the bottom of dish.
  2. Open and pour the can of pie filling; spread evenly.
  3. Crumble the other 9 cookies on top.
  4. Cover the top lightly with Saran wrap type product and put it in microwave for 5 minutes on high.
  5. Allow to cool before serving.

Easy Apple Turnovers

✓ 1 can apple pie filling and Tin of refrigerated biscuits (American style-not cookies)
✓ 1 tablespoon cinnamon
✓ 4 tablespoons sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400′.
  2. Flatten each biscuit into a 6″ round.  Place 2 heaping tablespoons of pie filling on each biscuit.
  3. Moisten edges of dough with water.  Fold over and press edges firmly with a fork to seal.
  4. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  5. Mix cinnamon and sugar and then sprinkle over top of biscuits. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Third – First Heart Transplant Performed


Celebrate a “healthy” heart with fun, aerobic activities that get children up and moving. You may want to set up several skill stations; this is an idea adapted from Celebration Games: Physical Activities for Every Month (2006 Human Kinetics).


  • STEP AEROBICS STATION: Set up four or five-step aerobic steppers and music.
  • HEALTHY HEART EXERCISES: Demonstrate several aerobic exercises and have children perform three aerobic exercises of their choice at this station (ie. jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging in place)
  • CHOLESTEROL: Pictures of both high and low cholesterol foods are taped down. Children throw beanbags underhand from a throw line at low cholesterol foods.
  • BLOOD PRESSURE: Make a sign that says “normal blood pressure 120/80” and tape down pictures of things that can raise blood pressure such as smoking, unhealthy foods, lack of exercise and stress. Children THROW BEANBAGS UNDERHAND from a throw line at the things that will raise blood pressure. (You can put point values on targets and total points)
  • A HEALTHY BUT YUMMY SNACK TABLE at the culmination of activity.
  • Divide the children into groups and disperse them evenly among the stations. Place them in numerical order and have them keep this order for all stations. Set the number of tries for each turn and announce when it is time to rotate to the next station. Leave ample space between stations and advise children not to stand in the throwing areas. Adapted and expanded upon from School-age Note of the Day- 2/5/07

Along the same lines~ HEARTBEATS

Can you find or borrow one or two good quality stethoscopes?
Show children how to use the stethoscopes to listen to their heartbeat. Show them how to tap out the rhythm of their heart: lub-dub-lub-dub.

If young – Ask children if they can think of any way to change how fast their hearts are beating.
For all kids – Have them jog in place for several minutes, then have them recheck the rhythm beats of their hearts.

Extended Activity:
Are any of your parents or friends a nurse or doctor? Ask him/her to visit your group and bring in a stethoscope. Have the visitor talk to the kids about keeping their hearts strong and healthy. (With exercise, good food and sleep!)

Don’t forget ‘Bonza Bottler Day’ on December 12!
It’s a day just to have a reason to celebrate. So celebrate!!! This happens each month when the day and date are the same number! Example: November 11, December 12, January 1, etc.


  1. Serving ice-cream of any kind is fun~ in a cone, dish, or sundae bar! Also, consider the below.
  2. ICE-CREAM EATING:No Hands Used!
  3. Give each child a scoop or two of ice-cream in a bowl. Have them sit comfortably at a table
  4. The fun is that they keep their hands behind their backs and eat the ice-cream with only their mouths! It’s NOT a speed eating contest–Just silly fun!
  6. Do this at a family party and have Dad’s participate
  7. I SCREAM FOR ICE-CREAM Pair this up with an ICE-CREAM SOCIAL Teach the kids: “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Divide the group into teams (number of teams depends on number of youth) WHICH TEAM CAN SAY IT THE LOUDEST?  Have a third party judge.

DECEMBER 17 IS NATIONAL MAPLE SYRUP DAY! If you have snow~ MAKE SOME MAPLE SYRUP SNOW CANDY…(See page bottom) (No snow? Make pancakes!)


CHALLENGE YOUR KIDS TO CELEBRATE WHAT WINTER MEANS TO THEM by starting their own tradition on the first day of winter.  Have them invite family and friends, to participate in the new tradition. Start some for your home, classroom, or program!




For example:

  • Arabic: Marhabah (mar-ha-bah)
  • French: Bonjour (bone-joor)
  • Hebrew: Shalom (shah-lome)
  • Italian: Buon giorno (bone-zhee-or-no)
  • Mandarin Chinese: Nea how (nee-how)
  • Russian: Priviet (pri-vee-et)
  • Spanish: Hola (oh-la)
  • Swahili: Jambo (zham-boh)


Canada – Merry Christmas
USA – Merry Christmas
China – Sheng Dan Kuai Le
France – Joyeux Noel
Finland – Hauskaa Joulua
Denmark – Glaedelig Jul
Spain – Feliz Navidad
Mexico – Feliz Navidad
Sweden – God Jul
Russia – S Rozhdestvom Kristovym
Portugal – Boas Festas
Japan – Meri Kurisumasu
Italy – Buon Natale
Greece – Kala Christougenna
Belgium – Vrolijke Kerstmis
Poland – Wesolych Swiat
Netherlands – Zalig Derstfeest
Germany – Frohliche Weihnachen



✓ Favored drink mix
✓ 1 cup vegetable shortening
✓ Food coloring
✓ Small container such as a film container


  1. Mix one packet of drink mix with shortening.
  2. Add in a few drops of food coloring that matches the flavor. ie: yellow for lemon.
  3. Pack in small containers, such as a film container, and you have a wonderful tasting and smelling lip gloss. Of course, the lip gloss is edible should some accidentally be licked off.


If you have snow. MAKE MAPLE SNOW CANDY  (If not-Make Pancakes and top with maple syrup!)

#1 Method Ingredients:
2 cups of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup water.
Bring water with other ingredients to a rolling boil.(Boil for about 10 minutes)

Have children make a smooth place in clean snow – pour the snow candy on it. You can pour in any desired design or pictures. Don’t touch until it has cooled.

IF THE SNOW ON THE GROUND BOTHERS YOU – scoop up some clean snow and place it in a bowl or dish – you can also take the snow inside and make your candy there!

If you use real Maple Syrup and boil it the same way, you get an all-natural treat that doesn’t require any measuring or mixing of ingredients. Fans of Laura Ingall Wilder may remember the author’s vivid descriptions of this candy: It is warm, buttery in flavor, gooey, and delicious when eaten outside while making a snow fort with your daddy.

This idea is also in Winter Inside Fun and Fall/Winter Snack Categories!


A collection of December activity ideas for kids.