Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and before we know it, Christmas will be here! Though they are amazing, the holidays sure are a lot of work. Not only are you decking the halls at home, but you are trying to bring some of that same magic into your classroom. And of course, all of this is happening at the time of the school year when you want nothing more than to survive the day and take a long nap. Let’s face it, the winter months are brutal! So, how can you bring some holly jolly into your math lessons without losing your sanity? I have the perfect easy-to-use Christmas activities for math to share with you!
Christmas Activities for math: Festive Decimals
During this chaotic time of year, I find it helpful to have some super engaging, low-prep Christmas math activities ready to go. These 4 Christmas math activities have been a life saver in the past and helped me keep my students engaged and learning right up to that winter break. These Christmas decimal activities are so much fun your students won’t realize just how much math they are doing. I’m sure you and your students will love them as much as my students and I do.
Christmas Activity #1: Build a Christmas Tree
This fun and interactive Christmas tree adding decimals activity is a fun way to review decimals in a real-world situation.
With a set budget, students are challenged to get everything they need to build their very own Christmas tree. They practice adding decimals as they decide what they are going to buy from the store to build their tree. I love watching their creativity in action as they decide just what kind of tree and decorations they want. I love to have my students draw a picture of their finished tree on the back and then write about it using descriptive writing strategies.
Some of the choices students will have include:
- Size of tree
- Color of tree
- Number and colors of ornaments
- What gifts to include under the tree
This engaging activity is so much fun for students because they are experiencing the real-world scenario of having a budget and making choices to stay within that budget.
This activity is also perfect for differentiation. Because my students are not all learning at the same pace, I am able to easily vary the activity based on skill levels. This activity is great for independent work or even small group work. It’s great to see students collaborating and discussing what objects they can afford to “buy” with the budget they have.
Christmas Activity #2: Build a Snowman
This build a snowman activity is the perfect way to get your students practicing adding and subtracting decimals, which tends to be a challenge.
Similarly to the build a Christmas tree activity, students must build their snowman on a budget.
However, this activity also allows for students to practice subtracting decimals by having them determine how much change they would get back after they made their purchases. I don’t know about you, but building a snowman is a lot more fun than a traditional worksheet of practice problems.
There are so many different options that the finished product produces some fun and unique snowmen. The students really love to see how each snowman turns out! Plus, they make great display pieces for the classroom, which can be hard to come by with math activities!
Christmas Activity #3: Build a Gingerbread house
If you are sensing a theme, you are right! These real-world store activities have become so popular and effective for my students. They actually beg me for more!
Because of this, I had to create a gingerbread house version too! While sticking to a budget, students must purchase the walls, roof, door, and candy accessories to build their gingerbread house.
Some possible choices for building the gingerbread house include:
- Roof style
- Window shape
Each of the objects comes at a price. I love asking students to work in small groups for this activity. It’s amazing to see my students participating in discussions about what decorations they can afford, what they might splurge on and what they don’t need. It’s a great way to connect some needs and wants discussions in with the math lesson.
Students will work on adding and subtracting decimals throughout the process of building their gingerbread house. They are doing math in such a fun way, they don’t even realize how many math problems they are doing. I guarantee that my students do more math, without complaining, on these activities than they would if I gave practice problems. More math practice, no complaining – that’s a win for sure!
Christmas Activity #4: Plan a Sweet Treat Party
The holidays are always filled with some amazing baked goods and a party or two. So, in this Christmas activity for math, students get to plan a sweet treat holiday party, on a budget of course.
Just like the other decimal activities, students are required to work within a budget, but now they also have the added parameter that they must be able to feed 10 guests with the sweet treats they purchase. This extra level of critical thinking is really important for our students. And it adds an important real-world twist to the entire activity.
I love how much practice this activity allows for as students decide on treats, keep track of their budget, and make sure they can feed their guests.
Turn this math activity into a real planning task by having students use this activity to plan the class party. I like to divide the class into small groups and have each choose a theme and plan the class party. When they are done, they present their party idea to the class and we vote on the party we would like to have. The students absolutely love being part of the planning for the real party!
Christmas Activities for math made easy
These are some of my favorite Christmas math activities for teaching decimals. They are also favorites for my students every year.
The activities in the print and go Christmas Adding and Subtracting Decimals Bundle are sure to be a hit in your classroom this winter. They allow students to practice adding and subtracting decimals in a fun and engaging way that allows them to get in some real-world experience with budgeting.
There are so many ways to differentiate each activity so all of your students will be able to participate no matter their skill level. Be sure to grab the Adding and Subtracting Decimals Bundle and keep the holiday cheer rolling all season long!
P.S. I love taking these activities to the next level by setting the mood in my room! Play some Christmas tunes in the background, get a crackling fire projected on your board, and watch your students get to work! They will love the atmosphere and these review activities will keep them engaged and learning!
Save these Christmas Math Activities
Love these Christmas math activities? Save them to your favorite Pinterest math board and be sure to follow me for more upper elementary teaching ideas!