7 Must-Have Counseling Resources for the Holiday Season

The joke is doing the rounds on social media, and for good reason. "Going to school between Thanksgiving and Christmas break feels like the last lap in Mario Kart where the music is all fast and gets really stressful!"

But seriously, even though it can be stressful I do love the magic of this time of year, especially through the eyes of kids!

Now's when I pull out my special seasonal resources that I know the kiddos will love to use. Here are my top 10 Winter/Christmas themed counseling resources that you could use as part of your program.

1. Countdown to Winter Break

Do you love advent calendars? Do you have students randomly drop in your office all day? Do you find ways to build rapport with such kids? Here is your winter-themed solution! Covering 20 different elementary school counseling topics, this fun, winter-themed activity pack is an interactive calendar that works like a Christmas advent calendar but rather than anticipating Christmas, students are counting down the days to Winter Break!

When an individual student or small group comes into your office, have them open a day on the calendar to see which fun SEL activity they get to do. This countdown includes all of the winter-themed school counseling games and activities your program could need and the topics include everything from anger management, emotional regulation, and conflict resolution to empathy, bullying prevention, stress management, and self-esteem.

And of course they're winter-themed like a snowman anger management board game, a gingerbread man growth mindset sorting activity, a penguin social skills story and dice game, a hot cocoa guided meditation, and a snowflake social filter sorting activity, among plenty of others. Sounds festive, right?

For more details on how to use a Countdown to Winter Break Calendar check out this blog post.

2. s-Elf Control Christmas Games

Are you seeing students individually or in groups for help with self-control? This Christmas Elf themed game helps students practice self-control and learn self-control coping skills. Students will identify times when they feel strong emotions and how to use self-control coping skills in everyday situations. The kids can play a matching game to learn coping strategies or a board game to identify times they were out of control. Plus there is a Google Slides digital version of the board game, in case you prefer to play on an iPad.

3. Snowman Goal Setting Flip Book

The end of the year is the perfect time to get your kiddos to reflect on their progress and to set goals for the upcoming year. This resource helps students set academic, behavior, and friendship goals for the new year in a creative manner. This fun and easy to assemble activity will get students thinking about the progress they want to make in the new year and to plan accordingly.

4. Christmas Coping Strategies

Do you prefer paperless counseling activities? Are you still counseling students virtually? This editable seasonal resource helps kiddos learn easy, applicable strategies to use when they are feeling strong emotions. The kids simply select preferred coping strategies by dragging and dropping gifts under a Christmas Tree. You can use this with individuals, small groups, and even to supplement a whole class lesson.

It also includes a Boom Cards version with audio on every slide to assist with reading, especially for your EAL/young learners.

5. Dress an Elf with I-Statements Activity

It's that time of the year when you might notice friendship issues crop up, and therefore, it is a good time to teach conflict resolution strategies explicitly. This Christmas themed resource teaches students how to use I-Statements. Students have to cut and "dress" the elves with I-statements. It's a fun, tangible way for students to practice the sentence structure. There's also a digital activity if you prefer to go paperless.

6. Christmas Boom Cards

My love for Boom Cards is no secret! This is perhaps why I got around to adding a festive touch to them. While the Christmas sElf-Control Boom Cards help students learn the importance of self-control,  the Dress an Elf with I-Statements Boom Card Activity teaches students conflict resolution strategies and how to use I-Statements. These resources are perfect to use in a virtual school counseling individual or group setting.

Check out this blog post for more ways on how to use Boom Cards in school counseling.

7. Anger Management Chill Zone Games

 What better time to teach students to “cool down” than when the temperature outside is dipping! The games in this pack are designed to help students identify calm down strategies for when they feel angry. Students will learn 7 calm down strategies and how to implement them. And the bonus? They’re all winter-themed games. You have a scoot game, a dice game, a matching game, an “I Have, Who Has” game, and a fun board game! This would work well for an anger management or self-regulation group as well as with individual students with these specific needs for intervention.

Looking for low-prep winter/Christmas themed resources that include most of the ones mentioned here? You’ll love this Christmas Bundle that is my go-to each year. Do you have a favorite activity or game you use in your individual and small groups at this time of the year? I would love to know in the comments! Happy Holidays!

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