My Go-To Holiday Activities to Use Across All Tiers of School Counseling

The final lap after Thanksgiving and before Winter Break is crazy, to say the very least. And yet, the festive season comes with a charm of its own. Instrumental carols are slowly replacing ocean sounds as calming music during circle time. Teachers are probably all excited about playing Secret Santa, and the kids won't stop talking about where they're headed for the holidays. This makes it the perfect time to bring out some seasonal resources to use with the students you see.

Here are my favorite Winter/Christmas themed counseling resources with details on how to use them in your program.

1. Snowman Goal Setting Flip Book

Do you spend the last week of the year getting your students to reflect on their progress and set/modify their goals for the upcoming year? This snowman themed flipbook can be used in your small groups or with individual kiddos. Having students set academic, behavior, and friendship goals for the new year combining some art and craft is a whole lot of fun.

2. Countdown to Winter Break Activity

If you and your kiddos love Advent calendars, this is one resource you can start using already. Designed to be used with/for all students who swing by your office (and not necessarily on tier 2 or 3 support), it is great for rapport building. 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 more than anticipating the festival itself, students enjoy counting down the days to Winter Break!

3. sELF Control Christmas Board Game

Who doesn't love board games, right? Especially if they are Christmas themed! If you are seeing students in tier 2 or 3 settings that need help with self-control, this Christmas Elf themed game is perfect as it encourages students to 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. There is also a digital version of the board game.

4. Holiday Themed Digital Coping Strategies Activity

I've had counselors tell me a lot of their students enjoy digital activities even during in-person sessions. If that's your experience too, you might like this editable holiday themed resource that helps students learn simple but effective strategies to use when they are feeling strong emotions. Dragging and dropping gifts (preferred coping strategies) under a Christmas tree, is equal amounts of fun and learning. This activity is suitable to use with individuals, small groups, and even to complement a whole class lesson.

5. Conflict Resolution Christmas Themed Activity

Semester one is almost over and while your students have probably settled, transition-wise, now's when you might notice friendship issues and tween drama make an appearance. I would recommend teaching conflict resolution strategies explicitly and early on. To make it more fun and interesting, a seasonal activity such as this Christmas themed one which teaches students how to use I-Statements by having to cut and 'dress' the elves with them, is a great opportunity for students to practice conflict-resolution skills with the right sentence structure. If you prefer to go paperless, you could use the digital version.

6. Christmas Themed Boom Cards

Do you love Boom Cards too? If so, this Christmas sElf-Control Boom Cards deck helps students learn the importance of self-control, while the Dress an Elf with I-Statements Boom Card Activity teaches students conflict resolution strategies and how to use I-Statements. You could use these with students of Grades 1-4.

Are you running an anger management group? This winter-themed resource has a fun spin to an otherwise “hot” issue. The games in this pack have been created to help students identify calm down strategies for when they feel angry or mad. This resource includes a scoot game, a dice game, a matching game, an “I Have, Who Has” game, and a board game. You could potentially use these games with students in a self-regulation group too, especially if you’re looking for activities related to the “Red Zone”. 

Scouting around for low-prep winter/Christmas themed resources? You’ll love this Christmas Bundle that is a go-to each year for many counselors. If you have a favorite seasonal activity or game that you use in your individual and small groups, I would love to know about them in the comments! Happy Holidays!

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