Christmas Games to Play in School

Christmas chalkboard

Celebrate the Christmas holiday at school with exciting games. From preschool to high school, kids of any age enjoy letting loose during the holidays. Select a game that fits your space, group size, and ages and everyone is sure to have a blast!

Santa Bag and Snowball Relay Race

santa sack race

Usually Santa's bag is filled with toys, but in this game, the bag will be filled with students. The object of the game is to be the first team to cross the finish line and fill the bowl at the finish line with snowballs (marshmallows). This game will work for all ages, from preschool through high school. Vary the distance between the start and finishing line depending on the age and ability of the students.

Supplies

  • 1 potato sack per team, dyed red (or sew some simple sacks out of red fabric)
  • 2 bowls per team
  • Large marshmallows (snowballs), divided equally among the teams
  • Markers to indicate the starting and finish line
  • Whistle to start the game
  • Large space, such as the outdoors or a gym, although the classroom could work for very small group

Game Set Up

  1. Designate a starting line and a finish line that are at least 20 feet apart. Increase the distance if you have fewer players or older students.
  2. Put a bowl of marshmallows at the starting line and an empty bowl at the finish line (one per team). Be sure to have equal number of marshmallows per team, so it is fair for all players and teams. For instance, if you have 10 players on each team, put 10 or 20 marshmallows in the starting bowl (depending on whether you want each player to play once or twice). If you have an uneven number of players per team, ask one or more players from team with fewer students take an extra turn.
  3. You may want to use a small table (or box) to hold the bowls at the starting and finish line.

How to Play

  1. Divide the students into teams.
  2. Line the student teams up at the starting line.
  3. Blow the whistle to start the game.
  4. One player from each team hops into a potato sack, puts a marshmallow (snowball) in their teeth and hops to the finish line.
  5. The player must then drop the snowball into the bowl at the finish line, hop out of the bag, and run the bag back to the starting line for the next player.
  6. The game continues until all players from one team has crossed the finish line and all the marshmallows have been transferred from the bowl at the starting line to the bowl at the finish line.
  7. The team who has all their players cross the finish line first, and who has transferred all the snowballs, wins the game.

Jingle Bell Rock

snowy rock maze

The famous Christmas song, Jingle Bell Rock, can be used as an inspiration for a lively holiday game. The game can be done with individual players or as teams. Be the first person or team to successfully navigate through the rock maze in order to win. This game is suitable for all ages, from preschool through high school. The length of the maze and the number of laps each player or team must complete can vary depending on the capability and ages of the players.

It's especially fun when played outdoors with lots of snow; just remember to have kids don their snowpants and boots!

Supplies

  • Jingle bells (or another type of bell)
  • Rocks (a minimum of 20 small to medium sized flat rocks, but more rocks are needed)
  • Stop watch
  • Open space (outdoors on a playing field is best, but a gym or large room will also work)
  • Pencil and paper

Game Set Up

  1. The teacher will create a winding pathway or maze out of rocks. The more rocks you have, the easier it will be for students to detect the maze and the longer the maze can be.
  2. The maze should be in circle with a designated start and finish line.
  3. Place the bell at the start/finish line.
  4. If you don't have access to enough rocks to complete the course, consider filling in the segments of the maze that don't have rocks with sidewalk chalk lines, leaves that are lined-up, pine cones or even jump ropes.

How to Play

  1. To start the game, the teacher rings the bell to start the race.
  2. The players run through the maze, one by one. At the end of each lap, the player has to ring the bell to indicate that they have completed that round.
  3. The teacher will designate how many laps each player has to make.
  4. In the case of teams, the players will tag the hand of the next player in line, indicating that its the next players turn to run the maze.
  5. The teacher keeps score of the times. The player or team with the fastest time wins.

Reindeer Games

reindeer games

The Christmas tune Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer talks about the "reindeer games" that Rudolph was excluded from. Don't exclude any of your students in your version of this reindeer game. Move a pile of gifts from their pile to a bag about 30 feet away. Players must travel on their hands and feet (or knees) to resemble the way a reindeer may walk. Preschool and kindergarten kids may have a difficult time transporting the packages, so teachers may choose to allow children just to walk or run with the gifts instead of crawling on all fours, but otherwise, all ages should be able to participate.

Supplies

  • Wrapped boxes, approximately 10 per team
  • Ribbons and bows
  • Red noses and antlers, 1 set per team
  • 1 large garbage sack per team
  • A space large enough for players to run without tripping, like a gym or outdoor playground

Game Set Up

  1. Wrap several boxes (about 10 gifts per team); some can have ribbon or bows if desired.
  2. Set a pile of gifts on one end of the play area for each team.
  3. Put a opened large garbage sack about 30 feet away from piles, one per team.
  4. Set the noses and antlers on top of the gift piles.

How to Play

  1. The first players, one from each team, should put on the reindeer antlers and nose.
  2. Each player should get down on all fours (hands and feet or knees) and place a gift in front of their nose.
  3. Players need to move the gift from the pile to "Santa's Bag" that is about 30 feet away. The players may choose to scoot the gift with their noses, hold the ribbon in their teeth, balance it on their backs, or any other way that doesn't involve carrying and running it over (unless the kids are young).
  4. The next player on each team waits until their teammate "delivers" the package into the bag, returns to "base" and removes the antlers and nose and hands it to the next player in line, who also has to put on the costume.
  5. Game continues until all packages have been transported from the pile to the bag. The winning team is the first one who delivers all their packages to the sack.

Behind the Back Christmas Tree Sculpture

Behind the back christmas tree sculpture

How adept will your students be at creating a sculpture behind their own backs? Players attempt to form Christmas trees behind their backs or while blindfolded. This game is best for upper elementary to high school students, as younger kids may have trouble making the trees and get frustrated.

Supplies

  • Play-Doh or clay
  • Blindfolds (optional)
  • Tables

Game Set Up

Other than gathering the supplies, there is very little preparation necessary.

How to Play

  1. Ask students to stand by the tables
  2. Hand-out the Play-doh or clay. A small ball, about the size of the palm of your hand should be enough, but more can be used for larger sculptures.
  3. Put the clay on the table and ask the players to turn their backs to the table.
  4. At the sound of go, students should attempt to mold their clay into the shape of a Christmas tree while still having their back turned away from the clay.
  5. Students should not be allowed to turn towards their sculpture, but should be encouraged to keep their backs turned.
  6. The teacher can indicate when the game is finished.
  7. Students can then turn towards their creations. Giggles will ensue!
  8. Classmates can vote on their favorite sculpture and you can declare a winner.

Variation

You can increase the difficulty of the game for older students, by having the students add colored ornaments (multi-colored clay or small beads) to the tree. You can also ask students to be blindfolded to prevent cheating.

Secret Santa

classroom secret santa

Shhhh!!! Students of any age will enjoy sneaking around being Santa, but this is probably going to appeal most to elementary age players. They'll enjoy the fun of figuring out who the secrect Santa is that shares treats with everyone.

Supplies

  • Small treats such as candy canes, stickers, or unsharpened pencils for every student
  • Small boxes and wrapping paper, optional
  • Classroom with desks and chairs

Game Set Up

If you want to wrap the small treats in wrapped boxes, do this before the game.

How to Play

  1. Ask students to put their heads down on their desk with one hand open (palm up).
  2. Quietly take a three small candy canes (or other small treat) and place them in the open hand of one student.
  3. That student should quietly stand-up and walk to three other random students and put one candy cane or treat in each of the three students' hand.
  4. The students who received the candy canes or treat should leave their heads down.
  5. The first student should then go put his or her head back down on their desk, and put a hand out.
  6. The teacher then tells the students to lift their heads.
  7. The students who received the candy canes or treat should stand up.
  8. Each student then takes a guess as to who they think the Secret Santa was. You can keep track of correct guesses and award a prize to the overall winner or not keep score at all.
  9. Everyone gets to keep their candy canes or treat.
  10. The game repeats, with the teacher choosing another Secret Santa from those who guessed correctly, and continues until everyone has received a small prize.

Prizes for Games

Though it is not necessary, prizes for game winners and participants are appropriate. Small prizes might include candy canes, Christmas themed pencils, stickers and bookmarks.

Christmas Games to Play in School