After taking some time away from school, getting your students back into learning can be a challenge. After all, they’ve spent the last few weeks playing with toys, spending time with family, watching films, and eating lots of treats.
While it’s good to try and continue where you left off, many kids can resist learning, which can be disruptive to lessons and stressful for you as their teacher.
Planning some back to school activities is a good idea to ease your students into a routine. These are fun, straightforward tasks that are designed to help students settle back into school life quicker than trying to get straight back into the swing of things.
In this guide, we explore fun post-Christmas activities that you can use to get your students back into a routine, but first, let’s explore the critical role back to school activities play in helping students readjust to school life.
Why are back to school activities important?
Beyond being engaging diversions, back to school activities play a pivotal role in reorienting students from holiday leisure to a focused learning environment. They serve to rekindle curiosity and excitement for learning after the break.
By intertwining enjoyment with educational content, these activities gently guide students back into the academic routine, establishing a positive tone for the rest of the term and fostering an enthusiasm for learning.
Moreover, these initial engagements are strategic, allowing you to assess students’ interests and strengths and identify areas where students may need additional support.
Ultimately, these activities set the stage for a productive and fulfilling academic year. They help students readjust to school life and create an inclusive learning environment where curiosity and collaboration can thrive.
Best activities for back to school after Christmas break
1. Write about the Christmas break
Getting your pupils to write lots of essays or complete practice exams in their first few days back may cause quite a stir. But, if you’re eager to get them writing again, setting a few simple prompts and exercises can be an excellent place to start.
You could get your students to write a welcome back to school poem or diary entries reflecting on what they got up to over Christmas. Providing these writing prompts invites students to share their experiences and cultivates essential skills such as descriptive writing, self-expression, and organisation of thoughts.
These exercises can be stepping stones towards more comprehensive writing tasks as students gradually transition back into the academic rhythm.
2. Make New Year’s resolutions
Start the new year right by encouraging students to set academic or personal goals for the upcoming year. This can be a great activity to get students thinking about what they want to achieve. Whether they want to embark on a new academic endeavour, hone existing skills, or aim for personal growth, this activity prompts students to envision their aspirations and chart the path they wish to tread.
Have your pupils create vision boards or write letters to themselves outlining their aspirations for the next few months. By engaging in this exercise, students learn the importance of introspection and planning.
For older students, you can emphasise the power of setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals; these can help them create actionable plans linked to further education or employment.
3. Welcome back to school assembly
As students, teachers, and staff reconvene after Christmas, holding an assembly can help unify schools and re-establish a collective sense of purpose. During this assembly, the pupils and teachers can prepare for the new year and school term and communicate any essential information. Additionally, the assembly should be used to welcome students back to school and motivate them before lessons restart.
Beyond routine announcements and updates, an assembly fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity among students, reinforcing the school’s values and commitment to excellence.
4. Team-building games
Controlling the class after the Christmas break can be challenging in team-building games. Classroom games and icebreakers can energise your students while promoting teamwork and communication skills.
You could separate your class into groups and have them participate in a quiz using an interactive display. These devices motivate students as they make learning more engaging, bringing some much-needed life back into the classroom.
5. Classroom scavenger hunt
Another team-building exercise, a classroom scavenger hunt could be an exciting and engaging welcome back for your students. Scatter hidden clues strategically around your classroom, school or playground and prompt students to search, solve, and unravel the mystery.
You could incorporate clues relating to classroom rules or specific subjects to help pupils refamiliarise themselves with information they may have forgotten during the festive break.
By dividing students into groups, you can further enhance the experience and encourage collaboration among students as they work together to decode clues and solve challenges.
6. Get crafty
Engaging students in hands-on, creative activities is an excellent way to encourage exploration and learning. Consider offering a “Maker’s Challenge” session where students can get crafty and participate in various STEM-inspired DIY projects. Here are three craft suggestions to welcome your students back to school:
This first idea is a DIY miniature wind-powered car challenge. Provide students with cardboard, straws, wooden skewers, tape, and small wheels. Task them with designing and building a miniature car that can harness wind energy to move.
This activity allows students to apply physics and engineering principles, exploring how wind energy can be converted into mechanical motion.
Colourful chemical reactions
Alternatively, you could organise a chemical reaction art project. This involves students mixing safe and colourful chemical solutions to create mesmerising art.
By combining materials like baking soda, vinegar, food colouring, and paper, students can observe chemical reactions and create vibrant artwork through fizzing, bubbling, or colour changes.
Finally, try a recycled material sculpture challenge. Encourage students to collect and repurpose recyclable materials like cardboard tubes, plastic bottles, or newspapers and create sculptures or models based on specific themes or concepts they have learned in class.
These hands-on crafting activities promote creativity and stimulate critical thinking, problem-solving, and experimentation. They offer an opportunity for students to apply STEM principles in a fun, artistic context, fostering a deeper understanding of scientific concepts while nurturing their creativity and innovation.
How to keep kids engaged after Christmas
Returning to learning after the festive break can present a hurdle in reigniting students’ focus. Our ‘12 student engagement strategies’ guide, features suggestions that help you get to know your students and appeal to their interests.
For more resources to help you motivate and engage with students in your class, head to the Promethean blog. Here, you’ll find information on how to use technology for teaching English as an additional language, the best interactive whiteboard games for preschool children, and more.
For tips on preparing to head back to school as a teacher, explore our ‘How can teachers prepare for the new academic year‘ guide.
Back to with Promethean
Step into the new school term with Promethean! We’re here to guide you with our top-notch back to school solutions, like our ActivPanel Display. Elevate your classroom experience and unlock the potential of interactive learning. Request a demo today and witness how Promethean can revolutionise your students’ educational journey!
What should I do on my first day back at school?
Start the day with icebreaker questions, like asking your class what they did during their break or team-building activities to create a positive atmosphere and help students reconnect with you and their peers. Review classroom rules and expectations, discuss goals for the term, and engage students in a fun introductory lesson to ease them back into the academic routine.
How can back to school activities support academic goals?
Back to school activities can be designed to align with academic goals by integrating educational content into fun, engaging tasks. For instance, team-building exercises can improve kids’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills. These activities also set a positive tone for the term, engaging kids and fostering a supportive learning environment.
Are there specific welcome back to school activities for different age groups?
While some activities can be applied to all ages, different age groups will have specific exercises tailored to their developmental stages.
Interactive games, storytelling, or art-based activities can engage younger children. Older students might benefit from goal-setting exercises, STEM challenges, group discussions on upcoming lessons, or activities encouraging collaboration and leadership.
Customising activities for different age groups accounts for their maturity levels, interests, and capabilities, ensuring that the welcome-back experience is engaging, meaningful, and beneficial to their development.