Wednesday 7 December 2022

Winter Holiday Games

Submitted by: Sonia Sheehan, HPEC Vice President Communications 

Looking for some ways to get your students active that promotes aspects of the upcoming winter holidays?  Try out some of these games that have been tried and tested with K-4 students.

1.     Holiday Winter Guess:

Create 4 choices of holiday winter actions (snow angel – lay on the ground and perform snow angels, candy cane – stand with arms curled forward, reindeer – gallop in a circle with hands overhead as antlers, snowflake – stand with arms and legs stretched out wide and sway from side to side).  Create a slide show with a random order of the 4 holiday winter actions or have the 4 holiday winter actions written in large letters on separate pieces of paper. Have students perform a movement or fitness activity (jumping jacks, squats, lunges, running on the spot, side sliding, bicep curls, etc…). When students hear “Freeze”, they must stop the movement or fitness activity.  When students hear “Make your Holiday Winter Guess”, they must choose one of the holiday winter actions to perform.  Provide students with a 5 second count down to complete their choice.  Teacher will reveal either the slide with one of the holiday winter actions or randomly show one of the pieces of paper with the holiday winter action.  The object of the game is to match the holiday winter action the teacher shows.

If you match the activity = complete a holiday dance celebration move and earn 1 point

If you do not match the activity = complete 1 lap skipping around the gym

2.     Reindeer Switch:

Set up hula hoops or poly spots (reindeer homes) for all students to stand in, except 3-4 students of the class.  The students without a hula hoop/poly spot/ reindeer home are the lost reindeer. When the teacher calls “Reindeer Switch” all the reindeer need to move and stand in a new reindeer home.  Any students without a reindeer home are the lost reindeer for that round.  Challenge students to try to find a reindeer home quickly and safely each time the teacher says “Reindeer Switch”.  To add a cooperative twist, remove some reindeer homes to have two reindeer in each home.  When students hear “Reindeer Switch” they need to find a new home and each home can have 2 reindeer before it is full. 

3.     Tree Topple:

Equipment: bowling pins (or an item that can be knocked over) to represent holiday trees and bean bags

Set up: 2 equal teams on each side of the activity area, 10 holiday trees/bowling pins on each side of the gym, bean bags randomly scattered throughout the area to chop down the holiday trees

Objective: With each team staying on their own side, students will slide the bean bag along the ground to the other side of the gym to try to “topple” the trees over.  Try to be the first team to topple all the trees on the other side.  

Extension: If a student topples a tree over with a bean bag, the student will run over to the other side, pick up the tree that was toppled over, bring it back to their side and add it to the standing trees on their side.  Try to be the team with the most trees on their side.


4.     Winter Would You Rather:

Create a list of two winter items/activities for students to choose from.  Teacher will call out the two items/activities and students need to choose which item/activity they prefer.  Have students move to the corresponding side of your activity area based on the item/activity they choose.  Reveal what activity will be performed based on the item/activity chosen by the student.

Item/Activity Choice #1

Item/Activity Choice #2

Ski = 10 jumping jacks

Snowboard = 10 chicken jacks

Play snow soccer = 10 squats

Play on the playground = 10 lunges

Ice skate = 10 raise the roofs

Sled/toboggan = 10 flosses

Play ice hockey = 10 air punches

Play ringette = 10 high kicks

Build a snowman = run around in a circle 5 times

Build a snow fort = 5 squat jumps

Open presents = do your favourite dance move

Give presents = run on the spot with fast feet

Snowshoe = side slide across the activity area

Cross Country Ski = spin 3 times each way

Sing holiday songs = 10 arm curls

Watch holiday movies = 10 lunges

Bake holiday cookies = 10 jumping jacks

Eat holiday cookies = 4 air punches and 4 high kicks

Run = touch your toes and reach up 5 times

Walk = show your best robot moves

Sleep in an igloo = 5 squat jumps

Sleep in a tent = 10 high kicks

Play video games = run across the activity area

Play outside in the snow = play an imaginary musical instrument

Eat a candy cane = 10 skier jumps

Eat a gingerbread cookie = 6 squat jumps


5.      2 Sided Santa Says:

Similar to Simon Says.  Try to include winter or holiday type activities.  Choose 2 students to be “Santa” on opposite sides of the playing area.  Have half the class face each of the 2 Santas.  Students need to complete an activity if “Santa Says” to do the activity.  Students are not to complete the activity if Santa does not say.  If a student does an activity that Santa did not say, that student would leave the game they are part of and join the Santa on the other side of the activity area.  Students will continue to move from game to game as the Santas try to trick the students into doing an activity that Santa did not say.  Switch the student Santas throughout the game.

6.     Snow Run:

This activity needs to take place outside. Students challenge a partner or group to see who can run the fastest to a certain part of the field or outdoor area while running through the snow. Take a little rest and then snow run to a new location in the field or challenge a new partner or group to a snow run.


7.     Pass the Present:

Equipment: a variety of tossable items that can represent presents (examples include: a variety of balls, bean bags, deck rings, pool noodles, etc…)

Set up: Students in groups of 3-4 with a winter holiday team name (example team names: candy canes, elves, snowflakes, snowballs, toys, reindeer, gingerbread, etc…) and some type of holiday winter celebration move (the celebration move can be a dance move or a fitness move)

Challenge: groups work together to complete the designated number of passes of their present in the designated way (if the present is dropped the counting starts again from zero), once the group completes the designated number of passes with their present, complete a holiday winter celebration move and then change the present used for passing and move onto the next round featuring a different way to pass the present

Recommended Designated number of passes by grade level:

Grade 1: 10 passes

Grade 2: 15 passes

Grade 3: 20 passes

Grade 4: 25 passes

Suggested Rounds of Designated types of Passes:

Round #1: Underhand pass

Round #2: One bounce pass

Round #3: Jump up and down before pass

Round #4: Under the leg pass

Round #5: Spin in a circle and then pass

Round #6: Moving while passing


8.     Snowball Target Practice:

Equipment: gator balls to represent multi coloured snowballs or crunched up pieces of recycling paper to represent snowballs, a variety of buckets or baskets for targets, bowling pins as targets

Set up: place the buckets, baskets, and bowling pins around the activity area as targets and each student has their own snowball (gator ball or crunched up piece of paper)

Objective: Challenge students to see how many targets they can knock over (bowling pins) or get their snowball in (buckets or baskets)

Additional Challenges:

·       Throw your snowball from further away from the target

·       Alternate between underhand throw and overhand throw to the target

·       Try a trick shot throw to the target (under a leg throw, over the shoulder throw, backwards throw, etc…)

·       Set a time limit: how many targets can you hit in 1 minute time, 2 minute time, 3 minute time


9.     Protect the Snowmen:

Equipment: gator balls to represent multi coloured snowballs, bowling pins to represent the snowmen and if available, build large snowmen by putting one exercise ball on top of another exercise ball with some type of stand or base at the bottom of the snowman and inbetween the two balls of the snowman

Set up: Divide the class into two teams with one team on each side of the activity area, 6 – 8 snowmen at the back of each side, a centre line dividing the two teams and snowballs (gator balls) scattered throughout the playing area

Objective: Work as a team to throw the snowballs at the other team’s snowmen and knock over all the snowmen on the other side.  Continue until one team has no snowmen left standing

Modification: If a snowman is knocked over, the team that knocked it over can run and get the snowman and stand it up on their side.  See which team has the most snowmen at the end of the game.

Modification: Add a snowman rebuilding process.  If a snowman is knocked over, a student can pick up the snowman, run one lap around the gym while holding the snowman, and then put the snowman back up on their side to continue in the game.


10.  The Great Toy Hunt:

Equipment: wide range of random PE equipment, scooters, mats, list of toys for groups to find in The Great Toy Hunt, hula hoop for each groups toy chest

Set up: Scatter random PE equipment on one side of the activity area, students in groups of 3 with a winter sleigh (made of 3 scooters under one folding gymnastic mat), each group with a list for the Great Toy Hunt (See a sample list below) and a hula hoop for their toy chest

Objective: Work as a team to gather all the items from Toy Hunt List.  Toys can only be gathered one at a time.  To gather an item, one group member must ride on the sleigh, one group member must safely push the sleigh and one group member holds the Toy Hunt List and indicates which toy to find and bring back to the team toy chest.  Once an item is gathered, the group members switch jobs.  Challenge your group to gather as many toys as they can on the toy hunt list.


Toy Hunt List:

Collect one of each item

Bowling Pin

Gator Ball

Table Tennis Paddle

Poly Spot

Bean Bag



Tennis Ball

Pool Noodle


Whiffle Ball


Juggling Club



Rubber Chicken

Cup Stilt

Fluff Ball