‘Tis the season! ‘Tis the season for CRAZINESS, especially this year! The changing schedules of the holiday season can often leave our children at school (and at home) unsettled and unfocused. Do you need to find some elementary music activities to celebrate diverse holidays and stay on target with your learning objectives?
With careful planning, focused lessons, and possibly some intentional pairing down, this month can be a productive time of learning and performing as well as a season of joyous celebrations. Some of the songs and activities below are sure to become some of your favorite elementary music lessons for the holiday season too!
Be sure to download the two FREE activities included in this post.
December Holidays & Observances
December undoubtedly has more holiday celebrations and observances than any other month. Below are a few highlights.
- November 28 – December 6 Hanukkah
- December 6 – St. Nicholas Day
- December 13 – Violin Day
- December 17 – National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
- December 21 – Winter Solstice
- December 25 – Christmas
- December 26 – Kwanzaa begins
- January 31 – New Year’s Eve
- Week 1 – Cookie Cutter Week
- Week 2 – Computer Science Education Week
- Week 3 – Cookie Exchange Week
- National Egg Nog Month
- National Fruit Cake Month
- National Tie Month
Songs for Class or Performance
Do you need a song for a last-minute addition to your holiday program or class activities? These guided music lessons teach music literacy skills and include tried and true differentiated Orff arrangements for grades K-5.
Click to listen to each Orff arrangement and song below.
It would not be the holiday season in the music room without learning about The Nutcracker. There are so many different types of FREE music activities to teach students about this holiday classic. I am going to highlight two here.
I like students to hear a piece all the way through and be familiar with it before beginning any play-along activity. This Sugar Plum Fairy Listening Map helps students learn the texture, melody, and form of the piece while being engaged visually.
One of my favorite music reading activities is this Sugar Plum Fairy Play-Along with Movement Activity activity by Music and Motivate.
If you have not found Musication’s YouTube Channel yet, you are in for a treat. They have a ton of VERY fun play-along activities that are FREE and easy to follow. Below is their Trepak video complete with a “symbol key” at the beginning.
Interactive Rhythm Flashcards
You don’t have to make a choice between focusing on music literacy skills or celebrating the holidays. These Christmas Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards are differentiated into 8 different levels for grades K-5. Level 1 includes iconic reading while levels 2-8 build sequentially.
Check out this post for 10 Ways to Use Interactive Rhythm Pattern Flashcards.
Printable & Online Digital Puzzles
If you need some FUN activities for inbetween units, check out these versatile puzzles. They are PRINTABLE or your students may complete them in a DIGITAL format using Easel, TpT’s digital online tool? These no-prep worksheets are ready-to-use on Easel.
This FREE Winter Holidays | Break the Code Puzzle introduces students to diverse holidays celebrated by families from different cultures.
Music Symbols PRINTABLE & DIGITAL Puzzles BUNDLE includes scrambled words, word search, and crossword puzzles. Puzzles may also be used for centers, to introduce/reinforce music vocabulary, sub days, for fast finishers, holiday take-home packets, or for online distance learning. Answer keys are included which makes them great for sub days too.
Musical Instrument Families | Favorite Elementary Music Lessons
Learning about musical instrument families and the instruments of the orchestra are always among favorite elementary music lessons for students and teachers. Whether you are introducing a new family of instruments or reviewing previously learned materials, these PRINTABLE & DIGITAL puzzles are sure to be a hit.
This complete Instrument Families Puzzles Set includes 10 separate scrambled word/word search and crossword puzzles for all of the main instruments of the orchestra. Do you need something fast and FREE? Download this FREE Brass Family Puzzle Set and give Easel, TpT’s digital online tool a try.
Planning Ahead | Black History Month
As soon as we get back from winter break, it is time to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other heroes of the civil rights movement. Any time of year is a good time to learn about Black History, but these activities are especially meaningful this time of year.
These are some of my favorite elementary music lessons of all time! These K-5 lessons include short biographies of civil rights leaders. With differentiated Orff arrangements of authentic African American spirituals, these lessons can truly be used all year long.
Click to listen to each of the arrangements in the video previews.
Start the New Year Fresh | Music Literacy Bundles
I am a firm believer in planning ahead but I also believe it is important to be flexible. The new year is a time to pause and reflect on the past. What is the music literacy level of your students? Are there gaps in their learning? Are you making time for music reading every day?
Check out this post for tips to help you Integrate Music Reading into Every Lesson. If you need some ready-to-go guided music reading resources to fill in a few gaps in your program, check out the bundles below.
More Music Literacy Activity Bundles Coming Soon
Finding Targeted Music Literacy Activities
It can be hard to find the perfect multitasking songs to teach specific music elements. This easy-to-use Elementary Music Literacy Resource Guide includes a detailed index of music elements which makes finding the ideal activities simple. This helpful index includes MANY FREE as well as helpful paid resources. That’s a WIN WIN!
Enjoy the Season!
Yes, real learning takes place during the month of December. But, save a little time for the “just-for-fun” stuff too. There are so many fun activities to incorporate into lessons during this time of year.
What are some of your favorite elementary music lessons for the month of December? Leave a comment.