Winter Games Activities For Elementary

The Winter Games are approaching! On February 4th, 2022 the Olympics will begin in Beijing. Since it only comes every four years, the Olympics are such an exciting time. Getting together with friends and family to root for your team is so exciting for adults and kids alike! 

Older elementary students are at the age where they can start to understand the significance and really appreciate how cool the Olympics are. That makes it the perfect time to introduce it in the classroom. 

I usually start with having a discussion about the Winter Olympics and see what students already know or don’t know about it. After identifying the background knowledge that they already have, I fill in any gaps by teaching the history, showing video clips from winter games in the past, and even reading some books about it. 

After that, I like to incorporate the Winter Olympics into our classroom activities throughout the duration of the Olympics. 

My favorite way to do that is with my Winter Games STEM activities

This bundle has 4 of my favorite STEM challenges that tie in perfectly with the Winter Olympics.  Students will plan, design, and engineer 4 different STEM challenges. 

winter games STEM challenge preview

Included you’ll get: 

  • Winter Ski STEM Challenge
  • Winter Skating STEM Challenge
  • Winter Bobsledding STEM Challene
  • Winter Curling STEM challenges

Students will also get to design a platform for their ice skater, speed skater, skier, or bobsled. 

winter games activities preview

These activities are great because you can use them during your regular STEM time, but they are also great for STEM soft starts, indoor recess, or after-school activities. They can even be done from home while distance learning! They cover the Next Generation Science  3-5-ETS1-1 & 2.

winter games activities preview

What are your favorite ways to teach about the winter games? Let me know in the comments!

Great Books that connect to Winter Olympics

Snowman Paul Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics

What Are the Winter Olympics

January Dates That Will Add Fun and Creativity to Your Classroom

Why would someone jump in freezing cold water? Just how big is your foot? Can you play a kazoo? Who doesn’t love a rubber duckie? These questions will get your students thinking!

January is full of fun, sometimes quirky, holidays! It is a great way to start your day in your morning meetings, use as break when you see your students are needing to refocus or use for early finishers. There are days that you might want to just use the holiday to start a conversation with your students. Each day has a link, a video or website, that has something to do with the holiday. January STEM Everyday has a materials list for the days when you would like to do an activity. Some days need more items than others BUT there are some days when you don’t need anything.


1st– Polar Bear Swim Day

2nd– 55 MPH Speed Limit Day

3rd– Drinking Straw Day

4th– World Braille Day

5th– Bird Day

6th– Bean Day

7th– Old Rock Day

8th– Show and Tell at Work Day

9th– Static Electricity Day

10th– Houseplant Appreciation Day

11th– Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day

12th– Hot Tea Day

13th– Rubber Duckie Day

14th– International Kite Day

15th– Hat Day

16th– Appreciate a Dragon Day

17th– Cable Car Day

18th– Winnie the Pooh Day

19th– Popcorn Day

20th– Camcorder Day

21st– Squirrel Appreciation Day

22nd– Hot Sauce Day

23rd– Measure Your Feet Day

24th– Talk Like a Grizzled Old Prospector Day

25th– Opposite Day

26th– Australia Day

27th– National Geographic Day

28th– Kazoo Day

29th– Puzzle Day

30th– Inane Answering Message Day

31st– Create a Mask Day

Bonus ideas for some of the days…

January 2nd– 55 MPH Speed Limit Day *Have car races. Have students create ramps and use small cars and see who can make their car go the farthest.

January 6th– Bean Day * Use beans in your math plans or let your students plant some beans.

January 13th– Rubber Duckie Day *Give students a Rubber Duckie to decorate (use paint or recycled materials) and display throughout your school.

January 15th– Hat Day *Let students wear hats to class.

January 19th– Popcorn Day *Have students create a popcorn bag

January 24th– Talk Like a Grizzled Old Prospector Day *Research the California Gold Rush

January 29th– Puzzle Day *Break out puzzles to do together!

Your students will love building, experimenting, exploring, or just talking about these days. Get creative in January and see what your students can do and learn. However you use January STEM Challenges Every Day is a Holiday your students will love it!

Tips For Teaching Students To Write A Research Paper In Elementary

Writing a research paper is an unavoidable part of academic life and every student will inevitably have to write one at some point. This is for a good reason. It teaches students not only the correct writing format and technique, but it also teaches them how to research a topic which is something that will help them in school and in their personal lives. It also meets the writing standards that we have to cover. 

Needless to say, it is an important part of learning and can’t be avoided. When students get into the upper grades of elementary they are ready to begin learning how to write their own research papers. 

This can be daunting for students and teachers alike. It’s a big undertaking! 

So how do you teach students to do research? 

You’ll first want to start by explaining what a research paper is and explain the basic process. After that, you can begin the process of teaching them to research. To start they will need a topic along with other related keywords to use in their research. 

Thankfully, we live in a world full of technology so they have a whole load of information at their fingertips online. Show students how to use Google and how to find credible sources. Teaching source hierarchy and how to determine what sources are reliable and legitimate is very important for this step too. 

You can also bring your students to the library to search for nonfiction or fiction texts. This is an effective way to teach students how to utilize the resources a library offers and find books on any topic. After that, it’s time for the fun part- writing! 

How do you teach a child to write a research paper? 

I have always found graphic organizers and guides to be a great place to start when students are new to research papers. 

For example, this research resource about Inventors comes with graphic organizers and templates to help students organize their thoughts and decide what to write. 

research paper

research paper

Show your students how to take notes of important and relevant information along with the sources where they found them. After that, you can help your students learn to interpret the information they found and come up with an idea of what to put in their paper.

After that, it is a matter of putting it all together into paragraphs for their first draft.

If you are looking for more research resources, you can also check out my Biome Research Guides, Earth’s Layers Research Guide, The Great Depression Research Guides, and more here.

Looking for some more elementary classroom tips? Check out my favorite way to get students to recommend books and encourage a love of reading here!

What are your favorite ways to teach students how to write research papers? Let me know in the comments!

Student Gift Ideas For Elementary

It’s that time of year again! Time to start looking for the perfect Christmas activities, decor, and student gift ideas. 

I love all of these activities but my favorite is definitely finding the perfect gifts for my students. I love rewarding them for a job well done during the first half of the school year. 

The best gifts for students are the things you can get in bulk inexpensively. I came up with a list of the best gifts for elementary students that fit this criterion. These gift ideas are also fun for elementary students of all ages! 

Student gift ideas for Christmas

Here are my favorite student gift ideas

1. Fidget Snakes Puzzles

student gift ideas

Is there anything greater than toys you can fidget with as a kid? These fidget snakes are the perfect gifts for kids who love to keep their hands busy. They also come in a pack of 24! 

2. Plastic Slinkys

Slinkys as student gift ideas

These toys are a classic for a good reason. Kids of all ages love to play with them! You can get them in a pack of 50 so there is plenty to go around (maybe even enough to last you two school years!). 

3. Smiley Poppers

poppers as student gift ideas

These jumping toys are always a hit with elementary students! They come in a variety of faces and they can be launched sky high! You can get them in a pack of 24. 

4. Deck of Cards

cards as student gift ideas

These are great paired with some math games! You can get them inexpensively in packs of 12 or 24. 

5. Yarn

These little yarn rolls are great for yarn games, crafts, or finger weaving! Upper elementary students love seeing what they can create with a simple ball of yarn. The best part is that you can get a pack of 60, plenty to go around! 

After choosing the perfect gift, I like to put it in these cute little bags with a gift tag. 

These gifts never fail to be a hit with elementary students! For more Christmas fun, check out these free Christmas memories ornaments!

Let me know, what are your favorite student gift ideas for the holidays?

Exciting Coding Activities For Indoor Recess

Last week, I told you guys about my favorite STEM activities for indoor recess time. This week I want to share my favorite coding activities for indoor recess! 

Computer science is becoming an essential topic to learn about and coding is an important part of computer science. To many people, this may sound complex, a bit too complex for elementary students. However that’s not the case! 

STEM Coding activities and toys for elementary students.

Binary coding is a great place to start learning with upper elementary students. Binary coding is essentially a code made up of 0 and 1. 

Given that this is such an important skill in this day and age, it will benefit our students more than ever to give them a lot of practice with this, both during normal lessons and on their own during recess. 

What I love about binary coding is once it “clicks” and a student really gets it, it can become a really fun activity! Which is what makes it a great option for keeping students occupied during indoor recess. 

My favorite way to do this is by setting up coding stations! 

Digital and print STEM coding activities and coding toys for elementary classroom

These Coding Challenges include themed coding activities for the whole year. Christmas time? Try out the Christmas Code Bracelet. Thanksgiving? Try Thanksgiving Coding in a School Box. Spring? Students will love the Spring Coding Bracelet. 

Set up 4 or 5 stations for students to rotate through with a different coding activity or worksheet at each one. 

If you want even more hands on coding activities, here are some of the best toys to have in your classroom. 

This Coding Ball is a hit with students! Easily learn programming, complete hands-on activities, and share your creations with the community.

Sphere STEM Coding Activities Ball

Similarly, this Coding Robot is a cool way to learn about coding. It comes with 5 free programming STEM apps. 

Blue Robot STEM Coding Activities Toy

Coding skills will set your students up for success in a world more reliant on technology every day. These activities are hands-on, engaging, and so fun your students won’t even realize they’re learning or practicing valuable skills! 

What are your favorite coding activities? Let me know in the comments!

Great November STEM Challenges and Books Students Will Love

November is almost here, and believe it or not, that means the holidays are soon approaching! This is a fun time of year because we get to have classroom celebrations, and lots of November, fall or Thanksgiving-themed activities. There’s usually lots of excitement in the air for the students and teachers! 

This is one of the best times of the year in the classroom in my opinion. I have a list of STEM activities and books that I like to pull out this time of year and they are wonderful for getting my students excited and engaged in their learning. And of course, I will be sharing with you so you can enjoy them in your classroom too! 

November STEM


Here are some of the best November or Thanksgiving activities for elementary students

Balloons Over Broadway.

Have you ever read this book in your classroom? It’s a must with my students! Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is a story about the Thanksgiving Day Parade! You’ll learn about puppeteer Tony Sarg and the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of the parade. 

Balloons Over Broadway STEM Activity

After reading this story, I like to do these Thanksgiving STEM challenges that are connected to the book. Balloons Over Broadway STEM Thanksgiving Parade Challenge will engage all your students in critical thinking and problem solving while they plan, design, and create a puppet, float, and a parade! 

After designing their own floats, you can make it fun by having a school parade! This activity is a great PBL event and also covers Next Generation Science 3-5-ETS1-1 & 2. This resource can be digital which makes it easy for online learning as well. A great way to do some Thanksgiving engineering!

What Was The First Thanksgiving? By Joan Holab

This is a great book for explaining why we celebrate Thanksgiving and its significance in our history. This is a great way to kick off the month because it will help students understand the holiday better and why we are doing Thanksgiving themed activities. 

November STEM Activities

After reading about why we celebrate Thanksgiving, I like to bring out these November STEM challenges. These activities are easy to implement and will actively engage all your students in critical thinking and problem solving during November.



Students plan, design, and engineer drums, corn mazes, rain sticks, canoes, and totem poles. All five of these activities are sure to get your students excited about learning! 

STEM November Activities


What are your favorite things to do in November with your students? Let me know in the comments!

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