Winter learning activities to encourage festive focus!

December 17, 2021

Do you feel that your child has less focus and energy for learning over the winter? You’re not alone! We collated parents’ feedback, to find out how we can help children beat the learning blues this festive period and keep their brains in top notch health with winter learning activities


Two children enjoying winter learning activities and crafts


We often hear from our members that they find it difficult to motivate their child with their learning in the winter months; so we weren’t surprised when 48% of the 1,000 parents we surveyed agreed! Furthermore, 52% said their child has less focus and energy thanks to the dark evenings and shorter days.

Did you know that children in the UK spend just 16 minutes each day outdoors in the winter? It’s easy to understand why this happens. However, research has proven that getting out in the fresh air boosts immunity, gives you more energy and makes you feel happier. All essential ingredients for a healthy, happy mind.


Winter learning infographic


Winter learning activities 

Read on for ideas on how to beat the winter blues with stimulating activities that your kids will love over the winter break. And remember – learning doesn’t have to happen at a desk – it can happen anywhere!

Winter outdoor learning activities

It doesn’t have to be a snow day to have outdoor fun in the winter. Wrap up in your thick coats, head out for a walk and try some of these fun learning activities for kids along the way:

  • Shape spotting – ever notice that tree silhouettes make some really interesting shapes within the mix of branches? Can you make out a face? The shape of an animal? Maybe a diamond or a star? If you need more time, take a photo and keep looking for shapes when you get back home.
  • Winter scavenger hunt – Have a go at spotting these 10 items on your next walk outdoors.
  1. Squirrel
  2. Robin
  3. Christmas tree
  4. Pine cone
  5. Holly berry
  6. Seagull
  7. Christmas lights
  8. A ‘footpath’ sign post
  9. A bike
  10. Someone wearing shorts
  • Winter walk bingo – Each person draws 9 boxes on their piece of paper and lists 9 items that they want to spot on their walk. Swap sheets and the first person to get a full-house wins. 
  • Alphabet hunt – Write down the letters of the alphabet on a sheet of paper. Take a clipboard and pencil with you and try to find something that starts with each letter.
  • Build a snowman – If we’re lucky enough to have a snow day then of course building a snowman is obligatory! 


Mother and two children in a snowy park


Indoor winter activities to boost learning

My favourite indoor learning activities at this time of year come in the form of winter crafts, art projects, baking and board games.

  • Why not start with our downloadable lego games and challenges – these are great fun for all the family and there’s even a 30 day challenge that will take you through Christmas and beyond.
  • Make paper snowflakes.
  • Make a winter art scene out of play dough.
  • Bake shortbread, gingerbread, Christmas cookies and mince pies. There are so many delicious things to try making together at this time of year. 
  • Get stuck into Christmas crafts by making Christmas cards and incorporate a bit of sensory play and fine motor skill development. Draw, paint, stick or sew. Decorate with pompoms, glitter or stamps – homemade cards are the best!
  • Make a list of all your favourite family board games. Put all the names in a hat and each time you have a spare 30 minutes on a cold, miserable day pick out the game and play.

Find more practical learning activities to do at home.


A mother, son and dog bake winter cookies


Making learning fun at Christmas

Christmas is definitely a time for fun and there is no reason why a bit of learning can’t be a part of this. In fact, children have long lasting fun when they are challenged and stimulated. Take a look at our top recommended educational toys for Christmas that are guaranteed to give the gift of a lifetime. 


Christmas learning activities

Check out these fun activities with a winter theme to make you feel festive!

My 12 books of Christmas – I am definitely a fan of a good Christmas tale and there are a lot of magical ones around. Make time each night to look at a book together and read by the Christmas tree or snuggled up in a cosy den made from blankets. It’s the perfect way to countdown to Christmas.

  1. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg
  2. The Night before Christmas by Clement C Moore
  3. The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
  4. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
  5. Stickman by Julia Donaldson
  6. The Christmas Pig by J K Rowling
  7. The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
  8. The Crayon’s Christmas by Drew Daywalt
  9. How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  10. The Christmas wish by Lori Evert
  11. Mr Men Christmas collection by Roger Hargreaves
  12. The Nativity Play by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen


Write thank you letters – everybody loves to receive a handwritten thank you note. There doesn’t need to be lots of writing but it’s a great way of making family members feel special (and practise a little learning too!)


Charades – it doesn’t have to be acting out the name of a book or film. You could get children to demonstrate an action. E.g. brushing teeth, driving a car, shovelling snow.


Make your own jokes – It’s not really a fun Christmas without a joke or two. Being able to tell funny jokes and understand puns are great for English vocabulary development so why not have a joke contest and see who can come up with the funniest lines?


Make your own piggy bank – Did you receive some money this Christmas? Make a special box to keep it in and decide how much money you want to save before you start spending.


Sing songs or play music together – whether it’s Silent Night or The Pogues ‘Fairytale of New York’ there’s bound to be some favourite songs that you can sing together. For an extra bit of sneaky learning see if your kids can change the lyrics to a favourite Christmas song and create a new family classic!



Father and daughter read by the Christmas tree


Christmas learning games online

If your child loves a computer game then try some of these simple, yet effective free online learning games with a Christmas theme. They are great for developing creativity, maths and English skills that Primary school teachers love.


The Gingerbread Man game – for ages 3-5 


Decorate your own Christmas tree – for ages 5-9


Design a Christmas jumper – for ages 5-11


Kahoot! Christmas quizzes – for ages 8+


Christmas home learning ideas

If you find yourself doing some home learning in the run up to Christmas then try out these crafty winter maths activities and English learning resources for something a little bit different!


Try out our Wild Tangrams activity – perfect for testing your child’s creativity, knowledge of shapes and spatial awareness. 


Plan the best showstopper cake – go as wild as possible and maybe even make it! 


Have a go at drawing symmetrical patterns – why not give them a festive theme?


Come up with the next best-selling story. Start with making your own story dice for the perfect inspiration.


Maths fortune tellers are a really fun way of developing your child’s maths when you’re learning at home as well as testing other family members whenever they come to visit! 


However you spend your time this Christmas, we hope that it’s full of fun and laughter. If you are looking for support in enriching your child’s learning, we at Explore Learning are always here to help.

Get in touch to find out how we can support your child’s learning journey in 2022.

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