5th Grade Classroom Holiday Party Games

by Iam Jaebi
Make school holidays fun.

Make school holidays fun.

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Holidays are a fitting excuse to mix up learning with games and activities, reminding students that school is both a place to learn and have fun. Each holiday has its own symbolism and traditions that help frame the activities and provide opportunities to build in teachable moments in the fifth grade classroom such as the origin of a holiday's traditions and customs.


Pumpkins are the official Halloween mascot so it makes sense to play games and activities that involve them. For an artistic activity, fifth graders can have a pumpkin carving challenge, working in teams to make jack-o'-lanterns. You can give awards to each group based on merit such as "Scariest" and "Friendliest." Another game that has become a tradition during the Halloween season is apple bobbing, which is both exciting and challenging for fifth graders.


Thanksgiving is as much about food as it is about giving thanks so this is a good time to play culinary-inspired games. For example, Turkey Waddle is a relay race style game in which players hold a toy turkey between the legs as they waddle. Another game suitable for Thanksgiving is Bird, Beast or Fish, which challenges players to think of an animal that fits within one of those categories. This gets students thinking about how food gets to the table and practices critical thinking skills.


A group of fifth graders will appreciate fast-paced games such as gift wrap relay in which groups of fifth graders race to wrap and unwrap gift boxes, or the Christmas carol Pictionary relay, in which students work in teams to guess the name of a Christmas carol based only on what a teammate draws. Or, stage Christmas trivia for a game that's mentally stimulating. Christmas trivia challenges students' knowledge of the holiday and its traditions and has many forms (see Resources).

Valentine's Day

The Valentine's Day card scavenger hunt adds a twist to the valentine-giving custom while sharpening your fifth graders' English and language arts skills. Once students have all received a valentine, they divide into teams and race to find the most items on the scavenger hunt list. The list challenges students to find specific words on the team's cards, such as finding valentines with the words "sweet" or "be mine." You can even include English challenges, such as finding a valentine with "an imperative sentence" or "a declarative sentence" (see Resources).

About the Author

Iam Jaebi has been writing since 2000. His short story, "The Alchemist," reached over 250,000 readers and his work has appeared online in Thaumotrope and Nanoism. His novel, "The Guardians," was released in 2010 by Imagenat Entertainment. Jaebi is also a business writer specializing in company naming, concept designs and technical writing. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering.

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