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Classroom Management: 10 At-School Vacation Ideas

Janelle Cox

With the weather on the East Coast and Midwest being so cold and frigid this year, it’s making a lot of people have cabin fever. Everyone wishes he was on a sandy beach vacation.

The wintertime can be tough for many people -- the cold temps and snow can make you feel depressed and fatigued. But you can easily turn these winter blues into winter blooms by using classroom management skills to create a fun vacation environment right at school.

Here are 10 at-school vacation ideas to help you use classroom management to combat those winter blues.

1. Classroom Management: Read a Book

Books are a great way to take you to another place. Dust off your globe and have students take turns choosing what part of the country they would like to visit someday. If they aren’t sure, have them close their eyes and spin the globe and wherever they put their finger is the county that they get. Once they have their country chosen, then they can go to the library and choose a book to research about it. This is a great way for students to learn, as well as make another country come alive!

2. Plan a Fun Day Indoors

Nothing says vacation than relaxing on a beach. If you can’t get to the beach, then you can bring it to your classroom. Have students make decorations that make you feel like you are on a beach vacation. Bring in beach balls, lawn chairs, beach towels, and sand. Have students spread put their beach towels and have picnic. Put play sand on a sand and water table and let them build sandcastles. Read the book “Tar Beach” by Faith Ringgold which is about a young girl who gets away from it all on her rooftop. This fun pretend summer day will something they will never forget.

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3. Enjoy the Cold Outdoors

The point of an at-school vacation is that you feel like you are somewhere else. Even though it may be cold outdoors, you will find that just being outside of the classroom will feel like a vacation. Plus students love to be in the snow. Here are a few snow-related ideas that students will love to try out.

  • Mix snow with salt and food dye and make a snow mobile.
  • Feel balloons will water and leave them outside overnight.
  • Take a walk and have students try to identify the animal tracks that are in the snow.
  • See how big they can make a snowman.
  • Have an old fashioned snowball fight.

4. Visit a Museum

There is nothing better than a field trip to make you feel like you are on vacation. Museums are a great way for students to learn and explore. Choose a museum or exhibit that will take the students into another destination like space or dinosaur era.

5. Travel to the stars

To many people, vacation means being outdoors and enjoying the night’s stars. You can turn your classroom into a summer’s night by creating an environment where students feel like they are under the stars. You can purchase glow-in-the-dark stars and put them on the ceiling of the classroom. Students can make star constellations out of toilet paper rolls and construction paper. You can pitch a tent, shut off the lights and allow students to pretend they are camping out under the night’s stars.

6. Watch a Movie

Movies are a great way to make you feel like you are somewhere else. Much like a good book, they have the ability to sweep you up and take you away to another place. Turn your classroom into a movie theater filled with fun snacks, comfy chairs, and good movie.

7. Travel in Time

Read the story “The Magic School Bus In the Time of the Dinosaurs” by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan, about how Ms. Frizzle turns the class bus into a time machine to visit the dinosaurs. Then, have students create their very own class time capsule by choosing items to put in it, like newspaper clippings, photographs, books, dvds, class drawings, etc.

8. Visit a Historical Site

Another fun field trip idea to make students feel like they are on a vacation is to take a trip to a historical site. Read one of the Magic School Book series books and find a historical site that correlates with it.

9. Play a Game

Have students pretend they need to pack and get ready for a vacation. Split the classroom into two teams and have them stand in a relay race line. Each team gets a suitcase filled with clothes. Here’s how you play: On your “go,” one child from each team runs over to the suitcase and puts on one of the outfits. Then they run back to the next person in line, takes off the outfit and the hands it to the next child. That child must put the outfit on, run to the suitcase and take it off and pack it. This continues until everyone has had a turn.

10. Pack a Suitcase

One thing you must do before you go on a vacation is pack a suitcase. Have students choose a destination where they want to go on vacation, then give students magazines and catalogs and have them cut our pictures of what they need to pack for that particular vacation. Students can paste their items in a file folder and decorate it so it looks like a suitcase.

Do you have any creative ideas that you would like to share? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.