Activities for “light” lessons at the beginning of January

Activities for “light” lessons at the beginning of January

After Christmas holidays it is always hard to go back to usual routines, especially to studies. Therefore, as teachers, we need to think of such activities that will not overload students when they are back to classes in January. Here, we have topped some lesson ideas which will work great for the beginning of January.

Activity 1 – Describing holidays (Pre-intermediate +)

Give students an opportunity to share with the class what they did on winter vacation. These activities may include writing a summary of their holiday, practicing interview questions with a partner or in a group and so on. Here are some ideas about describing the past holidays:

  • The teacher thinks of his/her best Xmas present, tells students they can ask 20 yes/no questions to guess what it is. The teacher may help them with model questions, like Can you use it to…, Is it bigger than a…, Does it have…., Does it cost more than a…?. The student who guesses correctly takes the teacher’s place and the game is repeated. You can print out examples of some great Christmas presents in case students struggle to think of one. 
  • Ask students to show and discuss photos they have taken during the holidays.
  • This activity aims at finding out details about students’ Christmas. The questions must revolve around the following topics ‘Who got the best present? Who had the best Christmas? Who had the most fun on New Year’s Eve? Who had the strangest Christmas?”

Give out the questions The students work in pairs and brainstorm the questions they need to ask to get more information for tge questions provided. For example,

Who got the best present? – What did you get for Christmas?

Who had the best Christmas? – What did you do at Christmas? Where did you spend Christmas? What was the best thing about Christmas?

Who had the most fun on New Year’s Eve? – What did you do on New Year’s Eve? Where did you spend New Year’s Eve?

Next, students are given ten minutes to speak to as many of their classmates as they can. Then the teacher summarizes some of the answers open-class. 

  • Ask students to complete the given story as theirs.

This year I had a ________________. I celebrated it ___________________. We decorated the tree and ____________________. We __________ a carp and potato salad. _______________ Coca cola. I ________________ presents. I got a jigsaw puzzle, _____________ and a ____________.

On New Year’s Eve I ______________________________________. We _______________ board games and we ______________________. We watched fireworks at midnight and ______________. I __________ a New Year´s resolution. I ___________________.

As a follow-up activity all the stories could be placed on walls, the students walk around and read all the stories to find any similarities with the way they spent their holidays or find out some interesting facts about their friends’ holidays. 

Activity 2 – Snowman Adventure (Elementary +)

Have your students write where their snowman would go and what it would do. Using construction paper and water colors, students will create their snowman and the background for the location of their adventure. When I tried this activity with my students we had so much fun and their imagination really flew. I remember those crazy and adventurous snowmen. Here you can download circles for creating the snowman.

A similar adventure activity can be when students continue the sentence If I were a snowflake, I would….. They write what would happen to that snowflake and how it will end up its journey. They are given total freedom to write out their ideas. 

Activity 3 – Winter story (Pre-intermediate +)

Students look through winter vocabulary (vocabulary list) and create an imaginary story about what happened to them last week/last year. Then they decide whose story was the most interesting, who used the majority of new words, whose story was the funniest, etc.

Activity 4 – A perfect winter day (Pre-intermediate +)

The teacher tells the students to imagine the following: You wake up in your bed and look out the window when you see a brightly decorated Christmas tree. It’s cold and even looks like snow is slowly falling from the sky. The scene reminds of a perfect winter day. What do you want to do today? What are you going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Will you go sledding or have a snowball fight with your friends?”

As a visual hint, the teacher shows a couple of photos to get some ideas flowing. Then, the  students take some time to write their stories. Next, they describe their stories to their pairs and look for some similarities.


Together with these January topics the beginning of the post-holiday studies will not be so hard both for teachers and students. On the contrary, students will still feel the Christmas cheer alive and get involved in purposeful activities which will improve their English. 

Which of the activities will you try out with your students?