Winter Break Ideas for Teachers


It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Winter Break!! Hopefully, you have two weeks to kick your feet up, watch some TV, or read a book! I mean that much time means there has to be something to look forward to, right?

  • Sleeping in?
  • Unlimited bathroom breaks?
  • Watching something other than GoNoodle videos? (Although they are quite catchy.)
  • Time to get a good workout in?

Whether you’ve got a plan for your time off or not, we’ve got a few Winter Break ideas for you to try! Heads up, all the recipes mentioned are DELICIOUS! Just warning you now!

Set Goals for the New Year

? Work Smarter, Not Harder

Hop on the print-and-done train in 2023. No prep printables are the way to go, and ETTC has you covered. With my ETTC Premium Membership, I click, download, and print everything from my Morning Work to my No Prep Centers without having to worry about searching for an entire packet and paying for a bundle that I will only use three pages of. I get to minimize my prep time and focus on what is important in 2023.

? Provide Hands-on Activities with Minimal Prep

Continuing with the no-prep theme, your students can still have hands-on activities in their centers without making a lot of extra work for you. No Prep Math and Literacy Centers include a variety of activities you can print. Then just add in the needed manipulative and DONE!

? Beef up My Phonics Instruction with a Sound Wall

So this year I am struggling… my firsties are having their first actual year in school and it shows. We’ve been hitting the phonics instruction hard, as there are a lot of holes that need to be filled. I’ve been reading a lot about Sound Walls and will be putting one up when we return in two weeks. Complete with wall cards, teaching slides, student worksheets, anchor chart sorts, and small group sorting activities, I know that my students will be phonics masters by the end of the year. So many supplemental activities in one resource!

Binge-Worthy TV Shows 

Sometimes TV is the most relaxing form of relaxation. You can be transported to another world without having to use your brain. It really is the perfect activity for Winter Break! Take a look at these below and check out more here. ?

The Wheel of Time– 

If you like Games of Thrones or The Witcher, (multiple storylines, medieval time periods, magical forces, etc.), you will enjoy The Wheel of Time. It is available through Amazon Prime TV. **I will add, it is not for younger viewers.**

Virgin River– 

Maybe I am late to the game, but ALL my teacher friends are talking about Virgin River on Netflix. I have yet to begin this one, so it is on my “to binge” list for the break!

Welcome to Earth

I watched the first episode on Disney+, and it was incredibly fascinating. Will Smith is journeying the globe, visiting uncharted locations, and revealing some of Earth’s most hidden secrets. My 5yr old watched episode one with me and is already asking for episode two!

Ted Lasso 

This show has literally won 7 Emmy Awards! It is about an American football coach hired to manage a British soccer team. This show is literally laughing out loud hilarious and proves that optimism can take you a long way – Stream this in AppleTV+. 


Though this one has a lot of foul language, it definitely has a great storyline. An aging big-shot businessman sees his decision-making power streamed from him little by little as his family begins to take over his company and fight for succession. You can stream this on HBO Max! 

A Little Light Reading 

Reading is personally my favorite form of relaxation. You can learn, have fun, and be completely enthralled in a story, all while lying in your bed. It’s a Winter Break win-win!

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

We all struggle with vulnerability at some point in our lives. Brené Brown discusses how having the courage to be vulnerable can transform the way we lead, parent, love, and live. I had my highlighter at the ready the entire time I read this book. So good!

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Diana, soon to be a 30-year old, has her whole life mapped out…when she’ll marry, have kids, and her dream job. This all changes when a pandemic strands her in a new location, rediscovering who she is, under quarantine with a family from the island. 

The Ramped-Up Read Aloud by Maria P. Walther

**If you do not like looking at anything education-related during the break, scroll on past this recommendation. 

Maris P. Walther provides read-aloud experiences for 101 picture books in The Ramped-Up Read Aloud. As an avid picture book lover, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each book. She lays out the experience in 2-page spreads, making it simple to see the lesson in full.

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Shwab 

If you are looking for something a little bit more magical this winter break, try this book by V.E. Shwab. It is a beautiful story starting in 1714 France and taking you across the world to current day New York City. There is an adventure, love, loss, and learning to trust yourself as you learn the importance of what it means to be remembered.

 ?The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

In the name of transparency, this book has some more difficult and potentially triggering topics to read through, so it is not for the faint of heart. However, this is truly one of my favorite books. The story is compelling and empowering and has tons of nudges to Hollywood history. 

Workout Videos to Get You Moving 

Not having to leave my house while being active is my favorite form of activity. And since my whole goal for Winter Break is to never have to put on real pants, these workout videos will be my bread and butter for the next two weeks of Winter Break.

Yoga with Cassandra 

Give your mind and body a chance to recoup from the stress of the first half of the school year. Click HERE to check out a quick 20 min session by Cassandra. I have done this session multiple times. It is simple yet effective, and Cassandra does an amazing job talking you through the moves.

Caroline Girvan 

Need something a little more intense? Caroline Girvan has cardio workouts as well as dumbbell sessions. I love her glute workouts! They burn in the best way! Click HERE for a 20 min cardio session!

The Fitness Marshall 

The holidays are upon us, and this video by The Fitness Marshall brings all the holiday cheer! Click HERE to dance along with his upbeat personality! I cannot help but smile while dancing along to his videos!

? Apple Fitness + 

Take control of your workouts with Apple Fitness + it is included in your Apple One subscription and gives you a variety of workout time frames, types of workouts, and coaches. 

? Pro Tip: 

If you go to YouTube, you can search for whatever type of workout you want to do, and a ton of options will come up. For example, you can search “30 minute HIIT Workout,” and a ton of different 30 minute HIIT Workout options will pop up! 

Pinterest Worthy Recipes 

There is nothing like having a good home-cooked meal. I am usually WAY too busy to take the time to make an actual good meal during my everyday life. So here are some ideas for snacks, desserts, and some quick meals, not to mention some delicious cookies, the perfect treat on a lazy Winter Break day!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos 

A little sweet, a little heat, and a whole lot of DELICIOUSNESS. I make these every holiday, and they are always the first to disappear! This recipe is pretty basic, so here are a couple of tips:

Add some shredded cheddar and sliced green onions to the cream cheese mixture.

About halfway through baking, brush on your favorite BBQ sauce, then finish baking. 

Seriously, they are THAT good!

Samoas Pretzel Presents 

Recently, I was introduced to Half Baked Harvest on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her recipes. Her Crispy Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos are AMAZING. So, I wanted to try out a sweet treat with the holidays coming up. OMG, you guys! Your favorite Girl Scout cookie turned into the perfect little chocolate bite!

Cranberry Mojito (with or without ?)

Something savory, something sweet, now something to drink. Cue Cranberry Mojitos. Nothing says the holidays like a cranberry cocktail! This recipe is super simple, and if alcohol isn’t your thing, no worries! Just omit the rum.

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies 

These cookies are so easy, and the title is not deceiving. It is 3 ingredients and cooks in 25 minutes!

Creamy Dairy-Free One Pot Pasta 

Another 30-minute recipe that is easy and won’t dirty a ton of dishes! This is one of my favorites because it is just throwing everything into a bowl and letting it cook, and the outcome is AMAZING! 

Podcasts for Traveling 

Zone everyone else out. Put on headphones, and immediately people will stop talking to you. Listening to a good podcast, or honestly, don’t take the silence the headphones and Winter Break has given you to run with it.

WOAH! That’s Good

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Sadie Robertson (Huff) tackles this question with numerous athletes, authors, musicians, speakers, etc. A feel-good (faith-based) podcast.

School Talk 

(formerly The Instructional Coaching Corner) Two educators (an instructional coach and an elementary principal) talk about school-related. I was introduced to them through their Making Teams Work series. They speak from the heart and are easy to listen to. 

My Favorite Murder 

This true-crime podcast is not as morbid as the title makes it sound. 

Where the Primary Things Are

This is all about improving the lives of educators and learners with top-notch resources and advice from people that are actually in the classroom. Not to mention that it is brought to you by yours truly, Education to the Core!


Get Grounded (Outdoors) 

Scavenger Hunts with Family

Go on a scavenger hunt! Get outdoors and make a list of things to find. They could be holiday, nature, Christmas, or winter-related! Even in the colder months (for some of us), it is still important to get outside! My family and I are going on a Christmas light scavenger hunt later this evening. 

Go for a Walk/or Run 

I love to run. It helps me clear my head after a long day. My mom, on the other hand, walks. Growing up, we’d walk all the time. Even now, we both enjoy walking together. It’s a great time to chat and take in our surroundings. Go walk or run, together or alone, and enjoy the outdoors. 

Have a Picnic 

(or build a snowman) Depending on your weather… picnics are always fun, as are building snowmen! We live in the south, so it’ll probably be a picnic for my family and me. I wouldn’t mind some snow, though.

Build a Bird Feeder

Use things like fruit, seeds, greens, and peanut butter and add them to a bird feeder or boil sugar and water to make nectar.

Roast Marshmallows  

Get a long stick, fire, marshmallows, and enjoy a warm and toasty snack! Of course, remember to use fire safety while doing this! 

However, you spend your time, find and doing something for yourself. You earned it. You kicked butt this first part of the school year. Restrecharge, and relax to help you prepare for the second half of the year!

For even more ideas and helpful tips, join any of the Fearless Facebook Groups like  Fearless Kindergarten Teachers: Education to the Core Facebook Group, Fearless First Grade Teachers: Education to the Core Facebook Group, or the Fearless Second Grade Teachers: Education to the Core Facebook Group.

This group of teachers is a wealth of knowledge and is continuously encouraging. You can also sign up for our free Teaching Tiny Humans Teacher Course, where you will get weekly emails and guidance on how to navigate challenging situations, along with tips, tricks, activity ideas, and freebies to make this school year a success.

In addition, you can follow us on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook @educationtothecore for continued information and resources as the school year progresses, or listen to our podcast Where the Primary Things Are.

Written by: Korryna Sanchez and Heather Wagoner 

At Education to the Core, we exist to help our teachers build a stronger classroom as they connect with our community to find trusted, state-of-the-art resources designed by teachers for teachers. We aspire to be the world’s leading & most trusted community for educational resources for teachers. We improve the lives of every teacher and learner with the most comprehensive, reliable, and inclusive educational resources.

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