Professional Practice

Embrace Winter’s Canvas: 8 Ways to Ignite Creativity Over the Holiday Break!

snowy trees

The holiday season can be a whirlwind of grading, decorating for the winter concert, staff holiday activities, and last-minute gift wrapping on top of the usual responsibilities. According to a survey conducted by Healthline, a significant percentage of people experienced heightened stress levels during the holiday season due to the pressure of gift-giving, social events, and financial strain. Also, the winter months can bring a sense of gloom with a notable increase in cases of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression. Winter break can’t come soon enough!

Because art teachers are constantly nurturing creativity, taking time to wind down is crucial. Engaging in artistic pursuits during the winter break not only allows us to recharge but also helps combat stress and negative emotions. Dedicate time to make art amidst the bustling holiday chaos with the ideas below!

Let’s look at eight ways art teachers can wind down and make art.


1. Use drawing prompts.

Delve into the wonders of the winter season with specific drawing prompts. Prompts can help you tap into your creativity and get you started if you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost. Download the winter-themed prompts below to bring the magic of the season to paper. Use them for yourself, share them with your students, or both!

downloadable resource

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Explore #aoeuminis on Instagram for this past summer’s tiny and exciting drawing challenges. Additionally, check out 100 Sketchbook Prompts for more ideas to try. If you’re traveling or prefer digital tools, experiment with different drawing apps. Compile your creations in a winter art journal and capture the best moments of each day or event with short, expressive drawings or mixed media collages. Give new life to materials typically discarded this time of year.

Use items like:

  • Packaging
  • Wrapping paper
  • Tags
  • Old paperwork
  • Junk mail

winter drawing prompts

2. Create snow and ice tie-dye.

Embrace the enchantment of winter with ice tie-dye, a creative twist on traditional tie-dyeing that results in a watercolor-like effect. Tie the fabric in the desired pattern, cover it with ice (or snow), and then apply liquid or powder dye on top. As the ice and snow melt, it creates captivating patterns on the fabric. After twelve hours, wash and dry your masterpiece to reveal a unique creation.

snow tie dye

3. Dive into fiber arts.

Are you feeling chilly during the cold weather? Try your hand at fiber arts! Watch the Packs Getting Started with Crochet or Advanced Fiber Arts in PRO Learning. Then, make fiber pieces while binge-watching your favorite artsy movies. Create cozy hats, scarves, mittens, and more! Add personal touches to your winter wardrobe and make custom fashion pieces to reflect your unique style.


4. Construct snow and ice sculptures.

Do you love to take advantage of a good snow day? Turn snow and ice into your artistic medium of choice and sculpt small or large creations in your own winter wonderland. Use nature artists like Andy Goldsworthy for inspiration. If there’s no snow or ice, no problem! Make your own “snow clay” and store it in the fridge. That way, it’s nice and chilly for a fully sensory experience.

5. Compose snow graffiti.

Bring out the artist in you and use food coloring in spray bottles to create colorful snow graffiti. Whether you’re decorating your backyard, adding flair to a snowman, or leaving cheerful messages, snow graffiti is an easy and enjoyable activity for all ages.

snow painting

6. Make snow candles.

Do you have old, partially burned candles or boxes of broken crayons? Your collection of waxworks can make for a fun snow day activity! Gather your candles or crayons, a tin can,  and candle wicking. Place the candles or crayons in the tin can. (The crayons are a great way to add color.) Melt the mixture by placing the tin can into a pan of simmering water. Make a hole in the snow for your mold. Place a wick in the middle of your snow mold and use a stick to keep it upright. Pour the melted wax around the wick and let it cool for an hour. Carefully dig the candle out, rinse it off, and trim the wick. Enjoy the warmth and glow of your unique snow candles!

snow candles

7. Take a workshop or go on an art field trip.

Take advantage of local events and workshops to gain fresh insights. Check out events in your area on social media or through the local rec center or library. Treat yourself to a day of art exploration at an arts center, museum, First Friday, or gallery. Watch an episode of Make Art With Me and discover a new project or medium from other art teachers. Indulge your creative side with opportunities to learn and make.

van gogh experience

8. Collaborate on a project.

The winter season and break can bring many social events with friends and family. Share the joy of art with loved ones through collaborative projects. Spread artmaking cheer and spend quality time with those around you.

Here are some artmaking ideas to do with others:

  • Cut quilt squares and sew them into a quilt
  • Try out diamond painting
  • Color intricate coloring sheets
  • Bleach tie-dye a blanket
  • Make scarves with a knitting machine

snowy trees

As winter arrives with its snowy charm, the year winds down and winter break begins! Art teachers receive the gift of time to dive into creativity. Art is a tool that can help combat the hard emotions and feelings shifting seasons can bring. Plus, we are uniquely equipped to bring the joy of creating to ourselves and the people who matter to us. Whether you embrace time to yourself during this winter break, look forward to gathering with loved ones, or find yourself somewhere in between, make it a time to be creative! Explore winter art journals, snow graffiti, and cozy fiber arts. Try something new with a buddy or dust off an unfinished project. Reset with artmaking to close the year on a positive note and spark warmth to melt away the winter chill!

What art activities bring you joy?

How will you make time to prioritize artmaking over break?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Rebekah Hower

Rebekah Hower, a middle school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about creating an engaging and relevant environment for students to discover and experiment.

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