Have you ever nestled deep into your softest blanket while cradling a steaming mug of something delicious and wondered, “What is this warm and fuzzy feeling that I’m having right now?”
Well, friends, that feeling has a name. It’s hygge!
Hygge is a Danish word (pronounced “hoo-ga”) that doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but think “cozy vibes,” “warm atmosphere,” and “feeling content.”
Beyond the cozy aesthetics of soft blankets, ample cushions, and candlelight, hygge is really about creating an environment that nurtures well-being, connection, and warmth. With everything going on in the world, I think we could all use a dose of that right now.
So let’s snuggle into this delightful Danish concept and uncover simple ways to bring it into your classroom.
15 Ways To Bring Hygge to Your Classroom
Embracing the spirit of hygge is all about simplicity, warmth, and connection. Here are some activities and low-cost ways to infuse that cozy sense of hygge into a school setting.
1. Host a cozy sock and slipper day.
Encourage everyone to wear their warmest, quirkiest socks and slippers. It’s a fun, lighthearted way to add a touch of comfort to the school day. A cozy-sock exchange for teachers is also a fun community-building activity.
Buy it: Fuzzy heart socks at Etsy
2. Stream soft music and nature scenes.
Source: @jwadsworth8 via YouTube
Play soft music in the background when students are working independently or reading. Classical music or instrumental winter songs can set a cozy mood. My students love December by George Winston.
We adore @SoothingRelaxation, which features music composed by Peder B. Helland. His videos mix beautiful nature scenes with relaxing music. Try turning the lights down after recess and playing Raining Woods. It doesn’t matter how squirrelly they were when they came in, within a few minutes your class will transform into a blissful temple of learning.
Begin or end the day with a few minutes of mindfulness or meditation. This can be done through an app or in person through a teacher-read script or book. Guided sessions focusing on gratitude can be especially fitting for the holiday season.
Buy it: Whoosh! book at Amazon
4. Decorate with lights.
Replace bright fluorescent bulbs with softer, warmer ones. If replacing isn’t an option, consider lampshades or draping light cloths over fixtures to diffuse the light. Better yet, bring in fairy lights or a salt lamp. Try the viral trend of hanging floating candles from the ceiling. Some sets even come with a magic wand to turn them on and off. Check out TikTok’s @everydayadventurers for a quick tutorial on how to make your own for a fraction of the cost.
Buy it: Himalayan rock lamp at Amazon
5. Go on a nature walk.
Embrace the winter beauty by taking students on short nature walks around the school grounds. Create a display area for collected and curated natural items.
6. Bring nature inside.
Together with your students, gather pine cones, twigs, or fallen branches. Arrange them in vases or as table centerpieces in the classroom library or entryway. They add a touch of nature and can be found for free!
7. Make a paper quilt.
Create a paper “quilt” on a wall. Each class member designs a “square” with their idea of coziness. Together, it represents the warmth of the classroom community.
8. Play board games.
Set up a space where students can play board games or work on puzzles. Encourage teamwork and shared problem-solving. My students’ current favorites are What Do You Meme: Family Edition and Herd Mentality.
9. Serve up some hot chocolate.
Using donated or pooled resources, set up a simple hot chocolate station with a Crock Pot of warm cocoa. Bring in mugs from home to make it feel personal. This would make the perfect treat after a nature walk.
10. Cook or bake something together.
If facilities allow, bake a simple recipe together or make DIY no-bake treats. My students had a blast making and tasting bread pudding while we were reading A Christmas Carol. Sharing in the creation and enjoyment of food is a quintessential hygge activity. Bring in families for a pizza-and-movie night or a cookie-decorating party.
11. Create a comfort station.
Set up a comfort station with coloring books, colored pencils, weighted blankets, electric candles, and soft cushions in a corner of the classroom for students to relax and recharge.
12. Make snowflakes or knit a scarf.
Provide materials (scrap paper, old magazines, yarn) for students to craft together. Making friendship bracelets, paper snowflakes, or simple knitting projects can be therapeutic and community-building.
13. Write notes by hand.
Set aside a time and space for students to write notes of appreciation or encouragement to classmates, staff, and family.
14. Share stories.
Designate a time each day or week for shared storytelling. Whether it’s reading aloud from a beloved book or students sharing their own tales, gathering around a story fosters connection.
15. Grow a compliment chain.
Start a paper chain where each link contains a compliment or word of gratitude. Watch as the chain grows throughout the winter.
While trends come and go, we’re crossing our fingers (and toes) that hygge is here to stay. Who can argue against having a little more kindness and coziness in our classrooms and our lives?