So winter break is here, and you’ve just settled down for a much-deserved long winter’s nap—or at least a little rest and relaxation. You have some great book recommendations (both educational and just for fun), and you have a list of great Imagine This! posts to catch up on. What else do you need? More educational resources? Some news resources so you can catch up on what’s going on around the world? Maybe a few fun time-wasters? Then this is the post for you, my friend. Here are a few of my personal favorite websites, with plenty to keep you occupied until school is back in session. You might even get some good ideas for lesson plans in the coming new year!

Catch up on the news

National Geographic: This is, by far, one of my favorite websites out there. Great stories, beautiful pictures—it’s the magazine you love, without the paper cuts.

Digg: This is a resource that gathers up-to-date stories from sites all over the Internet. You can browse all of the news topics or narrow it down to areas such as business, science, and world news.

Work off those holiday pounds

FitByFun: This site takes you on a little workout led by an adorable cartoon character. It’s fun and it gets you moving! Plus, it’s really hard to get mad at a cartoon character when it asks you to run in place for a few more minutes.

Come up with a few new lesson plans

Free Technology for Teachers: This winner of the 2010 Edublog Awards is a great resource for finding technology resources to use in the classroom. It also has wonderful ideas for lesson plans. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning: This is another 2010 Edublog Award winner. It’s Australia-based, but the ideas can be used in classrooms all over the world. There are lots of ideas for creative activities and games that help students learn as they play.

Math Playground: This site has short, interactive games that teach important math skills to students in pre-K through grade six.

Fodey: This website is so cool. It generates a realistic-looking newspaper clipping for stories your students write. This can be a great part of any lesson plan about writing or media!

Piclits: This site would be great to use for teaching the parts of speech. Students can choose a picture, and then select nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs to create their own sentence or poem to go with it.

Take time to relax and have fun

Lost in Translation: Maybe this marks me as a language nerd, but I think this website is so funny. Did you ever play the game Telephone? This is kind of like that, except it uses web-based translators instead of whispering. You type in a sentence, which is translated into several different languages, then translated back into English. So “Imagine Learning English is fun for teachers and students!” becomes “Exactly place before, ace, to learn English the restoration for the university professors and the students are!”

Big Fish Games: This is one of my mom’s favorite websites. It seems like she’s always playing a new game she found on Big Fish Games. It’s definitely a great resource for relaxing and keeping your mind sharp at the same time!

Sushi Cat: This is one of my favorite games. It’s actually an iPhone app, but you can play it online as well. You help an adorable, bouncy cat eat lots of sushi. It’s not exactly brain surgery, but it’s a lot of fun.

Make-a-Flake: Do you love making paper snowflakes but hate the bits of paper confetti left over? Head over to Make-a-Flake, where you can create beautiful works of snowflake art and share them online.

Are there websites you love? Let us know in the comments section! And whatever you decide to do during the winter break, be sure to stay safe and have fun. We’ll see you next year!