If you are one of those teachers that love to get ahead and get your Winter planning done for break – this one is for you! There are so many amazing winter activities that we can do with preschoolers and I have some to share with you today that are student approved!
Hold onto your mittens, because there are enough ideas here for you to fill up your winter lesson plans!
Winter Activities for Small Group
- Snowman Collages: One of my favorite process art activities for winter. Why? Because the results are all so unique and creative! Just set out white circles, buttons, tape, craft sticks, googly eyes, puff balls and small pieces to glue. I don’t tell them how to to use the white circles, that is all their choice. So is the use of the ‘accessories’. (Fine Motor, Creativity)
2. Painting on Ice: Another Process Art activity that is so engaging, yet so easy is painting on ice. Just scoop some ice into a tub, add paint and paintbrushes and let the kids get to work. This also is a great activity to talk organically about melting and mixing. (Fine Motor, Color Mixing, Investigates the property of objects)
3. Ice Escape: Continuing with the theme of ice, we also do an ice escape small group activity. The night before I freeze toys inside a tub of water. Then, children work to free the frozen toys! I give them warm water, droppers and hammers to help them free the toys. (Identifies problems, experiments and predicts solutions, fine motor)
4. Marshmallow STEM: Grab some mini marshmallows and some toothpicks and you have an easy, yet well-love STEM activity. Watching children’s ideas come to life is one of my favorite things about this activity. (Fine Motor, Creativity, Problem Solving, Trial and Error)
4. Winter Loose Parts: I can’t take credit for this one, but it’s amazing. My teaching partner put together a slew of winter themed loose parts and creativity sure did come alive! (Creativity, Problem Solving, Fine Motor, Experiments and Predicts solutions)
Winter Activities for Whole Group
1. The Mitten Re-telling: The book The Mitten by Jan Brett is by far one of the best reads for winter. And after we read this book, we do a re-telling that gets the kids up and moving. First, I create a large mittens shape on the carpet out of masking tape. Then, I give each child a character from the story. We re-tell the story as each child’s character enters the mitten. At the end we act out the bear sneezing and everyone falling out of the mitten. It’s so fun, but also so great for practicing the skill of retelling. (Comprehends and responds to text, Develops a Sense of Story, Exhibits body awareness)
*Find this activity and more in the Winter Literacy Unit.
2. What We Wear in the Winter Shared Writing: I love to bring in some non-fiction read alouds into our units, so we read Hello Winter! by Shelley Rotner. After reading we create a shared writing piece where children help brainstorm things that we wear when it’s cold in winter. I write their suggestion and then they write their letter in the box next to their answer to indicate it was their answer. (Writes symbols and letters, Recognizes that print represents spoken words, Discriminates some sounds in words)
*Find this activity and more in the Winter Literacy Unit.
3. Simple Sentences Shared Reading: For this Shared Reading, I re-write the words ‘The Mitten is’ as well as the draw the mittens in black and write all the but the first letter of the color words. Then, students help add the first letter of the color word and add color to the mitten to match the words.(Writes symbols and letters, Recognizes that print represents spoken words, Discriminates some sounds in words, Practicing left to right-progression and return sweep in reading, Identifying matching words)
Winter Activities for Preschool Centers
Sensory Tub: We use rice, glittery snow from the craft store, snowglobes (with screw off lids) from the Dollar Tree, Polar Animals and Acrylic Cubes (as ice cubes) to create a sensory tub where lots of exploring can take place. We also make sure to add scoops and tongs as tools to scoop and pick.
Art Center: In addition to our Art Cart, we also add themed items to the art center. For winter we like to use ribbon cut into pieces and anything snowflake shaped.
Light Table: This one is a bit messy, but very engaging. Add some blue food coloring to a bag of salt and mix around. Add the rice to a clear bottomed tray, place on the light table and add a paintbrush. Children can use the paintbrush to write letters or shapes. Then, I teach them how to *gently* shake the tray to erase the writings.
Fine Motor Trays: We LOVE using trays anytime it makes sense (which is quite often)! For winter we’ve create many fine motor trays, but here are two ideas for you to get your mind jogging at the possibilities! A Penguin Small World with blocks wrapped in white paper, white pom poms, penguins and a paper mirror. Also we used a Mancala board with tweezers and pom poms, buttons and dragon tears.
Writing Center: What do you see a lot of at the beginning of the year? Calendars! We get out some old calendars for children to explore in the writing center. We also tape some foil to a tray and add a dry erase marker (and eraser). The foil is fun to write on and creates just another engaging way to encourage writing. We also switch out the Writing Center and do the Winter Writing Invitation that goes with The Mitten story by Jan Brett.
Drama Center: I think the Winter Wonderland Drama Center is one of my preschoolers’ top 5 drama centers we do. Who doesn’t want to go “ice skating” in socks? We tape a laminated piece of white butcher paper to the floor and children can ‘skate’ in their socks. We also have a boxed snowman wrapped in white paper. Children can make Hot Cocoa and they can scoop up snowballs with a kid sized shovel.
Playdough Center: Two words: Glittery Playdough. It’s what is in in the playdough center – white glittery playdough that students can explore and create with. We also provide items for them to add to a snowman, if they choose to make one. Buttons, pieces of ribbon, cut pipe cleaners.
Math Center: Games and Manipulatives are the two things that go into our math center and most the time, the activities live on trays. I love incorporating games – we first do them in small group – then they go into the Math Center. The Math Games seen below are the Fill It Up Game and the Add One, Take One Game.
Feeling more motivated to get your Winter Lesson Planning DONE?!
Here is a quick list of all the Winter Resources I have available that can make planning a breeze!