early childhood Preschool Winter Theme 
Activities for Teachers of Young Children

A winter garden of preschool learning activities and ideas with early childhood education lesson plans that enhance preschool curriculum. Also, fingerplays, nursery rhymes and art activities wrapped snugly in a winter theme.  Plus, a few melting experiments for young scientists, and you won't even need any snow!


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Preschool Winter Activity Theme

Winter Numberland Winter Numberland
Katy P. creates this file folder activity to help young children use number skills as they match numbers 1 - 10 during a winter theme.

Materials: White paper, contact paper for laminating, file folder, scissors, and tape.

Description: You will need to make 20 snowflakes, but only 10 different patterns, out of the white paper.
To do this you will cut 20 squares of paper to what ever size you want. Then take two pieces of paper at a time and fold them. Next, cut to make the snowflakes.

Once you have 10 patterns and 20 snowflakes take two snowflakes of like patterns and write the number 1 on one and draw one circle on the other. Take the second like pattern and write the number 2 on one snowflake and draw two circles on the other and so on, until you have done that for all 10 snowflake patterns.I did each number in a different color. Then laminate all 20 snowflakes.

Tape the 10 numbered snowflakes on the file folder and keep the snowflakes with the circles loose. The child can then take a snowflake with the circles, count the circles, and match the number of circles to the number on the snowflakes on the file folder.

The theme Games That Teach: Number, Counting and Early Math Games is in the Rainbow Resource Room


Winter Bulletin Board Idea Winter Bulletin Board Idea
Dawn G. shares this idea for a child & parent pleasing bulletin board which requires children taking turns and cooperating.

Materials:
Snowmen (children created)
Blue poster board
Epson salt
Chalk
Quilting batting
White circles (snowballs)

Description: Ask the children to design a snowman. Mix the epson salt with water and encourage the children to take turns painting the mixture on the poster board (this creates a snow effect). When dried, staple to your bulletin board, the add snowman, snowflakes (with chalk) and batting to create hills. Place the snowmen on the hills as if they are playing in the snow with snowballs.

There are more Art Recipes that add spice to children's creative art & crafts in the Rainbow Resource Room.


Winter Music & Movement Winter Waltz
Encourage older preschool children to move and glide their bodies in different ways with this winter movement activity from Thera H.

Materials:
1. Music CD player with music. Any type of Waltzing music,
2. Two pieces of wax paper per child ( pieces must be big enough so that the child can stand on the wax paper)
3. Lots of room for skating.

Description: Transform your room into an imaginary frozen pond or skating rink. Give the children two pieces of wax paper that they are to stand on. Have the wax paper pre-cut ahead of time. Remind the children that the paper is slippery and the magical skates will work better if they glide, keeping their feet firmly planted on the wax paper. Play some waltzing music and have the children 'feel' the music and skate around.

Comments: The wax paper works well on carpet and tile flooring. Remind the children to skate slowly.

Wintertime
Melanie A. offers this action winter poem suggesting that you make up hand movements. 

 Winter Time Poem
  by Mary Ryer

 Icy fingers, icy toes, 
 Bright red cheeks and bright red nose. 
 Watch the snowflakes as they fall, 
 Try so hard to count them all. 
 Build a snowman way up high, 
 See if he can touch the sky. 
 Snow forts, snowballs, angels, too, 
 In the snow, so white and new. 
 Slip and slide and skate so fast. 
 Wintertime is here at last.

 Sock Snowmen
Older preschool and kindergarten learn about estimation and have fun making a snowman that they can take home during this winter activity from Shannah S.

Materials: Rice, white adult socks, colored children's socks, hot glue gun, hot 
glue sticks, rubberbands, jingle bells (optional), toothpicks, black and orange 
paint. various fabric pieces, various colored buttons. The hot glue gun is for adult use only!

Description: Place a white sock in a 8 oz. drinking cup, opening the top of the 
sock and folding it over the rim of the cup.  With a 1 cup measuring cup have 
the children estimate how many cups of rice it will take to fill the sock in order to make a snowman body. Have each child fill their sock about ¼ of the way and put a rubber band around it. Repeat this process two more times to create the snowman body.

Have each child count how many cups of rice it took to make their snowman. After making each part of the body, with the rubberbands, hot glue around the rubber band and squish it down. Fold the remainder of the white sock down to create the rim of the hat. Take a children's colored sock, cutting the toe out and cut strips up to where the cuff of the sock begins. Place over the top of the white sock to make a colored hat. Rubberband the colored hat where the strips end and the cuff of the sock begins ~ to create fringe like strips hanging off of the hat.

Glue under the colored hat to attach it to the white rim part of the hat, leaving some white showing. Have the children paint a face on the front of the snowman, and cut strips of fabric.  Tie the strips around the neck to create a scarf. Then
cut strips at the end of the fabric to create fringe on the scarf.

Have the children color the pointy part of a toothpick orange with an orange marker, and glue on as the nose.  Place 3 buttons down the front of the snowman and add bells if desired.
 

Seasonal Attendance Chart
Julie encourages preschool and kindergarten children to participate in this early childhood name recognition activity by letting each other know who is at circle time.

Materials: A bare winter tree.  The size of the tree depends upon how much room you have or how much room you want to use.  Seasonal cutouts corresponding in size to your tree.  Those cutouts would include apples, leaves, turkeys, snowflakes, hearts, shamrocks, whatever you want to use to write the children's name on. 

Description: Everyday at the beginning of circle time each child takes a turn at finding his or her name and putting it on the tree.  The teacher needs to put the names off to the side before the children begin each morning. 

Comments: This leads into a discussion of the different seasons and holidays.

The Name Recognition Activity Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.
 

Winter Clothes
Preschool children learn body parts, use descriptive terms and memory skills during this winter activity from Aileen D.

Materials: Different style or color of winter clothes (several hats, mittens, scarves, etc.) 

Description: One student will be chosen to be the "snowman" that you have to dress.  Put scarf, mittens, etc. on the snowman and have the other students close their eyes.  Change one clothing item ( e.g.. put a different hat on) or take a clothing item away.  Ask the children to uncover their eyes and guess what is different about the snowman.  Make sure they are descriptive and don't just label.
 

Winter Clothes Mobile
During this early childhood education activity by Wendy youngsters use fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and cutting skills.

Materials: Hats, mittens, coats and boots tracers.  Yarn and various collage materials.

Description: This is a week long project.  We start on Monday with the hat. The children choose which hat they want to trace, then trace it, cut it out and decorate it.  On Tuesday we work on the coats, Wednesday the mittens and Thursday, the boots.  The children trace all of these and cut out all items and decorate them.  Friday is spent finishing up.  As the week goes along the teachers punch holes and connect the pieces together.
 

Winter Snow Recipe
Here is a classic recipe for winter painting from Patty.

Materials: Soap flakes, water, liquid starch, and white powdered tempra.

Description: Mix soap flakes with water into a thick paste. Let children mix with a hand beater. Add a small amount of liquid starch and tempra. Let children create designs by painting with this mixture.

There are lots of Art Recipes & Activities in the Rainbow Resource Room.
 

Winter Wonderland
Melissa G. offers this warm weather winter project saying, "I live in West Texas and this is as close as we can get to a winter snow day."

Materials:  1 large box, white paper and glue.

Description: This is a messy but fun project. Starting a few days ahead, teachers paint the box white, cut a U shape on one side of box then, bring box into class. Ask the kids (2 at a time) to sit inside the box and cut or shred paper. Save the paper at the end of the day in a bag. Keep putting the larger pieces of paper back into the box to be cut into smaller pieces. When you have collected enough paper you announce to the class, "Tomorrow it's going to snow in our classroom."

The next day teachers turn the air conditioner on to make it chilly and you can add ice to the sand/water center, Bring in the bag of collected paper and start throwing the shredded paper in the air to make a snow storm. You can also wad up paper to make snow balls for throwing. 

To clean-up this mess you can glue the paper that was on the floor onto the white box and create an igloo. You can also cut large paper circles out of butcher block paper and glue on snow (paper) to create snow men. At the end of your Snow Day if there is still paper around, you can put a trash can in the room and say, "First to finish picking up paper will receive a treat!"  I give candy smarties. Hope you 
have as much fun as we do! 

Comments: You may wish to decorate your classroom with snowflakes that you can hang from the ceiling.  To the home center add mittens, gloves, hats, scarfs, even an over sized coat.

 

snowmanFive Little Snowmen
Jennifer B. suggests several activities and includes ideas for both hearing and visually impaired preschool children saying, "The students will participate in singing and dramatizing the song "The Five Little Snowmen".

Materials: Chart with words of the song, real hats for dramatics, puppets, models or cut outs if used to illustrate the song.

Description:
1.  Children will be seated in circle time. Sing song facing children. Repeat, moving hand across the words on the chart. Or, By eliminating puppets or props one by one and allowing participation if any children wish. Improvise your tune.

Five Little Snowmen fat,
Each with a funny hat (point to head)
Out came the sun and melted one.
What a sad thing was that!
DOWN, DOWN, DOWN!
(exaggeratedly slow, while melting to the floor)
2. Children sing while five children at a time wear hats of their choice and act out the melting at end.

3. Suggested adaptations:
Hearing Impaired: Hold up picture cards, or use stick or bag puppets eliminating one each verse.  Use manual signs, make sure you are facing the child.
Visually impaired:  Make the song into fingerplay, letting children count down  on fingers as they sing. Let the child feel the hats, choose a hat, participate in   the dramatization. Provide tactile experiences.

4. Enrichment activities:
Art: Provide materials for creating snowmen on dark paper. White & light colored chalk, whipped soap, cotton, oatmeal, rice and paint. Add paper & fabric scraps, raisins, buttons, beans etc. for the snowman's features.
Food: Create "Rice Cake Snowmen" with cream cheese, raisins, baby carrots, etc.

Snow ice cream
Blend: 2½ cups Milk,
2 beaten eggs, 
1 ½ cups sugar, 
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla 
¼ teaspoon nutmeg 
This forms a custard that should be cooked before adding the snow. In fact, it should be cooked the night before using with snow.  Pour the custard over one gallon of fresh clean snow and Stir until thick.
 

Winter Song
Nancy S. encourages rhyming, music and dramatic play with this song.

Winter SongSnowflakes and Cupcakes
    (Tune: Raindrops and Lemon Drops)
 If all the snowflakes were chocolate covered cupcakes
 Oh, what a snow it would be!
 I'd go outside with my mouth open wide (open mouth and stick out tongue)
 Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
 If all of the snowflakes were chocolate covered cupcakes
 Oh, what a snow it would be!

Comment: A fun follow up would be to make and bake chocolate cupcakes. Kids love to be told that they can stick out their tongues and think it's funny when the teacher does, too!
 

snowmanSnowman Matching Game
This file folder matching game by Deborah H. focuses on color recognition.

Materials: File folder, cut outs of twenty snowmen, twenty colored scarfs for the snowmen and a laminator or clear contact paper.

 Description: Teachers cut out the snowmen and scarves then place a different colored scarf on each snowman and place ten of them on the file folder. I use the   colors: red, orange, green, yellow, blue, violet, pink, brown, black, and white.   Now, laminate the file folder. Next, take the other snowmen and scarves and   laminate them separately.  Cut them out and place them in an envelope on the back  of the file folder for a matching game. 

Comments: I have done this with fire trucks, turkeys, bears, letters, and  different size pumpkins.

If you're looking for a winter theme about Hibernating Animals, you'll find one in the Rainbow Resource Room.

 

Parent Involvement: "Winterfest"
This is how Amy C. brings families and people important to the children into the school to see what they've created and have fun!

 

Materials: Tissue Paper, balloons, helium, glitter, construction paper, markers hot cocoa, cookies and treats, special friends and family. 

Description: When we returned to school after the Holiday break we began preparing for Winterfest in early February.  We made invitations for our families and VIP's from construction paper inviting them to join us for an evening of fun, music and treats to eat. 

Each class chose what they wanted to do in their room.  The kindergartners invented winter theme carnival games for our guests to enjoy.  The Pre-K class decided on a craft project and had everything prepared for their guests to create the project with them and two younger groups enjoyed stories and fingerplays with their special guests. 

After an hour of enjoying individual activities in the classrooms we gathered in the "Great Room" for a sing along led by the children, hot cocoa and yummy treats which were prepared by classroom mothers and fathers.

Each room made their own decorations, but to decorate the "Great Room" the children made snowflakes from tissue paper and we wrote their guests names on them in glitter.  The afternoon of the event we filled balloons with helium and attached the snowflakes to them with different lengths  of ribbon. We let these go in the room and they floated to the ceiling.  We held our sing along under "falling snowflakes" and each guest took home a souvenir with their name on it!

Comments: Several parents remarked how nice it was to have something fun to do at a time of the year when not much is going on.

Lots of activities that teachers can suggest to parents are in Home Activities.
 

Science: " Ice Block Designs"
Children observe how salt melts ice and create colorful designs in large blocks of ice during this early childhood education activity by Marjorie E

Materials: Large ice blocks (We made them by freezing water in empty one gallon milk containers).  When the water is completely frozen, tear off the cardboard 
 container. 
 Coarse salt
 Food coloring 
 Eye droppers

Description:
1.  Place ice blocks on trays covered with several layers of  newspaper.
2.  Children sprinkle coarse salt on top of the ice blocks.
3.  Children drip various colors of food coloring on top of the ice block.
4.  Tunnels of color are created as the salt melts through the ice block.
5.  Put the colorful ice blocks outside.  If it's cold enough, they should stay frozen for several days. Children can continue to examine the melting process during outdoor play. 

Comments: If possible, give each child his or her own block of ice.  They love watching the changes that occur as the blocks melt away!

 

Cooking activitySnack: Winter Snowman
Youngsters use fine motor skills as they create their own winter snack from Diane 

Materials: Large marshmallows, pretzel sticks and raisins.

Description: Give each child 2 marshmallows, 3 pretzel sticks and a few raisins. Have them take a pretzel stick and put it into the middle of one of the marshmallows, then place the other marshmallow on top. Now take the other two pretzels and use them for the arms. Use the raisins for eyes, nose, and mouth. 
Now EAT!

A recipe for Pretzel Letters is in the Food and Nutrition Theme in the  Rainbow Resource Room.

 

Language: Sticker Matching Lotto Games
During these teacher made games by Marty K. preschool and kindergarten children match pictures while developing verbal expression and language skills.

Materials: Packages of winter stickers that contain enough stickers to make one set of "calling cards" and several individual game boards.

Description: Choose winter stickers that will be appealing to children in a specific age group.  Make one set of "calling cards" approximately 2" x 3" in size.  Cut out several individual game boards, I usually make at least 4.  Mark off each board into 6 or more sections that are large enough to place a sticker in.  Vary the stickers so that no 2 game cards are the same.  Also have handy buttons, circle tokens, etc. to use to cover the stickers on the game boards as the "calling cards" are shown as when playing BINGO. 

Place the "calling cards" in a bag, box, basket, or face down on the table. Each child will take a turn to pick a "calling card" and show it to the others in the group.  As a Speech Language Pathologist I use this activity to develop language skills.  I ask the children to describe the pictures by stating a few attributes about the sticker picture or to describe the actions of the sticker characters.  I encourage full sentences that are grammatically correct. 

Comments: Teachers can choose theme based or holiday related stickers.  I have several lotto sets made with Halloween stickers, Christmas stickers, Easter stickers, winter related stickers, and some that depict characters performing various actions, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Disney friends, etc.  The children love this activity and never tire of playing lotto games.

 

Winter art activity and song  Language: Snowy Day Activity and Song
Encourage youngsters to talk about different types of weather as they participate in this art activity and song from Kristy.

Materials: Construction paper, crayons, markers, glue or glue stix and paper circles from using a hole punch constantly.

Description: Have children draw a winter scene onto construction paper using markers and crayons. Coat paper with glue (glue stix work best) then sprinkle paper circles onto paper. The color of the circles doesn't matter. Press circles down to be sure they're stuck. Teach children this song:

Oh, What A Rain!
If all of the rain drops were lemon drops and gum drops,
Oh, what a rain that would be.
Standing outside with my mouth open wide,
AHHH, AHHH, AHH, AHH, AHH, AHH, AHHH, AHHH, AH,
If all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops,
Oh, what a rain that would be.

2nd. verse
If all of the snowflakes were candy bars and milk shakes,
(Continue as with 1st. verse.)

Comments: Using this song, the color of the circles doesn't matter. The children enjoy imagining that the circles are different candies after hearing the song and will have an amazing time telling you about their artwork.

 

Language: What Should I Wear?
Children use weather and clothing vocabulary as they relate clothing choices to weather during this early childhood activity from Pamela W.

Materials: Dress-up clothes for various weather conditions: mittens, winter hats, sunglasses, rain boots, snow boots, sandals, sweater, sun hat, raincoat, winter coat, scarf, bathing suit, etc.

Description: Choose children in turn to be 'dressed up' or dress teacher or a life sized doll.  Teacher describes the weather conditions by saying, "Ooh, I woke up this morning and I looked out the window and it was COLD and SNOWY. What should (child's name) wear?"

Children can call out suggestions and help dress the chosen child in the appropriate outfit.  Children get quite pleased and giggly if they're allowed to 'correct' the teacher's incorrect suggestions too.
penguin waddle   There are Penguin Activities in the Rainbow Resource Room.
 

Winter craft activity  Winter Scenes in Southern Climates
This craft activity by Sharon C. provides students an opportunity to create a winter scene that will illustrate a snowy day. 

Materials: Old Christmas cards with outdoor scenes, white glue and  iridescent white glitter.

Description: This is especially helpful for students who are not able to experience snow because their part of the county is too warm for snow.  I have the students select, from old Christmas cards, an outdoor scene.  They brush on a water and glue mixture over the whole picture.  We then sprinkle the card with the iridescent white glitter.  They are amazed at the results.  I often hear "Ms. Sharon, it's like magic rain."

Of course we have already discussed the change in the season, experienced snow through many books, and spent some time in the walk-in cooler to have an up close and personal experience.  But the true magic of snow is so elusive, this craft helps capture that magic.
The Christmas & Kwanzaa Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.

 

Winter songs3 Songs for Winter
Here are three songs for chilly winter days from Enoka S.  Just add your own tunes.

  Song One
There were five little snowmen,
 Each with scarf and woolly hat,
 Out came the sun and melted one;
 It's sad- But that was that!

 There were four little snowmen etc.

 There are no little snowmen,
 Just scarves and woolly hats,
 Sitting in a puddle
 In a very wet  muddle;
 It's sad -But that is that! 

   Song Two
 A chubby little snowman
 Had a carrot nose;
 Along came a rabbit
 And what do you suppose?
 That hungry little bunny,
 Looking for his lunch,
 Ate the snowman's carrot nose...
 Nibble, Nibble, Crunch!

   Song Three
 The snow flakes are falling, so softly, so gently,
 They fall on the treetops, the grass and on me.
 I build a big snowman, outside in my garden,
 I look through my window and what do I see?

CHORUS:
 My snowman is smiling, he's jumping and waving,
 He picks up a snowball and throws it at me.
 He looks very funny, but only I see him.
 He's my special snowman and always will be.

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