Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for Winter
Find more Winter Activities for Pre-K
Check here for a complete list of Books about Winter
Winter Large Motor Games
Have each child place their feet on two paper plates (one foot on one plate). They should move around the room, sliding their feet along as if they are skating. A “freeze” game could also be played by starting and stopping music and calling for everyone to “freeze”.
Winter Fine Motor Skills Activities
White play dough and small toy polar animals (reindeer, polar bears, penguins, artic wolves, etc.) are placed in the play dough area. Children make animal tracks in the “snow”. The animals pictured are from the Penguin Toob and Arctic Animals Toob by Safari Ltd. These sets are perfect for making animal tracks because the features on the animals are very detailed and make accurate footprints.
Winter Art Activities
Long before Sheryl from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds had a site of her own, she shared this great snowman art project with me, and permitted me to include it on my website (thank you, Sheryl!) Children glue 3 sizes of white paper doilies onto large blue construction paper (12×18). They identify the large, medium and small doilies, gluing them in order from the bottom to the top. I set out several kinds of collage materials: colored craft pompoms, colored buttons, yarn, pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes, tissue paper squares, popsicle sticks, and small craft foam squares. All of these materials are inexpensive; I was able to find the 3 sizes of doilies, pompoms, pipe cleaners, colored buttons, and popsicle sticks at the Dollar Tree. I tell the children to decorate their snowman any way they chose and use any materials they choose. These turned out so cute and unique to each child. I like this because it’s more open-ended than most art projects. Tip: Use a divided chip and dip tray to hold the collage materials. This makes it easier for the children to see the materials and get what they need. If three sizes of doilies are unavailable, you can use two same-sized doilies for the snowman.
Play Dough Snowmen
Make snowmen with white play dough and provide kids with collage materials they can use to add their snowmen. Collage materials, such as pipe cleaners, pony beads, buttons can be used to make hair, eyes, nose, and mouth. Some children used wiggle eyes and some used pony beads for the eyes. We tied around a scarf cut from felt.
We actually used white Model Magic for ours so they would dry and the kids could keep them. These turned out so adorable & each one is unique. The kids loved them & can’t wait to take them home.
Have children draw a picture themselves and their friends playing outdoors on a piece of blue construction paper. Oil pastels work well on colored construction paper. Pour a small amount of white tempera paint onto a small plate or shallow bowl. Have the children dip a cotton ball into the white paint and press it all around their paper to make snow.
Trace and cut out a mitten shape for each child (use thicker card paper, old file folders, or posterboard). Punch holes around the outline of the mitten, and tie a piece of yarn to one of the holes. Have children lace the yarn through the holes like a lacing card. When they are finished, children can color the mitten to decorate it.
Place a doily on a paper plate. Use a sponge to sponge-paint over the doily with blue paint. After covering the whole plate, remove the doily to see the snowflake design.
Winter Literacy Activities
Shaving Cream Snow
Children practice writing their name or letters with their finger in shaving cream “snow”.
This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling
Winter Bingo Stamping Game
Read about and print the Snowman Bingo Game here.
Winter Math Activities
Build-A-Snowman Math Game
Children roll a die, identify the numeral and count out that amount of snowman pieces. They add the pieces of snowman (there are 10 pieces in all) until they have completed it. The pieces are two white felt circles (the stiff kind of felt), black felt hat, blue felt scarf, two wiggle eyes, orange felt nose, 3 buttons.
Children bring mittens or gloves from home. We graph them on the floor mat and compare and count the two sets to see which has the most.
I use snowman and snowflake Martha Stewart craft punchers to cut out the pieces from construction paper. Children glue the cutouts on the paper pattern strip. You can do AB, AABB, ABC, ABB, AAB, etc. Find the Pattern Grid Printable here.
I use snowman and snowflake Martha Stewart craft punchers to cut out the pieces from construction paper. Give each child a bowl of assorted paper cutouts. Have them sort the paper cutouts onto the sorting sheet and glue them on. Find the Sorting Sheet Printables here.
I use snowman and snowflake Martha Stewart craft punchers to cut out the pieces from construction paper. Print out the numeral sheets. Have children count out the correct amount of paper cutouts to glue onto the numeral. Find the Number Printables here.
Purchase white craft pom poms in three different sizes (these are available at any craft store). Obtain three different sized jars or boxes and attach the snowman size cards on each jar/box: small, medium, large. Place all of the white pom poms (snowballs) in one container and have the children sort them by size in the jars/boxes.
Winter Grid Game
Read about and print here: Grid Games
Winter Science Activities
Melt Ice with Salt
A day in advance, children fill small paper cups with water and put them in the freezer overnight. The day of the experiment, the children peel the paper off of their ice and place it in a disposable bowl. We use an eyedropper to place drops of colored water on the ice to add color, then the children sprinkle on some salt, and observe what happens. When we do this, the salt seems to “eat away” at the ice, and with the food color added, it looked like colored crystals.
Ice Cube Art
Each child chooses two colors of powdered tempera paint to spoon onto a paper plate. We use an ice cube on a popsicle stick to swirl around the plate, watching and waiting as it melted, mixing with the paint and blending the colors. Children can see how long it takes for the ice to melt.
Ramps & Pipes
Children use long boards, pieces of cardboard, PVC pipes, and paper towel tubes to make ramps, and drop ice cubes down the ramps.
Cryogenics is the study of the effects of freezing temperatures on different materials. In this activity, we place four different substances (water, liquid soap, vanilla pudding, and honey) into small cups, then freeze them. After they are frozen (the next day), we take them out to observe and touch to see what effect freezing had on the substances.
Children drop colored water onto crushed ice to watch the colors travel down through the ice pieces and blend with other colors.
Go for a winter walk around the neighborhood or schoolyard together. Talk about the changes they see in nature. How do the trees look now that is different from summer? How does the grass look? How does the sky look? Are there any (or many) animals around? Are there any flowers?
Add books that show pictures that represent the winter season. You can also take photos of the trees and other plant life around your school showing how they look in winter to display in the science center.
Winter Cooking Activities
Place two English muffin halves on a plate, one above the other, like a snowman. Spread cream cheese or white cake icing on the muffins. Add M&M candies or raisins for the eyes and mouth. Add a baby carrot for the nose. Add a piece of a fruit leather strip (fruit roll-up) for the scarf.
Dramatic Play Center
Include a basket full of winter clothing: mittens, hat, scarf, pans, boots, scarf, coat. This goes well with the book Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London.
Add white polyester that children can add to the structures they build for a snowy winter setting. Take a photo of each child dressed in their winter clothing, cut out the photos and attach them to a block so they will stand up straight. Children can use these as people “figures” of themselves in their block structures.
Find more Winter Activities for Pre-K