Winter Theme for Preschool
This theme includes all kinds of weather! Not only is it windy but there is ice and.......SNOW! Here in New Hampshire, we see LOTS of it! Unfortunately, sometimes it is just too cold to actually go outside and play in it. What do we do? You guessed it: Bring the snow and ice inside!
This page is filled with preschool activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom. Let the Snow Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Winter Theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Materials Needed: Large bucket of snow, white paint, paintbrushes, plastic spoons, blue or black construction paper
Place a small amount of white paint in a cup.
Children add a couple of teaspoons of snow and mix with their paint brush.
Encourage them to paint a snowstorm with their newly made snow!
EXTENSION: Add a small amount of glitter to the paint for a sparkly effect!
Make Your Own SNOW PAINT
Mix 1 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of salt. Mix in 3/4 cup of water and paint away!
Materials Needed: Large bucket of snow, powered tempera paint (any colors will do!); white paper and mittens!
With mittens on, have the children make a snow ball.
The teacher sprinkles some tempera paint onto each child's paper*
Encourage the child to either roll the snowball on the paper or use the snowball as a paintbrush!
VARIATION: Place the paper into a shallow tray or box. Place the paper in the box and sprinkle the powdered paint on the paper. The child then places the snowball on the paper and tips the tray or box back and forth to paint!
VARIATION: Try both the activity or the above variation using ice cubes instead of snowballs.
*Adults only should sprinkle this so that it does not get into eyes.
Colored Ice Cube Painting
Materials needed: Ice cube trays, water, food coloring, craft sticks, aluminum foil
In advance: Fill ice cube trays with water. Place a drop or 2 of food coloring in each compartment. Cover tray with aluminum foil. Gently press a craft stick through the aluminum foil into the middle of each compartment. Freeze overnight.
Remove from ice cube trays. Let children paint on white paper with these. They will color the paper as they melt (we had to let ours sit out for a few minutes before the children could use them to allow the cubes to begin to melt first).
Snow Flake Scenes
Materials Needed: small, round blocks, white paint in shallow trays, light blue paper.
Show the children how to dip the flat, round end of the block into the paint and stamp circles onto the paper. What a scene!
Materials needed: aluminum foil, thinned paint, eye droppers.
Have children drip paint on the edge of the foil. Hold foil up and let paint drip down the foil. Continue with many colors. Let dry. Mount onto black paper. Shine flashlights to reflect the "ice"!
Winter Shaving Cream Storm
Materials needed: shaving cream (NON menthol scented--trust me! Menthol scent will knock you all down when filling the room!); white school glue; paint; paintbrushes
Spray shaving cream into a cup. Mix in a few drops of paint to make a medium tinted color.
Pour in an equal amount of white school glue.
Mix and now paint!
This dries hard..it's like your own puffy paint!
Soft Snow Piles
Materials Needed: Cotton balls and cotton batting (polyfill)
Simply add these materials to your block area with trucks and cars. The children can plow the snowdrifts around!
Table Block Snowmen
Put out your colored blocks and beads. Provide several pre-cut snowmen shapes and encourage the children to use the blocks and beads to make the face, buttons and even the arms! Have many snowmen cut outs available--many of our kids try to recreate what their friend made!
Ice Cube Races
Provide ice cubes and let your children build ramps with blocks. How can they make the ice cube slide down the ramps faster? Slower?
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Winter Theme!
Puppet Show: What's That Falling From the Sky?
Materials Needed: Puppet, ice cubes, metal cheese grater, white paper confetti
Introduce the puppet to the children. "Hi everyone! I'd like you to meet my friend___!" Give the children time to introduce themselves or just say "Hi" to each child with your puppet!
Teacher: Children, what season is it when snow falls from the sky? (Discuss winter with them).
Puppet: Snow falls from the sky? Is the sky falling down???
Teacher: No, no! Snow is just rain that is freezing because it is so cold!
Puppet: Ohhhh....hmmm...what does it look like?
Teacher: Children, can you tell our friend _________what snow is like? (Encourage questions such as what color is it? Is it soft? hard? wet? dry? warm? cold? etc.
Puppet: I wish I could see it!
Teacher: Well, snow melts when it is inside because it is so warm, but here, I'll try to make some to show you. (Place the puppet on the floor so that he is "watching" you. Grate some ice on a metal grater and show the shavings to the puppet and let the children hold some.
Puppet: So that is what falls from the sky?
Teacher: Yes, but sometimes it is much, much more than this! I know, the children and I will make a pretend snowstorm for you! (Give each child a small handful of paper confetti and tell them to hold on to it.)
Teacher: Ok children. Let's count to 5 and when we say 5, we will ALL throw the paper in the air and pretend it is snowing! Ready, count with me! 1...2..3..4..5..
The children will be very excited! Have the puppet thank them for teaching him about snow.
If the children still have attention to sit, you could ask them what they like to do in the snow and write down their answers on a chart! (Play, make snowmen, snowball fights, etc.)
5 Little Snowmen Fingerplay
Materials Needed: None
Tell the children to hold up one hand and pretend that their fingers are snowmen. Say the following fingerplay with them. Encourage them to count how many are left and sing on with you!
5 little snowmen made of snow.
5 little snowmen in a row.
Out came the sun and it shone all day.
And one little snowman melted away. (put one finger down).
Ask "How many left? Let's count! 1-2-3-4
4 little snowmen made of snow....
repeat until gone.
EXTENSION: Make snowmen out of felt and use a felt board for this activity. Place feltboard and snowmen in Library center for the children to use during Interest Center time.
EXTENSION: Make snowmen out of paper and have at the math table for the children to use and recount while singing the song.
January's a cold month- Shiver, shiver, shiver!(wrap arms around self and shake) Button up (pretend to button your coat) Cover your ears (pretend to put on your hat) Quiver, quiver, quiver
A Chubby Little Snowman
A chubbly little snowman Had a carrot nose (point at nose) Along came a rabbit (Make 2 fingers hop like a rabbit) And what do you suppose? (Put arms out and shrug shoulders)
That hungry little rabbit (2 fingers hopping) Looking for his lunch (Put hand above eyes as though searching for something) At that little snowman's nose (pretend to grab your nose) Nibble, Nibble, CRUNCH!
There Was a Little Snowperson
There was a little snow person and there she sat (point at the floor) There are her buttons and there is her hat When the sun came out She couldn't stay Slowly, she just melted away.
Variation: Place a hat, buttons and pour some water on the floor before the children get to circle for a great effect!
Winter Mitten Match
Cut out pairs of mittens. You will give one child a mitten and another child a mitten that matches. The colors that you cut out will depend upon the skill you are working on. For example, if you are working on colors, cut out 2 of each color. Give child 1 blue, child 2 red, child 3 green, child 4 blue, child 5 red, child 6 green.
If you are working on numbers, cut out all of the mittens in the same color and write the number 1 on two of the mittens, etc.
What you are trying to do is to make sure each child's mitten matches one other childs.
Then ask: Who has a green mitten? (Color identification) or Cheryl, what color is your mitten? Green! Right! Does anyone have a mitten that matches Cheryl's?
Do the same thing with numbers or patterns.
VARIATION: After giving out matching mittens, play some music and when the music stops, each child needs to find their match!
EXTENSION: Place these mittens at the math/manipulative table for the children to work on matching in a smaller group setting or on their own.
What We Do In The Snow-Class Book
At circle time, ask the children what they like to do in the snow. Write down their answers. Encourage them to draw a picture of them doing that activity in the snow.
Write their description on the picture, make a cover for the book, staple it and read it at your next circle time!
EXTENSION: If you have small pictures of the children, tape their picture onto their page. Place the book in your class Library. I promise you, it will be read a lot!
Mittens or Gloves Graph
Materials Needed: a pair of gloves, a pair of mittens, graphing chart (described below) and a marker.
Make a chart with two columns. The first column should have a picture of gloves and the word "GLOVES". The second column should have a picture of mittens and the word "MITTENS".
Show the children the mittens and pass them around. Then pass around the gloves. Ask the children to describe the similarities and the differences.
Ask them if they wear mittens or gloves?
Have the children write their name* under the correct picture on the graph.
Count how many wear mittens. How many children wear gloves? Do more children wear gloves or mittens?
Post the chart for the children and families to see.
*Encourage your children to print their names as best they can, even if they can only print the first letter of their first name. Practice, practice, practice!
You could also have their names pre-printed on pieces of paper and have them identify their name tag and then tape it to the graph.
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific winter theme questions while making these fun snacks!
Ingredients and Items needed: 2 cans of low sodium vegetable broth; 2 carrots, fresh green beans, potatoes, red peppers, pepper, thyme, oregano; vegetable peeler, plastic knives (for children to use) and a sharp knife for you to use; crock pot.
This activity is best done in small groups (1 teacher, 2 children). Help each child peel some of a carrot and/or potato; cut green beans and pepper with plastic knife and put in a pan. You should cut the carrots with the sharp knife. Boil in broth for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Then place in crockpot. Have children help sprinkle a few sprinkles of the spices in the soup. Put crockpot out of reach of children, on high.
Enjoy at snack time!
VARIATION: Precook the above vegetables at home and bring into school. Have children help place them into the crockpot. You can use canned vegetables as well, but fresh is better if possible!
Ingredients needed: Frozen yogurt, bananas and other banana split items! Why not?!
Graham Cracker Snowflake
Ingredients and items needed: Graham cracker squares; small paper doilies; powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar); tray for extra sugar.
Place doily on graham cracker.
Have child shake sugar on.
Lift doily off to see snowflake design. Shake of extra sugar into a tray.
Ingredients and materials needed: Refrigerated biscuit dough; small amount of flour; rolling pin; raisins; thin pretzels; small snow man cookie cutters.
Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface.
Child cuts out a snowman and places it on a cookie sheet.
Bake as directed.
Give children raisins (for eyes, nose and buttons) and pretzels for arms.
Brrr...Get Dressed For the Cold
Materials Needed: Add winter clothing that will fit your children such as boots, heavy coats, gloves, mittens (be careful with scarves- only use them if this area will be supervised. Children tend to make anything long into a leash for their "puppy" friends and someone could get hurt!).
Encourage the children to get dressed to go outside. Great practice for putting on boots and coats and mittens and gloves. Try asking if they can get dressed before the timer goes off (use an egg timer set for 5 minutes) and encourage their friends in the Drama Center to help them!
Materials needed: Table, large white sheets, blankets and mittens, cooking items such as pots, pans, pretend food
Cover the table with large white sheets and play house in an Igloo House. Remind them that their house is made of snow so they will need mittens and blankets.
VARIATION: If you dare! Have 2 igloos and provide sheets of newspaper. Have children crumple into balls and have a good snowball fight!
HUGE VARIATION! Click this link ===> Plastic Milk Container Igloo
This would require you saving many, many plastic milk cartons--as in over 400 of them! Perhaps a plan for next year! Beginning in September, ask your families to bring in CLEAN AND STERILIZED platic, gallon milk containers with the covers. When they are dry, hot glue the covers on and store them until you have enough. I stress the clean and sterile part because if they are not.....well, you can only imagine the smell!
We made this one year in our classroom and it was definitely worth it!
Materials needed: Wading pool or large bin, plastic fish and fishing pole set, or you can use plastic fish and butterfly nets!, campfire (made of firewood or, make one out of paper towel tubes and provide orange and red paper flames); pans to cook on and plates to serve food!
Fish for food and cook on your pretend campfire!
Precut white circles, chalk
Add to your classroom decor after the children have decorated snowballs!
Clip dark colors of construction paper onto the easel.
Place warm water into cups and mix in several spoons of salt. Mix to melt salt.
Dip sidewalk chalk into water and draw!
The salt gives quite the sparkling effect when dried!
Snowman Bean-Bag Button Toss
Make a very large snowman out of paper and tape it to the floor. Draw a face on your snowman. Draw 3 buttons on the snowmans chest. Provide the children with a bin of bean bags and have them toss the bean bags to try and cover the buttons!
Another Snowman to Make
Provide white trash bags and lots and lots of newspaper! The children should crumple the newspaper and toss it into the trash bag.
Fill 3 bags of different sizes to make your own classroom sized snowman!
Winter Clothes Relay
Put the children's coats in a pile. Put their boots or shoes in another pile.
Have the children go in teams to each pile to help find and put on their boots/shoes and coat!
Teamwork, gross motor and self-help skills all in one!
Snowball Throwing Practice
Place a large basket outside for the children to try to throw snowballs into. If you can't get outside, provide clean rolled up socks to aim into the basket as well as different sized balls.
This is fun for those days you are stuck inside!
Place 2 squares of wax paper on a carpeted area. The children stand on the wax paper and can skate on the carpet!
Play music and have the children dance to the beat. Stop the music and yell "FREEZE"! They need to stay very still in the position they are in!
Put the music back on and yell "MELT--KEEP DANCING!". Continue as there is interest.
VARIATION: Rather than dance, have the children come up with one thing they like to do in the snow, such as build a snow man. Have them all pretend to build a snowman until you say "FREEZE", then change what they should do, such as pretending to be sledding down a hill!
Book Suggestions for the Library
The Biggest Snowball Ever! by John Rogan
Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
The First Snowfall by Anne and Harlow Rockwell
Frozen Noses by Jan Carr
It's Snowing by Olivier Dunrea
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan
Snow Dance by Lezlie Evans
Snow Is Falling by Franklyn M. Branley
Snow? Let's Go! by Karen Berman Nagel
Snow on Snow on Snow by Cheryl Chapman
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
The Snow Storm by heather Amery & Stephen Cartwright
There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro
Yay! A Snow Day! by Bill Cosby/Little Bill
Wintertime by Ann Schweninger (book of poems)
Library Wall Winter Theme Decor
Hang pictures on the wall of different types of winter scenes: snowmen, snowstorms, icicles, glaciers, etc. as well as pictures of cold areas of the world like Alaska, Greenland, etc.
If possible, provide winter themed magazines and pictures to look at.
Provide plastic ice cube trays; various colors and shapes of buttons; premade number cards with the numbers you would like to work on with your group.
Have a child flip over one number card.
He then places that many buttons in the first ice cube compartment.
Continue until all 12 compartments are filled.
Be sure to simply let the children sort the buttons by attributes on their own into the ice cube trays.
VARIATION: Instead of ice cube trays, provide muffin tins. Cut out paper circles to fit in each compartment and list a number on each circle. Place in the tin
different types of small manipulatives that can be used to make vehicles or cities! This may include Bristol Blocks, Small or larger Legos, K'nex, Magnet Blocks, etc.
Winter Snowball Counting
Materials: Muffin baking pan; cotton balls; tongs or spoons; precut circles to fit into tins with the numbers on them that you are working on with your children.
Place a number circle in each compartment. Encourage the children to place the corresponding number of cotton balls into each circle, using the tongs.
Build a Snowman
White Playdough, small pebbles (for eyes), small sticks/twigs (for arms); thin fabric pieces (for scarves); very small buttons, sequins or other items (for the buttons on the front of the snowman); small triangle shapes cut out of heavy card stock (for nose); strips of black paper made into a cylander shape for the hat.
In advance, prepare a large batch of your favorite playdough. Do not color it--leave it white. Or, you can purchase a large tub of store made Playdough. Put the other objects out and let the children build their own snowman! Great winter display!
If you make your own hardening playdough, the children can take these home is a few days to keep!
Winter Estimation Station
Materials Needed: Precut snowmen of different sizes (not too large!); lots and lots of cotton balls or pom-poms!
Have the children "guess" how many cotton balls or pom-poms it will take to cover the snowman. Have them place the items, one at a time, on the snowman while counting out loud.
EXTENSION: Record their estimates next to their names. Or have them record their estimate! And then record the actual number!
Icy Hand Dancing!
Materials needed: A bowl of ice cubes (do not let the children see them!); a metal tray; a CD player.
Tell the children you are going to drop something and ask if they can guess what it is. Drop an ice cube on a metal tray. Let them guess! Try a few more times. If they don't guess, give clues (It's cold. It's hard. etc.).
Have the children sit in a circle. Tell them they are going to pass the ice cube around the circle as the music plays. When you pause the music, they should freeze (HA- get it!) and the child with the ice cube holds it while you count to 1. Play music and repeat, next time count to 2. Next time ask, what number is next? We counted to 1 and then to 2? Continue as there is interest!
EXTENSION: To get them up and moving, play a game of "Freeze Dancing" with the music! If you're really brave, give them each an ice cube to dance with!
What I Do In Winter
This is more of a chant than a song. Have the children act out what you fill in the blank:
It's snowing, it's snowing, I'm _____________ this morning.
Suggestions: I'm shoveling; I'm putting my boots on; I'm shivering; I'm throwing snowballs; I' building a snowman. Ask the children for ideas as well!
VARIATION: You could act it out and let them try to guess what you are doing and then act it out with you!
Crushed Ice Winter Storm!
Materials Needed: Crushed ice, scoops, cups, spoons, mittens
Cold but fun!
Colored Winter Wonderland
Materials Needed: Colored Ice Cubes, mittens, bowls, tongs
In advance, freeze water in ice cube trays, mixing a drop or 2 of food coloring in each compartment to make different colors.
VARIATION: Try freezing the water in different shaped cups or bowls.
Sand the Icy Roads
Materials Needed: Sheets of ice; play sand; ice cubes; toy trucks and cars
In advance, freeze thin layers of water in shallow trays (like foil cookie sheets). Place sheets of ice in the water table and provide the children with cups of sand to put on the ice to sand the roads! We have actually placed the actual sheets with the ice in it directly into the water table rather than chancing having the sheets of ice break while taking them out!
This stuff is SO cool! It can be purchased at a teacher store or some department stores have it as well. It is so much fun to make with the children!
Place several tablespoons of Insta-Snow into a plastic up for each child.
Have them hold their cups over the water table.
Pour warm water in, quickly, as they hold the cup to fill the cup to the top with water.
Have children wait....within seconds the snow will begin to overflow the cups!
Empty cups of snow into the table. As the children handle it, it will fluff up a bit more!
You can also put a few teaspoons in each child's hand and pour water into their hands. It feels really cool as it "grows"!
Insta-Snow is NON Toxic. It is a polymer and is cold to the touch when mixed with water!
It was actually a mistake made by a Japanese company. They were working with polymers to make a substance for inside of diapers (you know, that gel-like polymer that collects all of juniors...well, you know!) but the incorrect amounts were put in. Imagine if THIS stuff were in diapers??!!!
Check out this cool video showing how it works!
Click this link => Insta-Snow In Action!
Winter is Melting!
Materials needed: Chart paper; a marker; a bowl of snow (or an ice cube).
In advance, write these three questions on the chart paper: At the top write in large letters: WHAT IS SNOW (OR ICE) MADE OF?
2/3 of the way down, draw a thinck line across the paper and under the line write in large letters WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THIS SNOW (OR ICE)?
Near the bottom of the page, draw another thick line and under it write "WHAT HAPPENED?"
Talk to the children about the snow or ice, how it is made. Ask if they know what it is made of? List their answers on the chart paper under the first question.
Then ask what they think will happen to the snow (or ice cube) if you just sit the bowl on the science table and not touch it all morning? Record those answers as well.
At the end of the morning, gather as a large group and look at the snow (ice). Ask, "What happened?" Record what happened next to or under the last question.
Leave the chart paper for the children to observe during the day.
EXTENSION: After it is completely melted, ask the children how they think it can be made into ice? Record answers and try some of them! (put it outside, leave it in a dark room, put it in the freezer). Record the results the next day! You may want a new chart paper for this one as well!
Materials needed: tin can with lid removed (a clear glass jar will work also); rock salt, crushed ice.
Have children put 2 cups of crushed ice in the can or jar.
THE ADULT adds 1/2 cup of rock salt and mixes.
Let sit for about 30 minutes (cover so that the children can not touch the rock salt).
In about 1/2 hour, you should see condensation on the outside. If you leave it even longer, you will begin to see frost!
Materials Needed: 3 large bowls, water and a towel to dry hands.
Place water in the three bowls- the first with hot-ish water, the second with warm and the third with cold water.
Put one hand in the hot water and one in the cold at the same time. Now quickly put both hands into the warm water.
Amazingly, your cold hand will feel hot and the hot hand will feel cold!
Materials Needed: plastic bowls, items from outside (twigs, leaves, rocks, etc.); a piece of ribbon for each child; water
Fill each bowl about half way with water.
Ask each child to guess if the item they are going to put in the water (twig, leaf, rock, etc.) will sink or float. Have them place it in. Where they right? Repeat for each item except for the ribbon.
Now, place the ribbon so that both ends are in the water and a "loop" is out.
Place bowls in the freeze overnight.
The next day, when you remove the ice from the bowls, there will be the ribbon loop sticking out of the frozen water so that you can go outside and hang it from a tree!
EXTENSION: Take guesses about what will happen, how long till they melt, etc.! If you can't get outside, be creative! See if you can hang them somehow in the classroom perhaps over the water table where it can drip while you watch!
Fill spray bottles with water colored with food coloring. Bring them outside and let the children spray the snow! If you can't get outside try this:
Bring in different sizes of bowls of snow, spray them with the water bottles and then let them melt. Once melted, freeze them overnight.
The next day, put the different colors and sizes of ice in a bin (or your water table) and let the children sprinkle salt on them! They'll be amazed at what the salt does to them!
How Cold Is It Today
Provide several thermometers for the children to look at. Discuss how they measure how cold it is, that the line goes up when it is warmer, etc.
Place one outside to check the temperature. Record the temperature each day.
Provide extra thermometers and many cups of water at different temperatures for them to experiment to see what each type of water does to the thermometer.
Window Fog Pictures
C'mon! Be brave!
Wash the outside front glass door. Let the children "breathe" on the glass to see the fog and then draw pictures on it! Explain why this happens: the outside air is cold and the air in their mouths is warm and that makes fog!
Clean the door and let a few more children make fog! (For germ reasons! only allow a few children at a time do this.)
Coffee Filter Snowflakes
Materials needed: round coffee filters; scissors.
Have the children write their names as best they can on the coffee filter.
Show the children how to fold the filter in half and then half again.
Show them how to cut little snips out and then have them practice fringing the bottoms.
Remember, these will NOT be elaborate! It is about the process of using the scissors and developing those muscles for future writing! This is NOT about the end result of the snowflake! I do NOT recomend making a model to show them! As adults, we tend to get pretty detailed with all the little cuts we make. This will only frustrate preschoolers.
Write their names in pen on their snowflake and hang from the ceilings to have a winter wonderland in your classroom!
Winter Letter Match
In advance, cut out 26 snowflakes. Print one letter in the middle of each snowflake.
Cut out 26 circles that will fit in the middle of the snowflakes. Using dashes or dots, make the shape of one letter in each circle. Laminate the circles.
Provide the children with dry-erase markers and encourage them to trace the dots/dashes on the letter and then match it to the snowflake.
VARIATION: Have the children find the snowflakes with the letters of their name on them and spell out their name with the snowflakes. Then have them find the matching letter circle, trace the letter with the dry-erase marker and match it to the snowflake.
VARIATION: Rather than make all 26, just make snowflakes for the letters you have already covered with the children.
No need to plan a trip this time of year! Just take a walk! Look for winter changes: no more leaves on trees; abandoned birds' nests; snow; ice; animal tracks!
Contact your local Highway department or department that plows the roads to come in with their truck and talk about what they do, how early they get up, etc. Or, check with your families- does someone own a snow plow truck that they can bring by?
There are many opportunities with a Winter theme for visitors to your classroom! Survey parents for opportunities as well as your local community!