Baby It’s Cold Outside!

The seasons are changing once again!  At least around these parts, the temperatures are dipping, the snow’s beginning to fly, and little children are once again fascinated to watch their own breath floating in front of them outside!  I’ve collected a list of some of my favorite winter-themed activities for you to use with your preschoolers- whether as part of a formal preschool curriculum, as play group activities, or as projects to do around the kitchen table!

Exploring the theme of winter provides many opportunities for variety of developmental objectives.  Aside from specific activities that each promote different developmental strengths, the topic of winter itself is, in general, a science topic.  Taking time to explore outdoors and to observe the characteristics of the changing seasons builds earth science knowledge as well as promoting questioning and discovery as part of that scientific process.  Sensory skills are certainly involved as they collect that information!  Winter is also a perfect time to explore the changing states of water into ice and snow and back again.  (And back to ice again.  And back to water again.  They could do that all day…)

Start out by just discussing some of the changes the children are noticing.  You may need to guide them by asking questions like: “How does it feel outside?”  “What do you see outside?”  “What kind of clothes do you wear outside?”  This discussion could be particularly meaningful after the children have just come in from outside time or just arrived at school.  Talk about their observations and make mental notes, or create a chart together, to record their ideas.  Their comments may give you new ideas for avenues to explore!  You may also want to revisit your Four Seasons chart to illustrate the changing seasons and connect to their existing ideas and experiences from their fall activities.

So here’s the list of activities!  I’ll link back to this post as I add more details for specific activities.  So bundle up and enjoy this new, cold season with your little ones!

Sensory Activities:

Rice in the Sensory Table – (Either Colored Rice, or just plain white for the “snowy effect”.  I add scoops, funnels, and cars and soon we have a snow storm on our hands!)

Ice Sculptures

Iced Shaving Cream

Bring in the Snow!

Creative Art Activities:

Crayons and Watercolors -  (Use white crayons on white paper and then paint with watercolors.  The children can do the coloring or you can leave “secret messages” or draw snowflakes for them to find as they paint.)

A Brainstorm of Snow Storm Paints

Snow Scene Collage

Snow Dough

Songs, Fingerplays, and Games:

These are the Four Seasons (Yes, again!  It’s a new season!)

Five Little Snowmen

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Creative Movement

Mr. Bear

Snow Clouds

Snowman Play and Freeze (From Snowmen at Night Book Activity, but you could continue to use the game independently)

Mitten Match

Snacktime:

Snowflake Tortillas

Snacks to Warm You Up

Fresh Snow Ice Cream!

Outside Activities

Book Activities:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Whole Language - “What do you like to do in the snow?”)

All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle (Snowman Craft)

Snowmen at Night  by Caralyn Buehner (Snowman Play and Freeze Game)

Snip, Snip, Snow! by Nancy Poydar (Filter Flakes)

Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kuskin and Fumi Kosaka (Hat Craft – Patterning)

Author Study: Jan Brett

More Great Winter Books

*By the way, this time of year is also a perfect time to focus on the social skills of service and sharing.  Regardless of your center’s policy about celebrating holidays, you can have a Service Party  with or without the trappings of Christmas, and help your little ones help others!

Stay warm and stay tuned!

Top photo by ivanmarn.

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Filed under Get Outside, Unit Themes

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