Winter Activities for Preschoolers

Gather supplies for these heartwarming winter activities.

Winter Activities for Preschoolers

Winter Activities for Preschoolers

The winter season brings colder weather, dressing in warm layers, and drinking hot cocoa. The months of December through February offer plenty of inspiration for winter activities for preschoolers. 

Not only does this time of year allow you to teach new concepts to your class, but you can also use this theme to incorporate activities that promote children’s sensory, fine motor, and communication skills. 

Read on for festive winter activity ideas that are sure to fill those long winter days with learning and fun! 

Winter themes for preschool

As you create your lesson plans, integrate simple, engaging activities using everyday materials that explore the winter theme.

Winter clothes theme

This theme centers around different pieces of winter clothes and the proper way to wear them. Introduce this concept by having children paint or color items like boots, mittens, ear muffs, or scarves on a single sheet of paper. Collect all the drawings, and have the children identify each of them. Ask them questions like, “Emily’s hands are cold. What does she need to keep them warm?

Holiday traditions theme

This is an excellent activity to involve your families in the learning experience and expose your children to new holiday traditions. Have the children tell the class about their family holiday traditions—food, gifts, books, songs, and celebrations. Ask them to bring at least one element of their tradition to show or share with the class.

Gingerbread theme

For this theme, have the children color gingerbread printouts. Using finger paint or cotton swabs, they can paint a gingerbread man on an easel. For a table activity, you can have a gingerbread picture puzzle they can put together. The children can also squeeze playdough into gingerbread-shaped cookie cutters to make little figures.  

Snowflake theme

For an art activity, have the children paint snowflake crafts with shimmery liquid watercolors and stick them on a large piece of paper for a wall display. For a sensory bin activity, add dyed blue and white rice, snowflake shapes, and scoops to a container for the children to play with. You can also challenge children to cut out snowflake shapes from pieces of paper to practice fine motor and scissor-cutting skills

Winter animals theme

While some animals hibernate during winter, others are out and about. Plan activities around both. Consider a puppet show for circle time where the puppet is a winter animal, like a squirrel or beaver. Introduce the animal to the children and have a short conversation with it before reading a winter animal story like When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan. For a dramatic play activity, set up a pretend bear cave with a big stuffed bear inside. Read the book Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson  to teach about the concept of hibernation.

Two young children sitting at a table decorating a gingerbread man cookie


Holiday activities for preschoolers

The holiday season can be a great source of inspiration for your December preschool themes.

Make a marshmallow snowman

This marshmallow snowman activity supports children’s fine motor skill development. You’ll need paper, mini marshmallows, a marker, and pretzel sticks. First, draw three circles on the paper to outline the snowman. Place glue along the circles' edges and have the children place the marshmallows on top of the glue. (You can also use cotton balls in place of marshmallows). Next, glue on the pretzel arms and draw in eyes, a nose, and buttons.

Play with a winter-themed dice

For this activity, you’ll need a large dice. You can buy a dry-erase one from the store or make one with a small gift box. On each side of the dice, write actions like “prance like a reindeer,” “swirl like a snowflake,” and “roll like a snowball.” Then, have each child toss the dice and do the action that the dice rolls on.

Create handprint mittens

This craft makes an excellent holiday decoration gift for family members. For this handprint mitten craft, have the children cover their hands in white paint and press them onto colored paper (let each child pick a color). While the paint is still wet, sprinkle glitter on the hand prints. Using safety scissors, have them cut out the prints in a mitten shape. Then let them glue pom poms to the cuffs and a string to hold them together.

January activities for preschoolers

New year activities for preschool should be fun and educational. Start the year with these exciting activities:

Make confetti

For this activity, you’ll need multiple one-hole punchers. Use punchers that punch out different shapes, like flowers and hearts. Let the children squeeze as many holes as possible on papers of different colors. The squeezing action helps strengthen their finger muscles. Next, use the punched-out shapes to decorate a banner for the classroom, or have the children sort them by color or shape and then throw them in the air.

Create a snow window

This snow window activity is excellent for children’s creative and motor skills development. You’ll need contact paper, painter’s tape, q-tips, cotton pads, cotton balls, and a window. First, tape the contact paper onto the window with the sticky side out. Now, you’ve created a canvas for the children to stick the cotton balls, cotton swabs, and cotton pads, building snowmen, snowflakes, and other creations against a backdrop of the outdoors.

Go on a snowflake scavenger hunt

Hide paper snowflakes or manipulatives around the room for the children to find. Make this activity more interesting by reading a letter from “Mr. Snowman” saying he’s lost a certain number of snowflakes and needs help finding them. Include a picture of a snowflake in the letter so they know what they’re looking for. Once they think they’ve found them all, count them together to ensure they’re all there.

Incorporate winter activities in your lesson plans to reinforce key learning objectives. Download our free daily lesson plan template and customize it to suit your teaching style and children's needs.

Daily Lesson Plan Template - brightwheel-1

Download our free daily lesson plan template!

February activities for preschoolers

The month of February is still a great time to incorporate snow activities for preschoolers and other educational activities inspired by the second month of the year.

Valentine's Day-themed sensory bin

This activity promotes children’s sensory development and fine motor skills. Create a sensory bin with dyed rice, red paper confetti, little heart-shaped paper boxes, and scoops. Place all items in the sensory bin and let the children take over, scooping the rice into the boxes and pouring it back. The act of scooping and pouring strengthens their fingers and hand muscles, preparing them for future writing.

Melting snow experiment

Snow activities for preschoolers aren’t limited to the outdoors. In this science experiment, you’ll bring the snow indoors. Place a small heap of snow on two plates. Leave one heap as is, and sprinkle salt over the other. Ask the children to observe which one is melting faster. You can also use a magnifying glass to closely examine the ice crystals melting.

President’s Day activity

To commemorate President’s Day, have a circle time activity. Ask the children who the president is and what the president does. Briefly explain the president’s duties to them. Share facts about the current president, like his childhood and family. Show them pictures of the president, his family, and the White House.

Black history storytime

Black History Month is officially observed in the United States in February and is a time to recognize and celebrate Black people’s achievements and contributions throughout history. While there are many Black History Month activities you can incorporate in your classroom, books are one great way to introduce this topic to preschoolers:

Candy heart color sort

This color sorting activity helps children learn about color patterning, which facilitates cognitive development. You’ll need a bag of candy hearts and different colored pieces of paper. Have children sort and match the candy hearts to the corresponding colored paper.

Outdoor winter activities for preschoolers

Contrary to popular belief, children need to play outside during winter. Playing outdoors is excellent for getting fresh air, vitamin D, and exercise as long as they're dressed up nice and warm.

Build a snowman

If it snows in your area, this classic outdoor winter activity is a must-do. You’ll need a scarf, hat, branches, carrot, and buttons. Help the children roll and assemble the snowballs and decorate the snowman. Choose a shady area to keep the snowman from melting quickly. You can even go beyond building a snowman and encourage children to make other creations like a castle or an animal. Let them use natural accessories around them, like leaves to decorate.

Young child outdoors in the snow wearing a jacket, scarf, and hat placing a carrot in a snowman’s face


Water-to-ice experiment

Turning water into ice outdoors in winter makes for an exciting science experiment. Fill different sized containers with water at different levels. Challenge the children to observe which freezes faster and which takes the longest. Ask them why they think that is so. Make the activity enjoyable by putting drops of food coloring in the containers before freezing. When it freezes, pop out the colored blocks onto the snow for the children to build something. 

Go on a scavenger hunt 

For this fun outdoor activity, put the children in small groups and create a list of items for them to find, for example, sticks, rocks, pinecones, leaves, and animal prints. Give them a container to collect as many items as they can. Add descriptors like “something smooth,” “something hard,” or  “something brown” to build their observation, categorization, and sensory skills.

Blow bubbles

Blowing bubbles isn’t just a summer activity. The only difference is that during summer, the bubbles pop when they touch a surface, while in winter, they crystallize, forming a paper-thin bubble shell. Watch the children’s amazement at this discovery. Note that this activity works best when temperatures fall below freezing and if the bubble solution is cold beforehand.

Make a simple bird feeder

Use this fun activity to teach the children about the bird species and other wildlife that stick around during winter. Have the children mix nut butter with corn meal, then coat an empty tissue paper roll with the mixture or spread it into a pinecone. Let them roll the paper roll or pinecone in birdseed until fully covered. Tie a string around the pinecone or thread yarn through the paper roll and tie the ends. Hang the bird feeder in a tree and wait for the birds. Have the children describe the birds they see visiting.

A fun-filled and educational winter

There’s no shortage of exciting winter activities for preschoolers. With various themes to explore, you can keep your children busy learning and having fun all season long. A little bit of inspiration and preparation is all you need for a successful winter.

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