One winter – when my oldest was in preschool – I found myself packing away our Christmas books and feeling like there were more books there than we had actually been able to enjoy before the holiday season had come to an end. As I thought through how I could adjust things to make the mound of books less overwhelming – giving us the freedom to truly enjoy our favorite holiday reads – I decided to separate the Christmas books and the winter books.
Did I have any books that weren’t necessarily Christmas reads, but they were all about snow, snowflakes, snowmen, animals that hibernate in the winter, etc? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! So the following year, I pulled out our Christmas books – Baby Jesus, Christmas trees, jingle bells – it was all there, but I waited until AFTER Christmas to pull out the other winter books.
In this post, I’m sharing our favorite winter read-alouds as well as some activities we like to do along with them!
I like to rotate these books into our Family Room Book Basket. My kids enjoy looking through these books on their own, but I also love settling onto the couch and reading a couple with them each day. Yes, all of us together: from the littlest one on up to my older kids. Cuddling with books is my favorite way to spend a snow day.
Here in the south, we actually don’t get all that much snow, but you know what I mean, right?
This book is great for chatting about animals, habitats, hibernation, etc. We used Art for Kids Hub to help us draw turtles (as well as some other winter animals), and this Numbers Turtle from Leap Frog was a perfect addition for my two-year-old.
This cute little Snowman Sequencing Activity that’s included in Teaching Where You’re Called’s Yearlong Activity Bundle is such a perfect compliment to reading about snowmen.
Her Let’s Make Hot Chocolate one is fun, too, and it pairs perfectly with The Missing Mitten Mystery – and a cup of hot cocoa, of course.
Another fun thing we love to do is gather all of our gloves/mittens (Mommy’s and Daddy’s, too!), and after one person (or team) hides one of each around the house, the other person (or team) has to go find the missing mittens to create pairs. This is SUCH a great way to keep kids moving on a cold winter day when they’re stuck indoors.
Around here, we are big fans of touch-and-feel books, and these were made even more fun when we found read-alouds of them on YouTube. We simply searched the book titles, and there were a handful of different ones. We actually do this with a lot of our favorite stories, and it’s been a fun way to listen to them in a little bit of a different way.
Are you tired of hearing me talk about Art for Kids Hub? This snowman hasn’t been the only fun winter-themed drawing we’ve spotted on there – the hot chocolate drawing he does is cute, too, and while we’re talking about snowmen, it’s a great time to do activities with water – in all its forms!
- Use a water dropper (or medicine dropper) to transfer water in and out of different containers. This can be done on a tray OR in the bathtub!
- Fill a spray bottle with water + 1 drop of blue food coloring. Then head outside and spray designs on the snow! Take winter-themed cookie cutters outside with you, and spray shapes in the snow! (My kids go wild with this!)
- Use 1 cup of water + 1 drop of blue food coloring poured into winter-themed ice cube trays, and create winter ice cubes. Once they’re frozen, drop them down into warm water! Watch the ice cube melt, and watch the water turn blue! (Clear drinking glasses make it easy to observe the process!) Feeling extra brave? Boil that blue water and watch it turn to steam – using all appropriate safety measures for sure! Kids, don’t touch the stove – or the hot water!
Now, on to more fine motor fun!
These fine motor tools are by Learning Resources, and my kids have loved when I’ve turned them loose with one or two of these, a batch of white poms (“snowballs”), and a variety of different containers. We have simply taken “snowballs” in and out of containers, but we’ve also raced each other to fill a container or filled cookie cutters to create a variety of different winter shapes (like a snowman), etc.
We’ve done similar activities using marshmallows – marshmallows that have been left over from our hot cocoa!
These silicone ice cube trays have been fun to fill with “snowballs” or to use for activities like these:
“Aubrey, pick up a snowball and set it down inside one of the snowflakes. Yay! Now let’s pick up two snowballs and set them down inside one of the winter trees.” (Little ones can use their hands – or a fine motor tool.)
“Caleb, use one of the tools to place three snowballs down inside each winter tree. How many snowballs do you have altogether? Did you add or multiply to get your answer?”
Friends, in our homeschool journey thus far, I have found it so helpful to extend simple activities to include all of my kids. This allows us to all be able to learn together – doing ONE activity – but with a different learning goal in mind for each kiddo. Of course this doesn’t work 100% of the time, but I try to find ways to make it happen as often as possible.
Reading, Art, Math, Science, and More!
Cookie cutters and play dough? Sure! I usually save an activity like this for a Friday afternoon – when I’m feeling brave. Play dough has been known to make me extra crazy! haha!
These Play-Doh Minis are perfect for little hands!
(Also Available: Spring – Let It Rain / Summer – Let It Shine / Fall – Let it Fall)
(Also Available: Spring – F is for Fireflies / Summer – F is for Fireflies / Fall – P is for Pumpkin)
The Biggest Snowman Ever (also mentioned above)
This is another fun chance to play the Hide-the-Mitten Game (explained above) OR to simply dress up in warm hats and mittens while you read/listen to the story. Want to sip hot cocoa again? Go for it!
Another great opportunity for science fun – all things water and ice!
Other Activity to Engage the Senses:
- Watch Curious George: Monkey on Ice
- Play Don’t Break the Ice
- Freeze a block of ice. Then use watercolors to paint it.
- Have an ice cream party! (You could even make homemade ice cream). Contrast: Then drink hot chocolate.
- Read Curious George Builds an Igloo
- Use toothpicks and marshmallows to build an igloo.
- Google “How to Build an Igloo” and watch the video!
I love thinking of creative ways to engage my kids’ five senses, and this winter, we are seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting our way through the season, and we would love for you to join us!
Happy Winter, and here’s to #fivesenseslearning – Interested in more ideas like these?