When the weather outside is cold, why not break from your daily routine inside by incorporating some winter-themed activities? Here are five crafts and lessons that make the chilly months both educational and fun.

1.) Teach your students about hibernation.
Young kids love learning about animals, and you can easily explain hibernation using parallels to their own routine and focusing on an animal or two that they’re already familiar with. Share with parents that your classroom is learning about hibernation, and ask them to help children bring in a stuffed bear. Before nap time, they can tuck their bear into bed for the winter while reading a story like Every Autumn Comes a Bear. Teaching students about hibernation is a fun way for students to learn about how animals live during the world’s coldest months.

2.) Investigate animal tracks.
Use animal figurines and white playdough to have your students create animal footprints! Discuss the differences between human and various animal tracks as they play in the fake snow. You can even use worksheets to have your students match each footprint with the appropriate animal. Incorporating playdough in your lessons also improves fine motor skills so your students develop strength and dexterity as they learn.

3.) Prepare kids for every type of weather.
Educate your students on what’s best to wear for various weather conditions, starting with the importance of a warm head and toasty feet to fend off the cold. Stomp around with rain boots and an umbrella in the rain while teaching them about the difference between a rain jacket and a winter jacket. Encourage them to dress in layers so they can make the transition from outdoor play to indoor learning. And, though it may seem like months since you’ve felt the warmth of the sun, don’t let them forget about sunglasses and sunscreen. Your millennial parents will love your educational twist on staying warm during outside play. If you need more help understanding this key demographic, check out this infographic

4.) Get creative with your crafts.
Students can make snowmen out of playdough, paper, or paint. Ask them to make their snowman’s eyes, nose, and scarfs unique. Making unique snowmen can teach them about tolerance and differences. Making paper snowmen will give them practice with scissors, a skill they’ll need before kindergarten. Have them paint doilies, which will enhance creativity and hand control—and yield a bumper crop of snowflakes to decorate their classroom.

5.) Winter-fy story time 
Books like The Jacket I Wear in the Snow will complement your teachings about what to wear in the cold while encouraging students to chant along. Teach your students about the arrival of winter with Snow Party, a picture book about the winter solstice. Take students on a nature walk, and take Tracks, Scats, and Signs as your guide. Increase student engagement by having them identify what they see along the way.

There are so many ways you can incorporate the many lifestyle changes of both humans and animals in the winter months. Be sure to share what your teaching with the parents!

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