Ready or Not, Winter is Coming

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Ready or Not, Winter
Is Coming!
Winter Ideas for the Georgia Pre-K Classroom
compiled by

Introduce these concepts in large group.

Concepts: • Winter is the season that comes between fall and spring. • In winter, the weather turns colder. • Sometimes it snows. • Animals adapt to cold weather by hibernating, migrating, growing thicker fur, or storing food. • To prepare for winter, some plants drop their leaves. Others die back to the roots or die completely. • People wear warmer clothes. • You have to turn on the heat in your house and car. • There are winter sports to enjoy during winter. • The evergreen trees are the only ones with their leaves. The other ones are bare.

Introduce new vocabulary words. Place the words on chart paper and/or on sentence strips and then place them in your writing area. Be sure to add pictures, photos or drawings.





long johns scarf



snowman snowflake snowball hot chocolate



ice skating heater


earmuffs coat

hibernate iceburg

ice artic


Changes to enhance your environment
Add snowflakes and snowmen all around your room; even hang them from the ceiling. Add in books about winter to your classroom display. Add blankets and sleeping bags to your book area. Add snowmen, snow or winter flannel board stories. Add in winter books and tapes to your listening area. Add in winter clothing to your house area. Add in a thermometer to your science area. Put out a big welcome sign that says “Welcome Winter”. Keep a bag of cut up tissue paper and throughout the day, randomly sprinkle a handful of flurries down on the children. Add lots of cotton balls and other white materials to your collage area. Add in small twigs, buttons, scrap material, etc. Use packing Styrofoam peanuts to make a snowstorm in your class. Throw it on the floor and then give the children gloves, mittens, scarves and hats to wear while they “play” in the snow. It’s messy but it is well worth the clean-up time. Bring in a sled and let the children sit on it. Have the children estimate how many can fit on it before you actually let them sit on it. Cut large pieces of Styrofoam to resemble blocks of ice and add them to your block area. You can also add penguins and polar bears.
Add pictures of snow, winter animals and other cold places cut from magazines or real photos you may have taken. Encyclopedias and the Internet are also great to find pictures. Set up a hat shop or winter clothing shop in your house area. Be sure to add in shopping bags, a cash register, small notepads and pencils, play money, etc. Texture Mittens: If you have some old mittens or gloves without mates, recycle them for your painting center. Sew on a patch of lace, dust mop, sponge, or other interesting texture to the palm of the mitten or glove. Invite children to use them at the art easel by dipping them into paint and making prints on the paper. When the painting is through, wash the mittens and hang them up to dry.

Amy Loves The Snow by Julia Hoban Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Geider Caps, Hats, Socks and Mittens by Louise Borden Chicken Soup With Rice by Maurice Sendak Cuddly Dudley by Jez Alborough Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here by Jean Craighead George First Snow by Kim Lewis Foxes Dream by Tejima Goodbye Geese by Nancy White Carlstrom Just A Snowy Day by Mercer Mayer Keep Looking! By Millicent Selsam and Joyce Hunt North Country Night by Daniel San Souci Owl Moon by Jane Yolen Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan Sledding by Elizabeth Winthrop Snow Is Falling by Franklyn M. Branley Snowballs by Lois Ehlert Stopping By The Woods on A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader The Black Snowman by Phil Mendez The First Snowfall by Anne and Harlow Rockwell The Hat by Jan Brett The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirly Neitzel

The Mitten by Jan Brett
The Owl Who Became The Moon by Johnathan London
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Under Your Feet by Joanne Ryder
Winter Harvest by Jane Chelsea Aragon
Winter Rabbit by Patrick Yee
Winter by Ron Hirschi
Winter’s Coming by Eve Bunting
Language and Literacy
Snowman Stories. Prepare five or six cards that illustrate the steps in making a snowman. The cards might show snow falling from the sky; two children dressed in winter clothes rolling a large snowball; the children putting a mediumsized snowball on top of a large one; the children adding a small snowball for a head; the children adding features, arms, and a hat; and the proud children standing beside their completed snowman. Before showing the children the cards, have them tell about snowmen they have built. Introduce the cards and ask the children to find what happens first, second, and so on. Mix up the cards and invite the children to put them in order to explain what is happening.
Surprise Snow Writing. Cover the bottoms of several large shallow boxes with the black construction paper. Pour in enough salt to cover the bottom of each box. Encourage children to use their fingers to “write” in the snow. Show the children how to shake the salt around to spread it back out and start all over again.
Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan. After reading this story, build an indoor snowman. First fold a white sheet in half and stitch along two sides. Let the children crumple paper and stuff inside the case. When it is almost full, close the opening with a rubber band. Tie off a head section with a scarf. Pin, hot glue or sew on large button eyes, a carrot nose made from orange felt, and a mouth. Add a hat. If you wish, you can tie off a third section with a belt or a piece of rope. This will also work with a large white trash bag or a white pillowcase.
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader. After reading this story, help the birds and animals survive by putting food such as seeds, crusts, nuts, and dried cereals outside your classroom. Children will enjoy observing their hungry friends coming to eat.
The Jacket I Wear In the Snow by Shirley Neitzel. After reading the story, have children search through magazines to find several articles of clothing. Glue them onto a sheet of white construction paper. Invite each child to dictate a story about the clothing he or she selected. Bind the children’s stories together into a class book and display it in your reading area. Read the book aloud during story time.

Animal Adaptations. Read aloud the story, Animal in Winter , and then read them this poem. You can have children use their hands and arms in creative miming gestures to interpret this poem.
Tell me where the animals go When if first begins to snow Many birds fly far away When the snow is here to stay. Extra fur, heavy and warm, Keeps the deer safe from harm. Dressed in snowy winter white, Rabbits and owls hide from sight. Sleeping the whole winter through Is what frogs and turtles do. In cozy caves and deep warm nests, Bears and ants take winter rests. Food that’s stored away to eat Is the squirrels’ winter treat. When the spring sun melts the snow And the flowers start to grow, Our animal friends once more appear To share with us another year.
Mitten Magic. Read aloud Jan Brett’s version of The Mitten. After reading the story, have the children take turns reenacting the story using a pup tent as the mitten.
The Hat by Jan Brett. Read aloud the Jan Brett story. Then revisit each page of the story. Invite the children to carefully examine the illustrations and pay close attention to the clothesline at the top of each page. (Different articles of clothing keep disappearing!) After discussing the story and illustrations, have student participate in this visiual memory game. To prepare, hang a clothesline front of your group. Then use clothespins to hang three or four items of winter clothing on the line. Have students observe the clothing for a moment. Then place a screen or sheet in front of the clothesline and remove one item. Reveal the clothesline again and have students identify the missing article of clothing.
What is Snow? Children don’t understand the scientific definition of snow – “precipitation in the form of small white ice crystals formed from water vapor at a temperature of less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit – but they do have definite ideas about what snow is! To find out their ideas about snow, divide a sheet of chart paper into three columns. Label each column with the heading “Snow looks”, “Snow feels”, or “Other Words About Snow.” Encourage your children to describe some things about snow. Ask them to decide in which column each of their descriptions might fit. After completing the chart, share some of these snow facts with them.
• All snowflakes have six sides. • Snowflakes fall in many different sizes and shapes. • When snow melts, it becomes water. • Snow helps protect plants and hibernating animals from winter cold.

Language Chart Ideas:
Brainstorm a list of things to do to keep warm outside on a snowy day.
Introduce the concept of pairs. Make a list of things that come in pairs.
Draw a snowman and label his parts.
Make a class story about a snowman, a snowy day, building a snowman, a cold day, etc.
Mittens vs. Gloves – Make a graph of which ones your students like better.
Frosty Finger Paintings. Make soap by beating two cups of soap flakes and one cup of water with an eggbeater or hand mixer until the mixture is thick and frothy but not too stiff. Let the children paint with it on slick paper. Or provide large pieces of butcher paper and let groups paint winter scenes. It can also be used for sponge painting. You can also have children spread it on sticks, twigs, pinecones, rocks, etc. and create snowscapes. These can be mounted on Styrofoam trays.
Sparkling Snowscapes. Provide construction paper, crayons, and a cooled mixture of equal parts of Epsom salts and boiling water. Invite the children to draw a simple design or winter scene on their paper. When they are done, have them paint over the scene with the mixture. As the mixture dries, shiny crystals will form on the picture. Add salt to the blue and white paint cups on your art easel. Also add snowflake and other pre-cut shapes for the children to paint. Experiment with different salts (Epson, sea, pickling, table, ice-cream) and have children notice the different effects. You can also experiment by mixing together blue and white paints to create different shades of blue.
Icicle Painting. Provide large pieces of dark construction paper, runny white paint, and three-inch pieces of drinking straws. Encourage children to put several blobs of the white paint on their paper and then blow gently through the straw toward the blobs.
Balloon Painting Snowman. Inflate a balloon to about four inches in diameter, and knot the end. Partially fill a shallow pan with white tempera paint. Dip the balloon into the paint; then press it three times onto a sheet of construction paper, re-dipping between the presses. For the large circle, press down on the balloon firmly. For the medium circle, press down less hard, and for the small circle press down lightly. Use a q-tip or paintbrush to add facial features and twig like arms or add collage materials and let children glue them on after the snowman dries. You can add buttons, wiggly eyes, material scraps, construction paper, etc.
Winter Snow pals! Place white chalk, scissors, glue, and a supply of construction paper scraps at a center. You will also need a 12” x 18” sheet of dark blue construction paper and three white doilies, incrementally sized, for each child. Students use the materials at the center to create personal renditions of Frosty.

Chalk Scenes. Let children create winter scenes with chalk on dark construction paper. Use hair spray to set the chalk on the paper.
Snowball Soap. Soak ivory soap in water overnight. Then break it in halves. Give it to the children and let them mold it like play dough into a snowball. When it dries it flakes up like a real snowball. You can put it in a sandwich bag and send it home with a poem that reads:
My snowball soap, I made it just for you. To help me learn about Winter, And keep my hands clean too!
Shaving Cream Snowman. Provide each child with a sheet of tagboard. Then briskly mix two parts nonmenthol shaving cream with one part white glue. When the mixture is slightly stiff and shiny, drop a small portion on each child’s sheet. Have the children use a craft stick to spread the mixture into a snowman shape. While the mixture is wet, have the children use sequins to make the snowman’s mouth and eyes; have them add small twigs for arms.
Snowflake Flurry. To prepare, mix a small amount of liquid dish detergent to the paint at your art center. Next, place a supply of aluminum foil sheets near the area. Help each child clip a sheet of foil to the easel; then invite the child to pain snowflakes on the foil. When the paint is dry, mount the foil to a sheet of construction paper. Hang them near windows or on your windows. The children can use hand mirrors to explore the light and color the reflected from the foil.
Snowflake Ornaments. Glue three pretzels together to resemble a snowflake. When the glue has dried completely, place the pretzel ornament on a piece of waxed paper and paint both sides white. Once again, let the ornament dry again. Later dip the painted ornament into glue, then into a shallow container of fake snow. To complete the ornament, tie a satin ribbon around it for hanging.
A Snowball to Keep: A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Peter wanted to keep a snowball as a remembrance of the snowy day. After reading the story, help your children create their own snowball keepsakes with three –inch Styrofoam balls, white and blue one-inch tissue paper squares, glue brushes, and thinned white glue. To make an imitation snowball, place a Styrofoam ball in the bottom part of an egg carton to prevent the ball from rolling. Brush the upper half of the ball with thinned white glue; then place tissue paper squares on the glue. Brush glue on the tissue paper and add additional squares so that they overlap the others. Sprinkle silver or clear glitter sparingly over the wet surface. Allow the glue to dry and repeat the process to complete the other half of the ball.
Snow Sculptures. Provide each child with a Styrofoam meat tray, several toothpicks and white Styrofoam packing peanuts. Let your children create original snow sculptures by connecting the peanuts with the toothpicks.
Tumbling Winter Pictures. Let the children paint a strip of white paint across the bottom of the construction paper to make the snowy ground. Next, glue on one or more small twigs to make bare winter trees, Finally dip their thumbs in the paint and print “falling snowflakes” all over the paper.
Winter Scenes. Materials: Old Christmas cards with outdoor scenes, white glue and iridescent glitter. Students select an old Christmas card with an outdoor scene. Then brush on some watery glue over the whole picture. Then sprinkle the picture with iridescent glitter! Amazing - now it is snowing!

Snowflake Surprise. To make one snowflake, write a child’s name on the back of a small paper plate. Then tape a sixinch doily to the front of the plate. Place a drop of fingerpaint on the doily; then use fingers to spread the paint over the doily. Carefully untape the doily and remove it from the plate. Surprise! There’s a snowflake print on the plate. To display, punch a hole in the top of each plate and tie a length of yarn through each hole and then hang them around your room!
Fantasy Flakes. To make a snowflake, draw a large X on a piece of waxed paper. Then draw a line across the x to make a six -pointed figure. Have the children trace the lines with streams of white glue. Encourage them to sprinkle glitter on his/her own unique snowflake design. Let the snowflakes dry for several days and then peel off the wax paper and punch a hole in the snowflake and tie with a length of ribbon. Hang all around your room!
Sensory Snowmen. To prepare, cut a snowman shape for each child from white construction paper. Then cut the snowman’s clothing from various materials. For example, you might cut mittens from sandpaper, a hat from felt, a nose from craft foam, and boots from ribbed packing material. Use sticky dots for eyes and a silky ribbon for a scarf. Invite the children to explore the materials and then dress their snowman anyway they like. Be sure to discuss the different shapes, colors and textures.
Winter Snow Scene. Materials: Brown construction paper rectangles, green triangles, large sheet of blue construction paper for each child, white paint, empty thread spools. Let children glue on trees to paper and then dip one end of the empty thread spool into white tempera paint and press it onto the scene to make a snowflake. Use spools in various sizes to add as much snow, as they like.
Snowflake Rubbing. To prepare, cut or die-cut snowflake shapes from thick paper. Tape a snowflake pattern to a tabletop; then tape a sheet of blue copy paper over it. Invite the children to rub the side of the unwrapped white crayon over the paper, revealing the shape beneath it. Use one large snowflake or scatter several smaller snowflakes and use various shades of blue or purple paper to create wintry works of art.
Mitten Match. Make 15 to 20 pairs of poster board mittens for a classification game. Pairs may be matching colors, shapes, numbers or dots. Scatter the mittens on the floor. Students find pairs that match and hang them on a clothesline with clip clothespins. It is also great for fine motor skills building, just to have the children practice taking on and off gloves and mittens.
Winter Fishing. Make a fishing pole by attaching a string and a magnet to the end of a dowel road or branch. Cut a hole in the top of a copier paper box. Cover the box with contact paper or paint it to represent a block of ice. Slide a paper clip onto each of a supply of laminated fish. Attach a few fish to the outside of the box. Program the rest of the fish with skills of your choice. Place the box on the floor with the hole facing up; then add the fish. To fish, a child drops her line into the ice and fishes around until the magnet on the pole adheres to a paper clip on a fish. What kind of fish did you catch? (number identification, color identification, shape identification, etc.)

Polar Fishing Expedition. Using white construction paper, make several copies of the polar bear and sled pattern. Program each sled with a numeral or number word. Cut out the patterns and laminate. Store the cards in a Ziploc bag and place in a center or use as a small group. Be sure to include a supply of goldfish crackers. As a child removes a bear from the bag, he/she puts the number of matching goldfish onto the sled that corresponds with the number. When the fishing expedition is over, each child can eat his catch!
Snowman Math. Cut 10 six-inch to eight-inch snowmen from white construction paper. Mount each on a piece of tagboard Draw on facial features, scarves, twig arms, etc. Cut out ten hats from brightly colored construction paper. Label each hat with a number from 1 to 10. Glue one on each snowman’s head. Laminate the snowmen or cover them with clear contact paper. Provide the children with a container of 55 small buttons. Challenge them to decorate each snowman with the number of buttons indicated on its hat.
Snowman Games. Cut out six snowmen, scarves, and hats and color the hats and scarves the same colors. Let children match the hat and scarf for each snowman. Be sure to write in the color word on the snowman for your more advanced learners.
Which is the smallest? Give each child a dark piece of construction paper and 3 white circles of different sizes. Ask which is the largest, and which is the smallest? What are the shapes of the snowballs? How many do you have?
Have them build a snowman by listening to your oral directions using directionality and placement words.
Find your largest snowball and place it on the bottom, etc. until the children have built a snowman. Let them have markers to add on the features.
Counting Activity: “Snow Peanuts”. Give each child a 16 ounce plastic cup. Have them count how many “snow peanuts” it takes to fill up their cups. To add fun, you can invite children to wear their mittens or gloves while picking up the “snow”.
You could first have the children estimate how many it will take to fill up the cup and record their responses.
Snowpeople Patterns. On white construction paper, duplicate several copies of snowpeople patterns. Color the patterns so that each same sized set is identical. Laminate and cut out the patterns. To use them, have children create a pattern with the sets of cutouts, or invite them to sequence them by size: from smallest to largest or largest to smallest.
Find the Snowball. Place several knit caps and a small Styrofoam ball at a table. Invite a pair of children to the area. One child closes her eyes while the other hides the ball in one of the hats. The first child opens her eyes and then tries to find the ball by feeling each of the caps. After she finds it, the children switch roles and play again.
In Stitches. Cut out several mitten and hat patterns onto tagboard. Punch holes around the edge of the shape after laminating or covering with clear contact paper. Then tie a length of ribbon through one of the holes. For easier lacing, wrap the end of the ribbon with tape. Make several cards in a variety of colors and with a variety of laces, such as satin, raffia, and velvet.
Hat Graphing. Prepare hats by collecting a supply of old baby socks in a variety of colors. Follow the directions under “Hats in the Snow” under Changes to your environment to make a supply of miniature hats. Next, use masking tape to create a graphing grid on your flannel board. Place the hats in a container or in a stocking hat near your flannel board. To use the center, a child sorts the hats by color, places each set in a row or column on the graph, and then counts the number of hats in each row.

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Ready or Not, Winter is Coming