7 Low-Prep, Fun Winter Classroom Activities to Engage Kids
Hit a teaching slump? Use these 7 low-prep fun winter classroom activities to put some life back into your classroom!
Winter is a hard time for teaching. The holidays are over and you’re in the thick of day-to-day life in the classroom. It’s often darker outside and if you live where there is snow, weeks are constantly interrupted by school closures or, more recently, by unexpected remote learning days. What you need are fun winter classroom activities to engage kids while taking minimal brain power on your part. Read on to see what read-aloud stories you can grab and go, activities you can print, assign and play through your learning media system, or if you’re feeling up to it, activities that may take a little more planning but are sure to engage your younger elementary class this winter!
Some days in the winter you feel like you have it all figured out. Other days, you’re peeling kids off the walls and everyone needs a reminder of the classroom expectations. To make the most out of your fun winter classroom activities be sure to use them during small group instruction time! If you’re struggling with how to best use small groups in your classroom be sure to grab this free guide to improve your small group instruction. Grab the guide here!
Choose an Engaging Winter Read Aloud for fun winter classroom activities!
Winter read-alouds are great, no prep fun winter activities! Grab a book, have your class snuggle on the carpet or in their seats, and settle in for a story. With each book, you can target curriculum standards through a winter-themed classroom activity!
Sneezy the Snowman
Working on sequencing this winter in your classroom? Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright and Stephen Glipin is perfect for talking about sequencing. On your whiteboard draw pictures to talk about what Sneezy did first, then, and last.
Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright and Stephen Glipin is also perfect for discussing cause and effect! What happens when Sneezy gets into the hot tub? Why? Lead this discussion with your class. Give each child a piece of paper and ask “How would you help Sneezy?” or “Draw something that would keep Sneezy cold” or, “Draw something that would melt Sneezy”. It’s a great way to talk about cause and effect while encouraging creative thinking!
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro and Jared Lee is great for practicing the phonological awareness skill of rhyming this winter! Your students could possibly already know the characters and patterns in this beloved book series. For a fun winter activity, have your students sing along and finish the sentences as you read. Grab a blank piece of paper and have them draw rhyming winter things or write rhyming winter sentences! Your class can create their own rhyming winter story. What a fun winter classroom activity!
Snowmen At Night
Possibly the most engaging book for a fun winter classroom activity is Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner. While it does take some preparation and planning, your class will love this winter-themed activity! Each child will make their own snowman, while the room transforms into a winter wonderland. Read more about this engaging winter classroom activity at the end!
Fun Winter School Activities
Winter can drag in the classroom. The routine is wonderful but becomes mundane. Why not add some fun winter school activities into the mix? You can use winter decodable readers or worksheets to meet curriculum standards while engaging your class through the chilly season.
Winter Reading Passages
Winter reading passages are a great way to target various reading skills through a topic students are interested in and have background knowledge about. These decodable books use common sight words and beginning phonics skills to support student reading levels A-E. With topics like mittens, sledding, snow, and snowman your class will have so much fun learning with these winter reading passages! You can find them here.
A Winter Classroom Door Makes a Fun Winter Classroom Activity
If you’re struggling to think of a no-prep, independent winter center look no further! Have your class’ creativity shine by making a winter classroom door! Grab some blank paper and scissors and let the magic come alive. Your students can make snowflakes or they can draw and cut anything winter-related! Maybe you’ll create a door with students’ faces sledding down the hill, or a snowball fight, or even an ice skating rink. The possibilities with this fun winter classroom activity are endless! Let your class take the lead as they collaborate to create the best winter classroom door in your building.
Winter Themed Classroom
Since you’ve created a winter classroom door, why not make a winter-themed classroom? A collaborative winter drawing is a great low-prep winter activity. Cut a large piece of paper the size of a table (probably from the roll hidden in the Art Room or Library).
Provide your class with craft materials such as markers, crayons, winter stickers, glitter glue (if you’re daring), and let the magic begin! As your students go to the table, each child can add his or her own contribution to this collaborative winter drawing. This can be as structured or open-ended as your teaching philosophy determines.
For a more structured winter-themed classroom directed drawing, let your students know everything in the picture must relate. If the first group starts a sledding scene for the picture, the next group could add more kids sledding but not anyone inside at a fire. For a more open-ended fun winter classroom activity, simply say “Draw a winter scene!” and provide no more direction. With a collaborative directed drawing, you’ll have a winter-themed classroom in no time!
Winter Worksheets for First Grade as Fun Winter Classroom Activities
Winter worksheets for first grade are a great way to celebrate the season while incorporating academics into your early elementary classroom.
Holiday Reading Passages
Holiday reading passages are perfect for the before winter break craziness. Available as booklets or single pages, pick your favorite passage and print-and-go for an easy fun winter classroom activity! Leveled for readers A-E, your whole class will enjoy reading about Santa, Candy Cane, the Gingerbread Man, and Bells. Learn more about this digital and printable winter activity here.
New Years Writing Activity
Coming back from winter vacation is intimidating. Everyone is a little tired from the holidays and most forget the routines. Goal setting is a fun winter classroom activity that will get everyone on track! Take the guesswork out of teaching your students how to set effective goals for the new year with the step-by-step lesson plans, featuring read-aloud stories. This winter activity can be done in one day or stretched to two days depending on what your schedule allows. Featuring a craft activity with or without sentence stems you can easily differentiate this fun winter classroom activity for all students. This is a great activity for small group instruction. Read why small group instruction is crucial to student success here!
Unique FUN Winter Classroom Activities
These unique winter themed classroom activities may not be super “low prep” but they are high fun and engagement! Sometimes it is worth it to put in a little extra prep. Intentionally choosing fun winter themed classroom activities that require more prep will make these activities more meaningful and engaging for your students.
Snowball Fight (or Snowball Toss)
Who doesn’t love a good snowball fight?! Or, you can change the language to snowball toss. This game is perfect for any academic task! Here are the steps for a fun winter themed classroom activity.
- Choose a broad topic such as Addition and Subtraction Facts to 10.
- Write each problem on individual pieces of paper. You can make this an activity for your students. Share the prep and practice the skill!
- Crinkle each piece of paper into a ball.
- Divide your room – use floor tape, masking tape, a line on the floor anything to determine boundaries for gameplay!
- Tell your class the set rules: throw one ball at a time, do not hit other people, or sit out for 1 min. Be sure to have a designated spot for people to sit and a place for you to referee the game.
- Split your class into two groups.
- Give each group a basket of paper balls.
- Set the timer and start throwing!
- When the timer goes off, have each group collect the balls in their area.
- Open the paper balls and complete the problems, sort the problems, read the words etc…
- You can have a winner with the group that has the most balls, completes the task the fastest etc… or no winners everyone just had fun with this great winter themed classroom activity!
Snowman At Night
While it can be overwhelming, a classic fun winter themed classroom activity is a full room transformation! Use the book Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner to guide this winter classroom transformation.
First, have students create their own snowman! You can make them with paper, or you can have each child create their own “snowman stuffy” using socks, corn, fabric, and buttons!
Once each child has a snowman, bring them to the carpet and enjoy some snuggles while reading Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner. After you’ve finished reading, make a special bed for the snowmen. Sprinkle “magic dust”(or glitter) on the snowman and tuck them in for bed tonight.
The children say goodbye and go home and you go to work! Make those snowmen wake up and mess up the room. Think about each child and their interest, and have the snowman match each child. When the students come back in the morning, the snowmen have come alive! Have a fun winter themed day planned with a read-aloud, special snack, or other fun activity.
Small Group Winter Themed Activities
Small group instruction is your answer to fitting in all the fun winter themed classroom activities! If you’re feeling overwhelmed with small groups, be sure to check out this free guide to effective small group instruction.
Looking for more fun winter themed classroom activities? Be sure to check these out!