Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter Math and Literacy Activities

Today's very practical and FUN! post is from Darla, of @pschooltoolbox.

Winter Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Whether you live in a climate that has SNOW or not, young children will enjoy playing and learning with Winter Activities!

We live in the Midwest and (as of the date of this post) we have had very little SNOW.  It is unusual for a Midwest winter, but we are still looking forward to the first one! At the top of our winter “to-d0” list is:  BUILDING A SNOWMAN!

Brainstorm with your own students/children things that they would like to do in the SNOW! Chart all the suggestions the children give. Make sure to allow time for discussions and expansions.  For example:  if the children like to make snow forts, what would they use to make it? If they wish to build a snowman, what items could they use to decorate it? The children will often come up with very creative ideas!

What I Like to do in the SNOW! (click for PDF of printable).

Print the file linked above for each of your children. Have your students write or stamp (alphabet stamps) what they would like to do in the snow. The children can outline the snowman and make features with Wikkistix, use collage materials, or color the snowman as desired. (Note:  white poster putty works great for making snowballs that don’t fall OFF the pictures!)

Snowmen Template (click for PDF)

The snowman template (linked above) can be used in many ways.  Here are a few suggestions:

Basic Patterning:  
  • Print several copies of the snowmen, laminate or cover with clear contact paper, and then have the children sort/match by color or create patterns with the colors.  
  • For younger children, start a pattern with the snowmen and see if the child can copy or extend the pattern.
  • Older children can create more complex patterns with the snowmen such as AAB, ABC, AABBCC, ABBC, ABCC, etc.
One-to-One Correspondence:  
  • Print several copies of the snowmen, laminate for durability, and label with any number(s) your students are working on.   Have the children use counters, miniature marshmallows, or buttons and place the corresponding number of small items on the snowmen (see photo below).
  • The snowmen can also be used for basic addition and subtraction problems.

Word Families:  

  • Print several copies of the snowmen, laminate for durability, and label the colored snowmen with any word families your students are working on.
  • For example:  Label the red hat snowman with –at, the yellow snowman with –un, and the blue snowman with –ar.   
  • Give the children several copies of the colored snowmen.  The children can then stamp or write the beginning letters on the corresponding colored snowmen to form the different word families.  

Winter Reading and QR Codes

We began making QR Codes with pictures for all of the online books our kids love to read last fall.  It has been quite a task, but we have managed to make quite a selection for our children to choose from.   This is one of our favorite winter books!

If you have access to a smartphone, scan the QR Code below to see a great resource for free online books!  

For a fun indoor snowman building activity, visit our “DIY Sticky Table Snowman” activity at SixtySecondParent!  The kids will play for hours designing creative snowmen!

Darla is co-founder of The Preschool Toolbox and has owned a licensed group childcare/preschool home for the past 28 years.  She has six children (5 adult children and a six yr. old) and 4 granddaughters.  Darla has a passion for creating environments and activities that help facilitate play and learning for young children.  She writes primarily at:  http://www.thepreschooltoolboxblog, but you will also find activities for kids, teachers, and families with young children at: and

Coming up tomorrow: a post on "Collaboration", by @kkidsinvt.


  1. Great winter fun what ever the weather!

  2. Nanette - thanks for your comment! Hope YOUR children will enjoy!

  3. Have been following you and enjoying your creative ideas/lessons/materials for a good while now. Find the QR Codes interesting. How do you use them with the children? Can they be used independently by them?

  4. CountryFunMaine - thanks for your kind words! The children can use the QR codes independently. The codes made with pictures are best for reading as they can SEE what book it is before scanning. There is a QR code scanner link and the link TO MAKE QR Codes for kids in this post: - the children really do like using a smartphone to scan the codes. When they actually arrive at the book they is a little magical to them!:) We play QR code games and scavenger hunts just to get the kids into the practice of scanning correctly. They think it is FUN...and we learn a little technology along the way! Thanks for taking the time to comment!