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Don't Get the Winter BLUES!

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

It is that time of the year where teachers (me included) are in survival mode until the winter break. Are you looking for some fun and engaging winter activities for your classroom to help you survive and continue teaching until winter break finally arrives? Over the past few years I have managed to find enough activities that keep my kids going and learning even when their minds are thinking about the upcoming break. I will begin by discussing my favorite activity that also helps teach kindness.

Now this might not be considered a typical in-school activity, but the kids love it and motivates them to come to school each day. In my classroom we do a “Secret Friend Exchange”. This is my version of Secret Santa, but it includes all kids no matter what they celebrate. It is also inexpensive but fills each day with kindness and excitement. I do ask permission from parents prior to allowing kids to participate. Once they receive permission each child fills out a list of a few things they like (favorite snacks, favorite drinks, etc.). We secretly pick names and then each day during the last week of school the students bring in a $1 or less gift that they secretly give to their friend. Then on the last day we try and guess who each person had. Yes, at this age they tend to give it away before the last day but its fun trying to keep it a secret. I always buy a few extra goodies to gift a student if their friend forgot or was absent. Some years I even participate, BUT I let the students decide if they want me to. Detailed instructions and forms to make this secret friend exchange happen in your classroom can be downloaded by clicking on the photo.

Another one of my favorite activities is creative writing prompts and crafts. This is great for all grade levels! The two that my kids enjoy the most are: Stuck in a Snow Globe and The BEST Snow Day EVER. Now my kids are in Florida and many haven’t EVER even seen snow, so this is a BIG hit. Then we do crafts to go along with the writing. We take pictures in our winter gear and play with snow paint…what couldn’t be more fun. The best part is they are encouraged to write because I have to approve it prior to starting their craft. Check out some sample crafts and I challenge you to do at least one of these with your students. The best part is, these writing activities take time so they could last almost the entire day!!!!

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A new activity that the kindergarteners and first graders I have been working with love is building sentences with sight words to create the winter scene! They have so much fun that they don't even realize they are learning. I print them and laminate them so they can do them over, and over! They even asked if they can make their own sentences with pictures. This excites me because they are now begging to practice writing! They also love the winter and Christmas themed centers to practice writing, phonics, and word work! Click here to check out the center activities for grades K-2!

We also enjoy one of my favorite novels during this time of year, “Family Under the Bridge”. (Even if you don’t read it this year…I suggest you check it out!) This is such a sweet story that teaches students about compassion and kindness. It melts my heart each year and the students absolutely love it. It is a short novel but has such a huge impact. I suggest looking for this book as a $1 on scholastic. This is how I got my class set years ago and I have seen it since then too! (Amazon Affiliate Link).

Here is a few You Tube Read Aloud Books you can use too!

Snowy Day (I love using this to teach setting)

Sneezy The Snowman(Great for Problem/Solution or Cause and Effect)

During this time of year, we also LOVE drinking Hot Cocoa with marshmallows, so I have turned this into an ALL Day activity! We start by reading by a campfire (a video of a campfire on our projector). The kids can bring in blankets and pillows and enjoy a great book, two or three. They get to have some hot cocoa during this time. Then we take some time and practice our math using marshmallows as our manipulatives. They love practicing/reviewing their multiplication and division using marshmallows while they drink some more hot cocoa! I have even adapted these activities for the primary grades.

Check out some of the other activities I use with my students (and have also adapted to Primary Grades). These include reading passages with comprehension passages, text-based writing prompts, color by code activities, a bulletin board and more!

I would love to see how you incorporate fun into your classroom over these rough winter days! Feel free to tag me on IG . Hang in there, because every year teachers around the world survive these days and you will too!





Winter and Christmas Literacy Centers for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade
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Mystery Doug: Why is Snow White (My kids love these videos too!)



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