10 PERFECT Winter Books and Activities For the Elementary Classroom
Wintertime is magical, but sometimes the endless cold can make children quite restless. You feel the need to amp things up in your classroom. Wintry books are the perfect mixup! Add hands-on crafts, STEM challenges, and other sensory experiences to help bring the books to life and keep students engaged throughout the coldest months. Use these 10 winter books and activities to celebrate the magic of winter with your elementary students!
10 Winter Books and Activities Your Elementary Students Will Love
There’s something so cozy and inviting about gathering together on the classroom rug for a winter read-aloud!
Check out these 10 favorites with the perfect interactive activities to go along with each:
- “The Missing Mitten Mystery” by Steven Kellogg
- “100 Snowmen” by Jen Arena
- “The Snow Globe Family” by Jane O’Connor
- “Snow” by Uri Shulevitz
- “Ten Ways to Hear Snow” by Cathy Camper
- “Snow Globe Wishes” by Erin Dealey
- “Sneezy the Snowman” by Maureen Wright
- “The Biggest Snowman Ever” by Steven Kroll
- “There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow!” by Lucille Colandro
- “How to Catch a Snowman” by Adam Wallace
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The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg
After a busy day of playing in the snow with her dog, Annie loses her red mitten. She searches everywhere with her dog, Oscar. They even wonder if animals like an eagle or a mouse were the culprit. Finally, after they were about to give up, they found the mitten in the most unlikely place!
Kids absolutely love the silly possibilities of how the mitten could have disappeared such as an eagle using it to keep the baby’s head warm or a mouse using it for a bed!
Use this adorable snowman craft and comprehension activity to go along with this story.
100 Snowmen by Jen Arena
Using entertaining rhyming, 100 Snowman’s illustrations help students count and visualize equations, while also identifying number groupings. Students enjoy watching these joyful snowmen as they have snowball fights, go ice skating, and build forts all while sporting unique snowy winter looks.
This FREE Scrambeled Snowmen Counting Race math game helps kids practice counting and number recognition while enjoying a snowman-themed adventure.
Snow Globe Family by Jane O’Connor
This precious story takes you inside the minds of a family living inside the snow globe, and it will keep your imagination running wild for days! The baby in the house seems to be the only one paying any attention to the snow globe, and it is a wonderful journey watching these two worlds connect.
This book is perfect for inspiring a creative writing activity!
Hand out these FREE snowglobe story template pages and encourage your students to use their imaginations and create their own snow globe story. It can be an adventure, a journey, or a magical world within a snow globe. Using a variety of art supplies, they will create a scene from their story in the snowglobe page. After they’ve completed their artwork, they should write the story.
When everyone is finished, encourage students to practice reading in front of others. For your shy students, encourage them to read directly to another student or yourself. They will all be so excited to share with their special grownups at home!
Snow by Uri Shulevitz
None of the adults think that the few snowflakes that are falling will amount to anything. But one boy and his dog have faith that the snow will amount to something spectacular, and when snowflakes start to fall down on the city, they are also the only ones who do their best to truly enjoy it. This beautifully illustrated Caldecott Award winner will quickly become a classroom favorite!
This book is a great inspiration for an art activity that allows children to explore their creativity.
Students can create beautiful snowscape artwork with watercolor paint and heavy art paper or watercolor paper. Encourage them to consider the muted tones of the winter atmosphere shown in the book. Demonstrate different watercolor techniques like wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry to help them create different textures in their snowscapes.
For added texture and visual interest, students can sprinkle a small amount of salt onto the wet paint. This will create unique snowflake-like patterns.
Another option is to use white crayons or oil pastels to add details like falling snowflakes or frost on tree branches. The watercolor paint will resist the wax and create a beautiful effect.
Once their snowy landscapes are complete and the paint has dried, have a sharing session for the children to explain their artwork to the group. These wintry landscape paintings will also create a beautiful snowy gallery for your classroom!
Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper
A snowy day, a trip to Grandma’s, time spent cooking with one another, and taking time to stop and explore the world around you come together in this perfect book for winter reading. This beautifully illustrated book is full of mindfulness, empathy, multigenerational experiences, and multicultural connections.
This book is a great inspiration for a winter nature scavenger hunt!
Begin by discussing the book’s themes and the different ways to experience snow. Then share a printed list of the “Ten Ways to Hear Snow” with each child.
These could include:
- Snow falling on branches
- The scrape of a shovel on a sidewalk
- Snow crunching underfoot
- The sound of snowplows
- Laughter of snowball fights
- Whispers of snowflakes
- The quiet of the snow
- Snow angels singing
- Silence before the snow
- The drumming of sleet
While on a nature scavenger hunt, students use their senses and observations to explore these ways to hear snow. They can document their findings on their own piece of paper by writing or drawing what they see and/or how they feel.
This hands-on activity allows students to connect with the book on a more memorable level and adds an unexpected twist to the school day!
Snow Globe Wishes by Erin Dealey
This is a sweet little rhyming story about a family taking time to slow down and enjoy each other’s company when a huge snowstorm hits their town. It’s a great discussion starter about the importance of togetherness and appreciating the little things in life.
Students create their own snow globes using small clear jars with lids. Baby food jars or small mason jars work great for this craft!
Children choose a winter-themed figurine or scene (plastic or ceramic) that fits inside the jar. These will be the “wishes” inside the snow globe. Secure the figurine to the inside of the jar lid using waterproof glue or a hot glue gun.
Once the glue has dried, add glitter or fake snow to the jar. Adding a few drops of glycerin will help the snow fall more slowly, but this step is optional!
Fill the jar with water and glue the lid on securely. Let your students decorate the outside of their jars too for extra festive fun!
Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright
Have you ever met a snowman that gets too cold? Sneezy does things like drink hot chocolate or sit in a hot tub to try to keep warm. Unfortunately, these toasty activities make Sneezy melt every time! Luckily he has friends that rebuild him and give him clothes to keep warm.
This book is perfect for a wintry science activity to teach the concepts of melting and freezing! They will experiment with a snowman made of ice. This melting activity can done as a whole class activity or in small groups.
- A large, clear plastic container or a shallow pan
- Ice cubes (you can use regular ice cubes or snowman shaped ice cubes)
- A timer or clock
- A spray bottle filled with warm water
- A spray bottle filled with cold water
- Place a large, clear plastic container or a shallow pan in a suitable indoor location.
- Place one or more snowman-shaped ice cubes in the container or pan.
- Ask the children to predict what will happen to the snowman ice cubes when they spray them with water. Will they melt or freeze?
- Let your students spray warm water onto the snowman ice cubes. Use a timer to record how long it takes for the ice cubes to start melting.
- Discuss the melting process, including the change from a solid (ice) to a liquid (water). Explain how the warm water increases the temperature, causing the ice to melt.
- Place the melted snowman in the freezer. Encourage students to predict what will happen next. Will it freeze again?
- Explain the freezing process, including the change from a liquid (water) back to a solid (ice) due to the cold temperature. Discuss changes in the refrozen snowman.
- Continue to experiment by spraying the snowman with cold water. Predict if the snowman will melt faster or slower using the cold water. Use a timer to record how long it takes for the ice cubes to start melting with this method. Discuss the results.
This science project is a fun and interactive way to connect the book’s content to real-world science phenomena!
The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll
Two mice, Clayton and Desmond, announce that they are going to build the biggest snowman ever! However, this task proves to be hard to do alone. The Biggest Snowman Ever shows students that when we work together, we can accomplish BIG THINGS.
Students participate in a STEM activity where they build their own snowmen using marshmallows and other materials.
- Marshmallows (various sizes)
- Toothpicks or pretzel sticks
- Small candies or dried fruit (e.g., raisins, chocolate chips, or dried cranberries)
- Carrot pieces (for noses)
- A tube of vanilla icing (to use as an adhesive)
- Small strips of fabric (for scarves)
- A flat surface for building (a table or tray)
- Provide each child with a variety of different-sized marshmallows and toothpicks or pretzel sticks. The marshmallows will be used as the building blocks for the snowmen, and the toothpicks/pretzel sticks will serve as connectors.
- Encourage the children to design and build their mini snowmen by connecting marshmallows with toothpicks or pretzel sticks.
- They can use small candies, dried fruit, or other edible items to decorate their snowmen with eyes, mouths, buttons, and other features. Add a scarf and nose too!
- Students “glue” the candies and other edible items with vanilla icing.
As they build their snowmen, discuss the engineering and design aspects. How do they ensure their snowmen stay upright? What creative solutions did they come up with?
Once the mini snowmen are completed, children can present their designs to the group and then enjoy their edible creations or save them as winter decorations.
*If you plan to allow the children to eat their creations, make sure to check for severe allergies ahead of time, and have children wash their hands before beginning the project.
There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! by Lucille Colandro
This silly cold lady will swallow anything including snow, a pipe, coal, and a hat! There was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow will have kids laughing at the rhyming words and hilarious pictures and even finishing the recognizable patterns on each page! Can they guess what pops out of this cold lady at the end?
Let students create individual snowy sensory bottles to resemble what the Cold Lady ate in the story.
- Empty and clean plastic water bottles (1 per child)
- Clear liquid hand sanitizer
- Small plastic winter-themed toys or figurines (e.g., snowmen, penguins, animals, snowflakes)
- Blue or white glitter
- Waterproof glue or hot glue gun (adult supervision required for hot glue)
- Give each child an empty plastic water bottle.
- Let the children choose small plastic winter-themed toys or figurines to represent the items the cold lady swallowed.
- Fill the bottles with equal parts clear liquid hand sanitizer and water. Leave some space at the top for the toys and glitter.
- Add a pinch of blue or white glitter to represent the “snow” that the cold lady swallows.
- Carefully place the selected toys or figurines into the bottle.
- Apply a thin line of waterproof glue to the inside rim of the jar, and carefully close the bottle’s cap, making sure it’s tightly sealed.
- Once the sensory bottles are dry, children can shake them to create a snowstorm effect.
This sensory bottle craft is a great way to reinforce the story’s plot while providing a sensory and artistic activity.
How to Catch a Snowman by Adam Wallace
When the children build a snowman for their contest, it comes to life and runs away! They create traps to catch this sneaky snowman, but it is just too clever. However, before this snowman leaves for good, the children are left with a big surprise! Kids adore these vivid illustrations in How to Catch a Snowman.
Plan a STEM activity with this book! Students design a snowman trap using a variety of age-appropriate building materials like pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, cups, and string. Use small snowman figurines or other small items to test the traps.
Encourage the children to test their traps to see if they can successfully “catch” the toy snowman. They can make adjustments and improvements as needed.
Looking for More?
Use these graphic organizers and printable reading response pages are perfect to use with any read-aloud. These pages provide a way for students to extend their thinking and build comprehension. Just print and go!
These winter books and companion activities offer a great way to blend reading with interactive learning in your elementary classroom!
Let me know if you have any questions about anything you see here. Don’t forget to pin this post to refer to it later!
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