5 Fun Classroom Activities To Beat the Winter Blahs
Whether you live in a sunny warm place or somewhere where the weather is frigid and cold, the winter blahs can creep in and cause you and your students to want to just curl up and hibernate until spring. Adding some fun winter activities into your classroom routine can be exactly what you need to put some excitement and life back into your classroom during the winter months. Here are 5 of my favorite wintertime activities to do in the classroom when the blahs start to hit.
If you do live somewhere where the weather is frigid and cold, then this activity is a fun one for you to try! Wait for one of those snowfalls where the flakes are nice and big and fluffy. Give each student a clipboard with a piece of black construction paper or cardstock and a magnifying glass. Take students outside on a snow investigation by catching snowflakes on the black paper and then observing them through the magnifying glasses. Encourage them to verbally share what they are noticing.
Once you come inside, pass out snow observation sheets (you can get yours here) and have students draw and write about what they observed/noticed/learned.
Next, explain the water cycle to your students so that they can have a better understanding of why we have snow in the first place.
I like to draw it out on chart paper so that we can keep it up for a while to refer back to.
Make sure to explain:
evaporation- changing from a liquid to a gas, like when water dries up.
condensation- changing from a gas to a liquid, like when clouds are formed.
precipitation- water that falls to the ground, like rain or snow, sleet or hail.
Once you have explained how the water cycle works, you can teach them this fun song:
*sung to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain
Water travels in a cycle yes it does
Water travels in a cycle yes it does
It goes up as evaporation
Forms clouds as condensation
And falls down as precipitation yes it does!
You can even add fun hand motions to it!
big circle with arm -water travels in a cycle
raise arms up in front of you -it goes up as evaporation
twist hands away from each other in the air as if you are making a cloud- forms clouds as condensation
bring fingers down in front of you like rain- and falls down as precipitation
You can use these water cycle worksheets to reinforce their learning and or assess their comprehension.
One of my favorite winter read-alouds is The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg. It is such an adorable story about a little girl who loses her mitten while spending the day having lots of adventures in the snow, only to find the mitten in a surprising place in the end.
pinecone bird feeders
A fun winter activity my students and I always liked to do was to make pinecone bird feeders. We especially loved to hang a few in the trees outside our classroom windows and set up an observation center there containing: bird identification books, play binoculars, clipboards and paper, and colored pencils for students to bird watch.
To make pinecone bird feeders you will need:
a pinecone for each child (You will need broad cones that are fairly open, because these will hold more food and be easier for the birds to hold onto. Do not use artificially scented pine cones or pine cones that have been painted or glittered, because those chemicals can be harmful to birds.
string or twine, cut into 10 inch pieces
peanut butter, suet, or vegetable shortening (avoid peanut butter if you have any students with nut allergies in your classroom)
a plastic butter knife
shallow dish or pie pan
Tie the string around the pine cone
Tie the string or twine around the middle of the pinecone, making sure it is in between the rows of scales and is securely in place.
2. Coat the pine cone with peanut butter
Use the butter knife to coat the pine cone with a layer of peanut butter or suet. Press some peanut butter in between the rows of scales, filling in the larger gaps and openings.2.
3. Roll the pine cone in birdseed
Once the pine cone is completely coated with peanut butter or suet, pour birdseed into a shallow pie pan and roll the pine cone in the birdseed. Press lightly to help the seed stick to the cone.
4. Hang the feeder
Hang the pine cone bird feeders from branches in trees or bushes for the birds to find. (If sending bird feeders home you can wrap them in waxed paper and transport them home in plastic baggies.
In first grade we do quite a bit of word work, and one of our favorite ways to practice phonics and vocabulary at the same time is to do word ladders. Word ladders are a kind of puzzle where one word is changed into another word by substituting one letter at a time, each change creating a new word. For example, cat-bat-bag-tag-tug-dug-dog
These aren’t just great for phonics and spelling work, but they are perfect for incorporating vocabulary instruction into your day to day lessons. because the clues leading to each change help build vocabulary skills. For example the clues might be:
change one letter in cat to make a word that means a mammal that flies at night. (bat)
change one letter in bat to make a word that means a sack made out of paper. (bag)
change one letter in bag to make a word that means a label in your clothes that tells the size. (tag)
These winter-themed word ladders are so fun to tackle together on those dreary, cold days!
snowball fight math facts
We usually did this activity with math practice pages, but you could use this with worksheets in any subject really.
Using a basic math fact practice page, have students put their name on the paper and complete one math problem on the page. (It doesn’t have to be the first problem, it can be any problem on the page.
Then have them crumple up their paper into a “snowball” and hide behind their desk or chair in preparation for the math snowball fight.
On the count of 3, everyone throws their snowballs across the room. (caution children to be careful not to aim for anyone’s head or face)
Students then pick up the nearest “snowball” uncrumple it, and complete any math problem on the page. Then crumple the “snowball” back up and prepare for round 2 of the snowball fight.
Continue in this manner until all the math problems are completed.
Return the papers back to their original owners. Now have the students get out a crayon or marker, and they can “grade” their paper to see how the class did on their snowball fight math page.
Hope these activities help you and your students beat the winter blahs this year!
Looking for some fun read alouds for your classroom this winter season? Check out this blog post!
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