Oh, the weather outside is frightful. But there are a number of fun and engaging winter activities your students can do indoors! Starting December 21 and ending March 19, winter brings chilly temperatures, frost-covered surfaces, snow flurries and festivities. And your students can celebrate the shortest season of the year with a variety of winter activities, crafts and even tasty treats.
We’ve rounded up our favorite activities below to help you and your students get through the winter months:
1. Crystal Suncatchers
Celebrate the start of the winter season with crystal suncatchers! Gather the following supplies: Epsom salts, clear recycled plastic lids, empty jar, bowl, fork, tray, string and exacto/pin. Visit Babble Dabble Do for full instructions on creating the crystal suncatchers.
2. Do-It-Yourself Snow Globes
Waiting for the snow to arrive for winter? You can create your own with DIY snow globes! You will need clear plastic jars with tight-fitting lids, Super Glue (adult use only), glitter, small plastic figures and water. Adults: Glue the figures to the inside of the lids and let dry. Have students fill the jars with water, leaving an inch at the top, and add about ½ teaspoon of glitter. Put a little glue around the inside edges of the lids and screw them on tight. By gently shaking their snow globes, students can enjoy their own snow flurries!
3. A Chilly Experiment
Make frost using an empty tin can, crushed ice, water and salt. To conduct the experiment, fill half of the can with ice, and add some salt and water. Wait and observe as the frost forms! You can learn more about this experiment (and the science behind frost) from Science Sparks.
4. Cotton Snowmen
Winter is upon us and it’s the perfect time to make cotton snowmen with your students! Gather the following materials: cotton balls, glue, scissors and white paper for the snowmen’s bodies and multicolored construction paper for the hats, eyes, arms and noses. Create your snowmen, and put them on display in your program! Check out the finished product at theimaginationtree.com.
5. Snowman on a Stick
This healthy treat is perfect for the winter months! Each snowman will need three thick slices of banana, a grape, a sliver of carrot, a triangular piece of apple, mini chocolate chips, two pretzel sticks and a bamboo skewer. Visit Happy Home Fairy to see how it’s done.
6. Pinecone Bird Feeders
Help feed wild birds this winter season! To make the feeders, you will need a few large pinecones, peanut butter, ice pop sticks, a bowl, string and birdseed. Use the ice pop sticks to coat the pinecones with peanut butter. Then simply roll the pinecones in a bowl filled with birdseed mix. Tie string to the pinecones, hang them outside and watch birds flock to the delicious treats!
7. Cottage Cheese Snowman
This festive winter snack is perfect for cheese lovers! You can create this editable craft using three scoops (small, medium and large) of cottage cheese to build the body; half a baby carrot to add the nose; 4-5 raisins to place the eyes and buttons on; and two celery sticks for the arms. Students will enjoy this fun and healthy winter treat!
8. Frost Experiment
Have you ever wondered, “How does frost form?” In this experiment, students will learn how water vapor changes from a gas to a solid (frost) at cold temperatures through a process called deposition. Visit Education.com to see the full experiment.
9. Gingerbread Houses
‘Tis the season for making gingerbread houses! To make the houses, students will need graham crackers; white frosting; candy such as gumdrops, chocolate kisses, red licorice, etc.; large paper plates; utensils and scissors. Allow students to tap into their creativity to build their houses. Once they are dry, students can dig in!
10. Hanging Mittens
Create a beautiful display with hanging mittens for your afterschool program! Gather a mitten pattern outline, foam craft squares in various colors, tissue paper in various colors, ribbon to hang, acetate sheets and glue. Allow students to design unique tissue-paper patterns!
11. Snow Crystals
Explore winter science with hanging “snow” crystals! You will need two jars, wool yarn, water, two paper clips, a small plate and baking soda. Students will discover that the crystals form when the water-soda mixture evaporates! Check out Learning 4 Kids to see how it works.
12. Winter Mural
Need a fun way to celebrate the start of winter? Have students create a group mural showcasing their favorite things about the season! Gather a large poster board, cotton balls, aluminum foil, paint, glitter and other craft supplies to complete the mural. This is a fun cooperative learning activity to welcome the new season!
13. Puffy Snowflake Paintings
Students can’t resist creating fun winter art! To create the puffy snowflakes, you will need salt, self-rising flour, water, empty dishwashing soap bottles, card-stock paper and a microwave. In a bowl, mix equal parts salt and self-rising flour. Add enough water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter, and pour it into the bottles. Allow students to squeeze out snowflake designs on the stock paper. Then heat the designs in the microwave for 30 seconds. The result: puffy snowflake art!
14. Water Bottle Penguins
Try this environmentally friendly winter craft with your students! Fill an empty plastic water bottle with cotton balls. Cap the bottle, and cover the cap with black tape. Then let students have fun decorating the bottle with felt, pom poms, wiggly eyes, feathers and more! You can see how it’s done by visiting onelittleproject.com.
15. Winter Collage
Create a winter collage using torn construction paper! Ask students to describe their favorite winter activities. Discuss the type of clothing they would wear and the equipment they would use. Then have students use torn construction paper, glue and markers to create their own winter landscapes! Visit The Smart Teacher to see a few examples.
For even more winter activity ideas, check out 10 Winter Activities to Welcome the New Season.