Winter is in the air and that means the snow is falling…for some of you! Where we live, the closest snow is a couple hours away, so we are excited to create winter inside! To bring the snow and winter fun to our house, I created this Winter Themed Toddler Unit. It’ll bring a bit of the winter season and tons of learning and fun to you and your little ones!
This unit is made up of 5 lessons that will each work on the following activities:
On the first day of this unit, you’ll introduce the winter theme by looking at the winter vocabulary picture cards. Get excited, because your excitement is contagious! Look at one picture at a time and ask your child what he or she sees in each picture then read and point to the word. Next, you’ll read the Winter Vocabulary Book. Read the book aloud to your child. Give your child plenty of opportunities to say the name of each picture. Color the book cover, and save the book to read again and again! My daughter was so excited to look at all of the pictures, especially since we live in a place where the closest snow is a couple hours away.
Put on your winter hats and let’s get busy crafting! In this first art project, your little one will design a winter hat. You’ll give your child a winter hat printable along with a variety of different materials to color, paint, or glue objects to the hat. Glitter glue or glitter markers will also make this art activity extra special. Children love to be creative and I hope they are proud of their finished creations! It’s also great fine motor practice since they are squeezing, pinching, and using their tiny hand muscles.
Sensory exploration is also so beneficial for our little ones. Since we don’t have snow to play with outside, we made our own “snow”. This fake snow play activity was so fun, even my older son wanted to play! For the fake snow, you’ll combine one cup of baking soda with water, one tablespoon at a time. Keep adding water until you have powdery snow. Place the snow in a tray and give your child as much time as they desire to play in the snow. You can encourage your child to build a snowman, construct a hill for a sled, or just have fun and get messy! If your child is ready to be challenged, you can have your child flatten the snow and practice writing their letters, numbers, or name. The possibilities are endless with this activity. Have fun!
There are so many benefits of sensory bins for our little ones. Sensory bins are an excellent tool you can use to incorporate many different learning activities, plus kids are working on fine motor, self control, pretend play, and so much more! For this sensory bin activity, you’ll fill a bin with “snowballs.” These snowballs can be made from pom pom balls, foam balls, or any other snow-like material. Then, you’ll add snowman parts to the bin. Be sure to provide positive feedback as your child is building their own snowman using the pieces. You can leave the pieces loose so you can reuse them in the bin again, or have your child glue the pieces on to create an adorable snowman. I have included all of the snowman pieces and the workmat in my Winter Toddler Unit to make this activity quick and easy for you!
This letter snowball sensory bin is another example of how we can incorporate lots of learning into the sensory bin. Using the same bin of “snowballs,” you’ll add the letter snowball cards. Have your child pick up one snowball at a time. Have fun saying the name of each letter! Depending on the ability level of your child, you can start with just a few letter cards (maybe the letters in your child’s name), or you can add the entire alphabet.
What could be more fun than feeding a snowman?!? This was my daughter’s favorite sensory bin and she asked to do it over and over again! To set up this bin, you’ll add a plastic bottle with the feed the snowman cutout placed on top of the bottle. Then, add a pair of tweezers and encourage your child to feed the hungry snowman. If your child isn’t ready for tweezers, you can use hand over hand movements or have them use their pincer (3-finger) grasp using their fingers. All of this fine motor work is essential in building up those tiny hand and finger muscles. As always, leave plenty of time for free play in the bin!
Counting and number recognition are important skills for our little ones to practice. I love this math activity because it combines 1:1 counting, number recognition, and fine motor. Win-win-win! You can laminate the winter counting clip cards using a personal laminator, or print on cardstock. Give your child clothespins and guide your child in clipping clothespins onto the number that matches the number of objects on each card. The clothespins are great for fine motor practice!
This is another great counting practice activity, and you can even turn it into a game. My daughter loves games, and anytime I turn something into a “game” she is always engaged! For this activity, you’ll need building blocks and the stack and count work mat. Your child will stack the number of blocks on each snowflake to represent the number.
I turned this activity into a game by adding a die. We took turns rolling the die, and then found the matching number and built a block tower on top. We did this for the numbers 1-6, then we finished 7-9 after. Using a die was beneficial because it helped my daughter begin to start subitizing with the dots on the die- which is identifying the number of dots on the die simply by looking at them.
I love teaching my children science concepts through hands-on learning. Today we talked about what a blizzard is and made a blizzard in a bottle! To make your own bottle, you will fill 2/3 of a plastic bottle with blue dyed water. Then, have your little one add some glitter and sequins to the bottle. Last, you will fill the bottle to the top with 1/3 clear oil. Screw the bottle cap on tight. Make sure to have your child help you with each step, as it’s great fine motor practice, too! Then, shake and enjoy the winter blizzard in the bottle.
Parent Tip - We also use this bottle as a calm down bottle. When my daughter gets super excited (aka - she needs to settle down), I have her sit down, shake the bottle, and watch the glitter and sequins fall. It’s the perfect calm down bottle and helps her refocus and settle.
For this science activity, you’ll need to use some of the “fake snow” you made earlier. Have your child build a volcano shape using the snow. Then, your child will squirt some liquid vinegar using a squirt bottle onto your snow volcano. We loved adding blue food coloring to our vinegar to see where it landed. You’ll love to watch your child’s face as he or she watches the reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar! This activity was so much fun, but is also excellent for building strong hand muscles. This squeezing motion of the bottle works to strengthen hand hand muscles. These strong hand muscles are important when building stamina in handwriting as your child gets older.
I hope you found some great ideas to use at home with your little ones this winter season! If you want to make teaching your toddler super simple and fun this week, then check out my Seasonal Toddler School Activities for complete lesson plans and all the printables you need to make learning easy and fun each season! And if you need even more toddler school themed units, check out my full Toddler School Curriculum.
I hope you enjoy bringing the winter season indoors as you play, learn, and explore with your child this week!
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my affiliate links, which helps to support The Primary Brain blog. As always, I only recommend products that I love and all ideas shared are my own.Written on January 19th, 2022 by Laurin Brainard