It’s important for students, especially young learners, to understand the changing of the seasons and the rhythms of the year. These lessons can frame all kinds of learning from numeracy to literacy. In winter, we can deploy activities that engage the changing seasons and holidays to boost learning.
In fact, neuroscientist Judy Willis suggests that the nature of changing seasons can be harnessed to encourage learning. And, of course, the modern school year itself is based on the changing seasons.
There are a number of useful online resources, repositories, and ideas that you can use or customize for your classroom based on the seasons. Let’s explore some options.
Engage the Youngest Learners
Seasons are an important idea to convey to PreK students. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) discusses the power of seasonal learning in a blog post from Kathryn Maisonville:
As we moved into winter and the landscape yielded to the cold weather, we spent one morning talking about the changes occurring outside. This led to children’s questions about the lack of birds—why some remained while others left the area. The children’s inquiries and observations were full of interest and knowledge. We had found our new topic!
This set of activities from PreKinder includes “activities, lessons, and printables for Pre-K, Preschool, and Kindergarten.” Learn new vocabulary with winter word cards, find winter-themed books perfect for your age group, or even surprise your students with instant snow.
Embrace Diverse Topics
As the NAEYC article indicates, teaching about the seasons isn’t limited to just winter holidays and changes in the weather. Broader lessons about the environment, like Maisonville’s students observing a lack of birds, can open up early lessons in scientific inquiry, even the scientific method, for example.
- Julie Smith, “The Techie Teacher,” has complied a number of winter activities focused on tech, but which can teach math, creative writing, and more.
- Ed Tech Ideas’ diverse list of resources includes games, cards, Santa-tracking, and fun uses of Google Earth.
- The Connecticut Education Association has lessons plans ready to go for grades K-12.
Just need to add a little excitement to the day? Try one of these activities to mix it up in your elementary classroom.
- Explore Raise the Bar Reading’s list of No Prep Winter Activities for the Elementary Classroom.
- Check out Eric Curt’s 8 Googley Winter Activities.
- Make sure you stop by Common Sense Education for Festive Resources to Try Before Winter Break.
- Free Technology for Teachers has curated Lots of Lessons About Winter Weather.
Don’t Forget to Ask Santa!
And of course, don’t forget about TCEA’s live chat with Santa! As part of our annual tradition, Kris Kringle himself will visit TCEA headquarters on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 to answer your Christmas questions. Learn more about the event in this blog post.
Have seasonal activities or resources you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!
More Winter Resources from TechNotes
- Tips, Tricks, and Tech Tidbits – Part 8 (more winter activities)
- Winter Resources for the Elementary Classroom
- Fun with a Holiday FlipHunt
- Celebrate the Season with Holiday Websites
- 5 Holiday Seesaw Activities
- Holiday Websites, Apps, and Extensions
- Merry Merry Breakout
Photo: Ethan Hu