Winter might be filled with heartwarming holidays, delicious hot cocoa with marshmallows, and families and friends sitting around a cozy fire; however, nothing takes way the warmth and joy of the season more than antsy students with cabin fever. There are many outdoor and indoor winter activities for students to try out during the long winter months, which can engage students of all ages year-long.
If you have permission to have an outdoor class, then there is nothing better than some fresh air for the students. What better way to practice for an upcoming vocabulary or spelling test then to have students write their words or definitions in the snow. The materials needed are water, spray bottles, food coloring, and fresh snow. Content teachers can adapt this activity to their curriculum. Science students can draw their animal or plant cell models in the sand. History students can create topography maps using different color spray bottles to represent different landforms. Bring new energy and fun to your math lesson when students get to write out their work in the fluffy white snow instead of their white notebook paper. If there is no snow, then there are ways to adapt the classroom to bring the outdoors inside.
Kinesthetic activities that promote problem solving and perseverance enable students to use their imagination and think outside the box and are ideal for 21st century learners. If there is no snow, then have students create their own snow. They could brainstorm, develop, and create their own recipes for snow to test out. Meanwhile, there are many easy snow recipes online like two ingredient fake snow. With hair conditioner and baking soda your class can create snow for endless sensory activities. Making a mess is fun but there are many mess free snow alternatives too.
There are numerous quick write or journal prompts about winter to help students warm up their writing. Students get very excited to create outlines and draft narratives about becoming a snowman or woman, being trapped in a snow globe, or the day it snowed (insert their own ideas), which a teacher can use as a lesson on idioms or an extension. A great way to share these stories is by having an in class snowball fight. Students crumple up their writing. Then, in an organized manner, students throw their "snowball" to the center of the room. Finally, students collect one snowball, carefully unfold the writing, and read their peer's story.
One or all of these engaging winter activities will freeze out any sense of boredom or cabin fever in the classroom. All of the activities are very tactile and will get your students moving outdoors or indoors. In addition, each promotes reading, writing, listening and speaking and can align with teaching standards. Be sure to set clear expectations for writing in the snow with the spray bottles, creating snow in the classrooms, or having an indoor snowball fight with crumpled papers. With explicit rules and routines in place one will create a cool classroom and avoid burn out from redirecting negative behaviors.
Do you have snow spray painting ideas for outdoor activities for your content area or other ideas to bring the outdoors inside? Be sure to share this article and tweet SubAssistant to help create a collaboration and idea space for other educators.