Indoor Winter Activities & Books For Young Children


winter-themed crafts and booksOne of our family’s major challenges with remote learning is figuring out how to keep my four-year-old son busy, engaged, and progressing with his education. When I decided to pull him out of his pre-k school placement this fall, I needed structure and a plan for him with some winter activities and books.

I put together a small team to help with this process: myself, a former teacher, and our nanny. When I found out my son’s former teacher was taking a year off, I contacted her to gauge her interest in putting together weekly lesson plans, including online stories, crafts, and other activities with weekly themes having to do with the season or time of the year. Thankfully, she was excited to be involved and has gone above and beyond my expectations. These ideas were taken from the links provided in the heading for each activity. Below is a list of some of our favorite winter-themed crafts and books:


1. Winter Hat Pom Pom Art {The idea and directions for this project came from here}:

You will need white card stock paper to print out the template and white oil pastels or white crayons for the materials. Also, watercolor paint to paint over the pastel or crayon and yarn for the hat’s top.

First, trace the shape of a winter hat with a black marker or print a printable hat outline.  Then, draw a creative pattern onto the hat with your white oil pastel or crayon. You can draw any design or pattern that you wish. Use watercolor paint to color the entire shape of the hat. Next, cover the hat with a piece of paper towel to absorb some of the extra watercolor paint. Once the paint is dry, cut out the hat shape inside the outline on the page.

For the pom-pom, wrap yarn around your fingers about sixty times.  Next, cut the yarn leaving a few inches at the end. Remove your middle two fingers and wind the end of the yarn around the middle.

Next, remove the yarn from your fingers and place it on top of a 6-inch piece of yarn. Tie the yarn in a double knot around the middle of the bunch, remove the excess pieces, and cut the loops. Finally, shape the yarn into a ball and glue it to the top of the hat.

Here is a picture of our finished project:

2. Ski Craft and Ski Ramp (the idea and directions for this project came from here):

First, take a picture of your child (and siblings for a ski “race”) wearing winter coats, hats, and gloves with their arms stretched out to the sides. Print it out, and cut out just the shape of the child. We used a polaroid camera, which worked well. Paint craft sticks and glue the feet from the cut-out picture onto the sticks to serve as the skis. Next, glue or tape the hands to toothpicks to serve as the poles.

Then, cut brown construction paper into three triangles and paint the top of each with white color to represent the snow. Fold the papers in half and place them standing to look like mountains.

Finally, you can create a ramp with a piece of cardboard for the ski race. An idea for creating a ramp can be found here.

Here is a picture of our finished project:

3. Paper Plate Penguin (The idea and directions for this project came from here):

Paint a paper plate completely black, then fold white construction paper in half and cut out a large heart shape, but flat on the bottom. Glue the white construction paper in the middle of the black plate. 

Cut a diamond shape out of yellow construction paper and fold it in half. Use more of the black construction paper to cut a large circle and then cut the circle in half. Next, glue the wings on the back of the paper plate and glue on googly eyes to complete the face. Using more of the yellow construction paper, cut out shapes for the feet.

Here is a picture of our finished project:

4. Bear Cave Counting Activity (The idea for and directions for this project came from here):

This is a fun and creative activity with a math game component. Take two paper bowls, turn them upside down, and paint them gray or brown to represent caves.

After the paint has dried, use scissors to cut an opening in the front of each bowl to represent the cave’s opening. Next, glue cotton balls over the top to look like snow.

You will need several “bears” for each player. We used Teddy Grahams, but you can also you any small toy bears or cut out bear shapes with paper.

Now you can play the game. Each player has one cave and a pile of bears. Take turns rolling a die and then place the corresponding number of bears in their caves.

After each person has rolled the die and placed the correct number of bears in their caves, they will then lift the caves to count and see who has the most bears.

Here is a picture of our finished caves:

5. Banana Snowman Snack (the idea and directions for this project came from here):

Take three banana slices and stack them on top of each other. Use two mini chocolate chips for the eyes and another three for the buttons down the length of the snowman. Slice a sliver of carrot and place it into the top banana slice under the eyes to represent the nose. You can use thin pretzel sticks as the arms. Finally, place a small slice of strawberry on top for the hat.

Here is a picture of our finished snack before it was quickly devoured:

Winter-Themed Books for Preschool-Aged Children

1. Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming: This is a fun book about hibernation with beautiful animal illustrations.
2. Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen: One of my son’s all-time favorites.
3. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle: A fun and interactive book with questions at the end about animals.
4. Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere by Bob Barner: A fun rhyming book, and my son loved the large penguin illustrations.
5. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs: This was one of my favorite books as a preschooler, and my son loves it as well. It is a series of pictures, and the reader and child create the story about the adventure of a snowman and a young boy.

What are your favorite winter-themed activities and books to enjoy with your child?

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