As a preschool teacher one of my jobs was to keep my classroom both seasonal and festive without focusing on one specific holiday, such as Santa Claus at Christmas. I found that in the winter, it was most fun to create a “winter theme” rather than focus on Christmas or the other holidays during this time of year. One of the other things I found was that I could create my seasonal decor with help from the kids in the classroom while still creating opportunities to learn.
Snowflakes, Snow and Snowmen
Depending on where in the country you live, it is possible that the children in your program will not have ever seen real snow. This is why I like to include real pictures of snow, snowmen and winter in my classroom. You can find these pictures in calendars, postcards and even from the Internet. You can also ask children to make scrapbook type pages that can be displayed on the walls that feature pictures of them and their families playing in the snow. Creating these types of displays will not only show real-life winter (rather than coffee filter snowflakes) but will create conversation pieces.
Swap out the clothing in your home living center for winter hats, jackets, scarves and mittens. You can also include snow boots or rain boots. White paper crumpled into balls will make for great snow balls too. Think also about including some other winter inspired decor like a fireplace. It is easy to create one out of cardboard boxes and some paint. Collect some small logs for children to use to make a fire along with pretend “flames” made out of cellophane.
Blocks and Building
Cover building blocks, cardboard boxes and other square or rectangles with white paper so children can build igloos. Provide pictures of igloos and of places like Alaska that are covered in snow. This will inspire building and design.
Arts and Crafts
One of my favorite winter inspired art projects can be hung from the ceiling or mounted to the wall. All you need is long sticks, some white tissue paper that has been torn into pieces and some glue. Allow the children to glue the tissue paper to the stick to create “snowy branches.” Top off your branches with birds that the children create out of construction paper and feathers. Hang then from the ceiling or create your own classroom tree with the branches. A giant snowman that the kids create together out of paper and collage supplies will also create a great addition to your winter theme!