Brr...It's Cold Outside! Celebrate the Season with these Fun Winter Activities!

Fuelled by cookies and chocolate, I have finished a 45 page Winter Unit during the holiday break from preschool.

Nothing like having some ready-to-go activities to ease the re-entry back to work!

And I'd like to celebrate the New Year by offering it to one lucky winner!  I'll be choosing the winner from my e-mail subscriber list on January 1st.  If you aren't a subscriber yet, sign up now so that you have your chance to win!

Check out the unit below!  

This unit includes lots of fun ideas for the remaining winter months.  Christmas may be over, but there's still lots of winter fun to celebrate! 

This pack would be suitable for Preschool, as well as Kindergarten.

If you'd like to take a closer look at the 8 activities in this resource, CLICK HERE to view it on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Happy New Year everyone!  I'll enjoy my last week of chocolate indulgence before "resolution time!"  

The contest winner will be announced on January 2nd!  Good luck!   

Have a Holly Jolly Preschool Christmas Party

This is the view I woke up to this morning on the last day of school before the Christmas holidays.  Hellooooo snowfall!
It was my daughters' excited shouts that caused me to run to the window to see it. What a great way to start winter break!  I just had to survive the slippery drive to school! 

Being the last day before break, it was Christmas party day with all the parents attending to see their little ones sing.  Or not sing!  One never knows how it will go!  

After the concert, we had a potluck lunch, and then we set out a few activities for the kids and parents to do together while mingling and waiting for our surprise Santa visit.

We had a Christmas Photo Station.  
We set up some chairs in front of a backdrop for the people being photographed to sit on and then laid out a variety of dress-up props.  

I think the most popular signs were the Naughty and Nice ones.  The kids loved to hold the Naughty sign with the arrow pointing at mom or dad!  

Other props included snowman hats, elf hats, silly glasses, Santa hats, a scarf, plastic candy canes, and gift boxes.  
The Photo Station was lots of fun and a great way to involve the parents.  They like to be silly too!
And of course, so do the teachers!  

Activity option #2 was the Snowball Toss station.

This is a simple game that's quick to prepare and lots of fun for the kids.  

The cups were styrofoam so it was easy to knock over the pyramid with the paper "snowballs." 

Our last activity was the Decorate a Christmas Tree station.  The props for this station were created for the preschool by my "crafty" little daughter, Sasha.
The tree and decorations were made out of felt fabric and then painted with acrylic paint.  

You'll notice the tree is hot pink. Not a traditional choice, but I think it works!  (Plus, I didn't have any green felt!)  

After we played some games, the big guy made a visit and handed out some bags of sparkly reindeer food.

Then it was present time!  One gift for the parents that the kids had made (view here) and a Scholastic book for each of the kids from us teachers.

The party was festive and fun and a great way to end the school year of 2013!

I hope you all had a great party day, too.  
Now it's time for a fantastic holiday and lots of time to rest and relax.

And eat chocolates.  

I have already worked through a box of chocolate coconut balls given to me by one of the parents.  YUM!  

Ah, the perks of being a teacher!

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It's a Preschool Christmas! Art, Games, and Gifts for Parents

Christmas is so much fun.  Especially at preschool!  And this week was no exception.

One of the things we have on our TO DO list every year is making a Christmas gift for the parents.  

This year we decided to make a magnet bar to hold artwork onto the fridge.
The materials for this project include:
  • paint sticks donated from a local hardware store
  • two round button magnets hot glued to the back
  • two clothespins hot glued to the front
An inexpensive, yet practical gift!

Here is a picture of the kids painting the blank side of their paint stick.  

We decided not to make this gift look too "Christmasy" with red paint or sparkles so that it could be kept on the fridge throughout the year.

One of our other projects this week was making Christmas swags using some fir branches.

The children painted glue onto one side of the branch, then dipped it in a tray of sparkles and glitter.  The best part of doing this project was the reaction of the children when they first lifted their branch out of the sparkle pan and flipped it over.  

So many oooohs and aaaahs!

Some of the children also pressed on some cotton ball "snow" at the end.
To hang the swag, we attached two pipe cleaners twisted together (to look like candy cane stripes) and attached it to the branch at the top.  

Then we helped the kids add a bow to the front with some inexpensive ribbon.  (Sorry I don't have photos of some completely finished samples.  It was a busy day!)

Another project this week was creating stockings to hang over our classroom "fireplace."  
 We provided flyers with lots of images of different Christmas gifts that the children could cut out and glue onto their stocking.

We encouraged the children to pick out items not only for themselves, but for each member of their family.  A little "we" not "me" reminder!

After gluing on the pieces, the children decorated their stocking with cotton and stickers.

To spice up our playdough, we added some peppermint extract and some sparkles to the mix.  We thought it was important to bring the scent of Christmas into the classroom, too!
And then it was time to play in the snow!

As I mentioned at the start of the week, we had our first snowfall of the year on Monday. So, we decided to celebrate by having a big snowball fight.  Indoors!

A crazy idea?  Yes, crazy if it had been real snow. But what we used for the snowballs were crumpled paper balls.   They make the perfect snowball.  They're not wet, not icy, and most importantly, not painful when they hit you in the back!  (As noted by me - a wimpy snowball fighter.  Some of those real snowballs can feel like rocks!)

Here we are battling it out.  The children particularly enjoyed pelting the teachers!
But I got a few good shots in myself!

The snow falling from the ceiling unfortunately was not real.  I just thought it would be fun to set the scene through a little creative editing!  

And last, playtime in the snow would not be complete without makin' some snow angels. Here are our little snow angels!

And so caps another fun week at preschool...!  Fa la la la la la la!
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Santa's Toy Shop in Preschool

Week 2 of our Countdown to Christmas is upon us!

And we even got a sprinkling of snow to help make our spirits bright!  

The snowfall wasn't enough to build a snowman, or really even much of a snowball, but you can't be picky when you live on the west coast!  Any bit of white gets celebrated at this time of year.

We already decorated our Chistmas tree as a class last week, but the children had so much fun with the process that we decided to bring in another smaller tree for decorating at center time.  
We placed the tree on a table along with an assortment of decorations.  We encouraged the kids to "undecorate the tree" when they had finished loading it up so that the next person could decorate it.  

To help encourage the undecorating process (which of course is never as fun as the decorating process), I placed a couple of toy cameras on the table so that the children could take a photo of their creation before they undid their handiwork.  

An annual tradition in our classroom at this time of year is to create a Santa's Workshop. Here we can see the elves busy at work creating toys for Santa!
We included a variety of props including elf hats; gift boxes with lids; toys to be "built;" building tools including toy hammers, drills, levels, screwdrivers, etc.; paintbrushes to pretend to paint the finished products, and more.  
After our gang of elves "built" some toys they would put them in the gift boxes and bags and either present them to children in the classroom, or place them temporarily under our class Christmas tree. 

This is the sort of play we usually see at the center, but the center is always open for new ideas.  

At one point the elves imagined a snow monster was coming to lay siege on the toyshop and steal all the presents.  Everything needed to be hidden, and fast!  

Not exactly what we had in mind, but definitely showing the preschoolers' imagination at work!   

At the station in the photo below we have the Gingerbread Man Count and Clip activity. 
The children count the buttons on the Gingerbread man's tummy and then clip the clothespin onto the corresponding number on the card. 
A great activity for counting practice, number recognition, and the development of fine motor skills.  

Today we put a few more touches on one of our Christmas Bulletin Boards.  Simple but festive.   

In case you're wondering, the trunk is made from brown tissue paper just crumpled lengthwise and stapled to the board.  So easy!  

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Make Your Christmas Bright with these Fun Preschool Activities

Week one of our countdown to Christmas is officially over!

I'm going to celebrate by curling up under a blanket and watching a sappy Christmas movie on Women's Television.

  And I'm going to bring my poor hubby along for the ride.

We'll see how long he can last! 
Goodness knows I've watched my share of Iron Man movies.  Fair's fair! 

As for Christmas in preschool, here are a few of the activities we did at center time this week.

For the activity below, students needed to count the buttons on the snowmen and then place the snowmen on the matching number.  

My favourite prop in the photo is the piece of wood.  

It may sound strange, but I totally cherish that green piece of wood. 

It is a great stand to use for lots of different activities throughout the year.

 I've even carefully marked my name on the bottom just in case someone tries to "make off with it."   :)

To prepare the wood for my popsicle stick activities, I used the biggest drill bit in my set to drill the holes.

  The piece of wood is one that I found on the beach.   
Yes, I'm a true scavenger!  
 Free is good!

To see another handy use for this cherished piece of wood, click HERE
 You'll see it at the end of the post.  

Another Christmas activity at center time this week involved organizing Christmas images from smallest to largest on the magnet board.

 And finding the snowflake shadows for the Snowflake Shadow Match game. 
Unfortunately I forgot to take a decent photo of the Snowflake activity, but you can see it on the right of this photo.  

I glued the snowflake shadow mats to the red file folder and then the children placed the coloured snowflake images onto the matching shadow.  

For a better view of this item, check it out in my Preschool Christmas Unit.  

It is one of 8 fun activities for center time and circle time.  

Lots more going on next week.  I'll see you again for Christmas Countdown Week #2!

How to Paint your Preschool Windows for Christmas

Decorating our preschool for Christmas is now underway! 

This week the children had fun decorating our tree with toys and making a plastic chain link garland.

Our tree may not make the front page of Better Homes and Gardens, but the kids like it.  And it's a work in progress.  

Each of our classes will be adding their own personal touch.  

Foam ABC letters coming up next!  

We also decorated our classroom with the children's names "in lights."  

The students traced the letters for their names onto paper light bulbs, glued on a variety of 
sequins and glitter, and attached them to a paper wire.

We hung them around the room in line with the Christmas lightbulbs that we painted onto all of our windows.    

Here's a close up of the painted bulbs.

I'm starting to learn a few things about window painting which has improved my results compared to previous attempts.  

Painting on windows is not like painting on a canvas I've learned!  

One great strategy I picked up was to draw the images onto the window using a thick black Sharpie.

If you decide to do this, don't worry.  I tested it and it wipes off fairly easy with a bit of water. 

I also learned the value of a tracer when you are repeating images.  
Fairly obvious, but for some reason I didn't think of this last year and all of my lightbulbs ended up being different sizes!

Once all the bulbs had been outlined, I just painted in the shapes with children's watercolour paint.
For those of you who want to take your window painting to the next level, the other tip I picked up was to outline the images with white paint at the end.  

I may try that someday, but not today. 
 It would look awesome, but outlining 50 light bulbs would be quite a commitment!

But I digress!  As for the children and their learning... 

Our blocks are now festively wrapped in paper for the season.

Just make sure you watch the children like hawks on the first day!  Opening these "presents" was extremely tempting for some!

We set up a winter scene in our sensory bin.

This bin includes cotton "snow," pieces of logs, snowball ornaments, sparkly trees, and a variety of forest animals. 

And here we are starting a Days 'til Christmas art project.

Here is a close up of the Christmas Snowman Counter.  

My co-teacher saw it on Pinterest (I'm so sorry but I don't know the link!) and we thought it was too cute! 

 Sorry for the side view!
Ah, looks like the nose needs a little adjustment.  I think there are now about 19 days left!

Enjoy the Christmas craziness!

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