These winter center ideas aka free choice activities for preschool are easy to prep and have been well received and played with over and over again in my class. In my classroom we have a bunch of centers; sensory, science, home center, blocks…these all work to engage children in learning at their level. If you are a parent or teacher trying to grasp why free choice is so important, this post explains why this big block of playtime is so important for children.
Winter Center Ideas For Preschool
Winter Sticker Station Use snowflake and snowman stickers for this simple activity that promotes fine motor skills.
Adding cotton balls to your block area or train set. The train set is one of the most popular free choice activities in my classroom this year and adding cotton balls is a simple addition that boost pretend play. Also, they don’t throw very well especially if you stretch them out a bit.
Arctic Ice Sensory Play – This was so popular with my students I made two last year. The combination of water and ice really boosts play with the arctic animal figurines and if the conversations I had about animals with my students in the past two years are any indication this is a wonderful addition to any classroom.
Blizzard In A Bottle – this sensory bottle will go onto my science table, and we will use it to talk about the weather. It is also a lovely way to help excited or anxious kids calm down as they watch the snowflakes settle. Oh and I promise it’s a cinch to make.
Snowflake and Snowmen cookie cutters in your play dough. This winter play dough station is more elaborate than you need in your class but the idea is the same. Play dough is a must at least once a week because it helps develop hand strength is a wonderful way to quietly talk with students and promote friendships and sharing.
Ice Painting – we usually do this at free choice because it is often a short but fun activity. Using liquid water colors works much better than the paint I used originally too. Oh, and if you freeze a popsicle stick in the ice cube, you will make a handle for the kids who won’t touch the cold ice.
Snow Window – cotton balls, makeup pads, foam snowflakes, q-tips and good sticky contact paper and some painter’s tape is all you need for this winter free choice activity. You don’t even need a window; you can do this on a wall too.
Footprints in the Snow – Play dough play. This is another big hit every year. I love how adding figurines to play dough boost imaginative play and language too.
Winter Circle Time Activities
Here are some of my favorite circle time books and activities for winter: