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Monday, January 1, 2024

January {Winter} Play Activity Ideas for Toddlers & Preschoolers + Free Play Calendar PDF

I'm putting together monthly play activity schedules to make it easy for you to create a month of fun for your kids at home or in the classroom, every month of the year.

The January Winter activity calendar focuses on snowman and snow themed ideas for toddlers, preschoolers and school kids. The activities include a mix of art and craft, science and sensory play ideas as well as books to read aloud during the month.

Each activity is explained in detail below, including how you can extend or adjust the activity based on your child's age. You can also download our free interactive January Winter activity calendar pdf with links to instructions for every activity to save for future reference.

January winter play calendar.


This play activity calendar includes activities that can easily be done using items from around your home {or classroom} and you can substitute items to make it suit what you have on hand.

There are no activities listed for weekends as they can be used for free play/family time or to catch up on activities you may have missed during the week. Below you will find detailed explanations of each activity as well as how to modify them for children of different ages and some extension activities you can do if you're looking for additional ideas.

At the bottom of this post you'll also be able to download a copy of the interactive January Winter play calendar PDF which includes direct clickable links to all of the activities featured in this months calendar.

How To Catch a Snowman {Read Aloud}

Can you catch a snowman? The kids in town try their best with lots of fancy traps. Will they get him or does he get away? Who will be the contest winner?

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

how to catch a snowman book cover.


Paper Snowman

You don't always need snow to make a snowman! The kids can build a fun 3D snowman following this simple snowman paper craft.

If younger kids need help with making the snowman, you can pre glue the snowman layers together and just get them to decorate each level.

paper snowman craft.


Exploding Snowman Experiment

Create a super simple snowman and watch it explode in just a few seconds due to a chemical reaction. This exploding snowman experiment is a really easy science experiment that visually shows how baking soda and vinegar react with a bang - literally! Don't worry it's perfectly safe for kids, but you'll want to do this one outside.

exploding snowman bag science experiment.


Melted Snowman Bottle

This melted snowman sensory bottle is a great mess free way to show kids what's left when a snowman melts. They can move the bottle around to discover and identify all the parts of the snowman.

melted snowman sensory bottle.


Snowman Sticky Wall

This sticky wall snowman is a great vertical play activity for children of all ages. All you need to do is draw a snowman on the back of some contact paper then stick it on the wall sticky side out. Give the kids any snowman themed craft loose parts and they can decorate the snowman by sticking the bits and pieces onto the contact paper.

This is a great activity for fine motor skills as children need to grasp the items then push them onto the sticky wall to make them stay. It's also super fun pulling things off and sticking them back on again.

snowman sticky wall activity.


Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

Popsicle stick snowflakes are a super easy winter craft to do with the kids. I recommend making the snowflakes first {because it involves hot glue}, especially if doing this as a class activity. Once the snowflakes are finished and dry, they can be turned into ornaments, magnets or displayed in a gallery wall.

popsicle stick snowflake craft.


Little Snowflake {Read Aloud}

Learn how snowflakes are formed as you read along and follow the little snowflake on it's journey to become a snowflake and discover what happens after it melts.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

little snowflake book cover.


DIY Snow

Recreate the feeling of real snow with this DIY sensory snow. This is the easiest fake snow recipe I've found and it's cold to touch just like real snow. Make enough to fill a shallow tub and children can use it to build their own snowmen, or add figurines to turn it into a snow small world.

While this fake snow is technically made from taste safe ingredients, baking soda can be dangerous when consumed in certain quantities so don't make this with children who are still mouthing and always use it under adult supervision.

diy sensory snow recipe.


Salt Painted Snowflakes

Salt painting is a fun way to combine science with art to create textured paintings and learn about absorption at the same time. Download the free printable snowflake templates and you'll need white glue, salt and watercolour paint {or water with food colouring} to complete the painting.

salt painted snowflakes.


Snowflake Threading

Threading snowflakes is a fun fine motor and process art activity where children can create their own beautiful unique snowflakes from scratch, no snow required. You only need pipe cleaners and some pony beads.

Threading is a great way to help children build strength and dexterity in their fingers. It also exposes them to mathematical concepts such as recognising colours and shapes, creating patterns and counting. Plus it's great for hand/eye co-ordination as they try to slide the beads onto the pipe cleaners.

threading snowflakes activity.


Winter is Here {Read Aloud}

Winter is here, it's everywhere! This book takes children on a journey through Winter and all the places they can look to see that Winter is here.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

winter is here book cover.


Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Coffee filter snowflakes are a great art activity that also gives children lots of opportunity to work on their scissor skills and experiment with cutting. It's really easy for children to create their own unique snowflake designs by folding and cutting the paper. They can be decorated with pens and water or food colouring, or simply leave them white. If you don't have coffee filters you can make them using white tissue paper.

coffee filter snowflakes.


Snowstorm in a Jar Science Experiment

A safe way for kids to recreate the effects of a snowstorm is with this snowstorm in a jar science experiment. The reaction that occurs during this experiment is similar to what happens in a lava lamp and replicates lots of snow falling from the sky until the storm settles.

You'll need some Alka-Seltzer tablets for this experiment which can be bought from a supermarket in the health aisle or at a chemist.

snowstorm in a jar science experiment.


Snowflake Wreath

Kids can design their own snowflake wreath with a paper plate and some foam snowflake stickers. This is a great activity for toddlers through to school kids and will help build their hand strength as they peel and stick the stickers, and colour in the plate.

paper plate snowflake wreath.

Tip: If you're using stickers on a sticker sheet with younger kids remove the backing outline so it's easier for them to grab the edge of the sticker and peel it off the sheet.


Snowflake Printing

Using cardboard tubes or toilet paper rolls to stamp is a fun way for children to paint and they're easier for younger children to hold than a paintbrush. Follow the instructions here to make paper roll stamped snowflakes. You can decorate them with glitter, or just leave them as white snowflakes.

toilet paper roll printed snowflakes.

Additional Ideas:

More Cardboard Printing. You can use cardboard tubes to make lots of other printed paintings like hearts, fireworks, shapes and more.


Mouse's First Snow {Read Aloud}

Papa and Mouse go on a snowy adventure doing all the fun things you can do in snow. They go sledding, ice skating, make snow angels, snowballs and a snow mouse.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

mouse's first snow book cover.


Winter Sensory Bin

This winter sensory bin is super easy to set up, all you need is some string, pom poms and pipe cleaners to create a soft, tactile winter wonderland. Check out the activities Taming Little Monsters did with their winter sensory bin.

winter sensory tub.


Crystal Snowflakes

Amaze the kids by turning a pipe cleaner into a real life crystal snowflake. This one will require a bit of patience as the crystal snowflake experiment will take a few days for the crystals to grow completely, but the results are worth waiting for.

Please note this experiment uses boiling water and borax so it's recommended to either be done by school aged children, or done as a demonstration where younger children simply observe the process and don't actually complete the experiment steps themselves.

crystal snowflake experiment.


Decorate a Snowflake

This snowflake decorating craft is great to do during group rotations and comes with a free printable snowflake template. Set up a tray with blank snowflakes, glitter glue, stickers and various craft items like sequins, gems, buttons, pom poms or beads and some glue.

This is a great way for kids to express themselves decorating their snowflake in their own individual style and it also provides lots of opportunities for fine motor movements. The completed snowflakes would also make a great classroom display.

snowflake decorating.


Crayon Resist Snowflakes

Crayon resist painting is an easy painting technique where you use a white crayon to draw an invisible picture that will magically appear as you add watercolour paint as it resists the paint colour. To make crayon resist snowflakes simply draw some snowflakes with white crayon then paint over the top of them with blue or purple watercolour paints.

crayon resist snowflake painting.


Winter Snowflake Sensory Bottle

If your kids love watching snow fall, or they've never experienced it {like my kids} and want to know what it's like, you can recreate it with this easy snowflake sensory bottle. It's mesmerising watching the snowflakes slowly fall to the bottom and create a pile of fresh snow.

snowflake sensory bottle.

Arctic Ocean Sensory Bin

Create a simple arctic ocean sensory bin  using a shallow tub of water with blue food colouring, some ice cubes, some Styrofoam pieces and some arctic animal figurines. If you want to do an even simplified and mess free version of this sensory bin, use blue paper or a blue play scarf as the ocean and cut up some white paper into different iceberg shapes.

arctic animal small world sensory bin.


Arctic Animal Movement Exercises

Get the kids up and moving with these arctic animal movement cards. They'll have heaps of fun and be working on their gross motor skills while acting out all the different movements made by arctic animals.

arctic animal movement cards.



Click the download now button below to download the interactive PDF file. Each image on the PDF calendar can be clicked to go directly to the instructions for the individual activity.

Please note that this activity calendar PDF is for personal or classroom use only and may not be shared, electronically uploaded or sold on any platform. If you would like to share or feature the calendar in a blog post please link back to this post directly.

winter play calendar for kids.

download calendar pdf here.


winter play calendar ideas for kids.

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may make a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.

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