I love all things winter! Well… except for actual winter. I’m not a fan of cold, icky weather. But, I love winter as a classroom theme! The books, the decorations, the activities, the songs. I love it all! Some of my favorite winter activities are my snowman circle time games! I love them so much because the kiddos LOVE to play them! They’ll ask to play them again and again! And, these games are full of learning too! Check out these 9 circle time games that you print and prep today to use in your classroom!
These first three games are all about letters and sounds! You can use them to review letter names or sounds because each game has options for both! You can also use them in small groups for kiddos who need some extra practice, or you can put them in a center after you’ve used them all together. Your kiddos will love to play them on their own!
Snowman on the Ground
I love these “On the Ground” games! They work for every theme, and the kiddos love to play them! This snowman version is no different! Two simple chants are easy for your kiddos to learn! If you want to work on letter names, teach them this one:
Snowmen, snowmen, they’re not all the same!
Pick up a snowman and say the name!
And, if you want to work on letter sounds, teach them this chant:
Snowman, snowman, on the ground.
Pick up a snowman and make the sound!
Once they know the chant, lay the snowman cards out on the floor. Say the chant together and choose a kiddo to name the letter or sound. Keep going for as long as you think is appropriate for your kiddos!
If you’ve ever play Snap! or Kaboom! with your kiddos, you know how much they love these games! These adorable snowmen each have a letter on them. Put them on the end of craft sticks along with the “Melt!” pictures. Put all the sticks in a can or cup with the picture sides down. Pass the can around and let your kiddos take turns pulling out a stick. If they get a snowman, they tell you the letter name or sound. If they get it right,they get to keep it. If they pull out a sun, everyone says “Melt!” all together. The sun makes all the snowmen melt, so everyone has to give their snowmen back.
I will warn you, this game can take forever if you let it! To control the length of the game there are several things you can do:
- only use a portion of the letters
- when a “Melt!” stick is chosen, have all the kiddos with snowmen sticks give them to you rather than putting them back into the can
- after each “Melt!” stick is chosen, put it to the side rather than putting it back in the can
Snowman, Where’s Your Hat?
This little game is so much fun! Just lay the snowman and the hats out on the floor, teach your kiddos one of the two chants, and you’re ready to play!
If you want to work on letter names, teach your kiddos this chant:
Snowman, snowman, where’s your hat?
Somebody took it just like that!
Can you guess who has it now?
Say the letter and take a bow!
If you want to work on letter sounds, the chant is exactly same, except you change the word “letter” to the word “sound.”
To play, choose a kiddo to hide her eyes. Choose another kiddo to choose a hat and hide it in his lap. Have the first kiddo open her eyes and have everyone say the chant together. The first kiddo tries to guess who has the hat. Once she does, the kiddo with the hat puts it on the snowman and tells the name or sound of the letter.
To keep going, you can choose two new kiddos, or you can let the kiddo who hid the letter become the one who hides his eyes. Either way, your kiddos will be sad when it’s time to stop playing!
These three games are available in a bundle in my TPT store! Just click on the product cover to go grab your copy!
These next three games are all about numbers and counting! They are great to use not only during your circle time, but also in your small groups and centers!
How Many Hiding?
This fun game is great for working on decomposing numbers! This concept is EXTREMELY important when your kiddos get older and start learning to add and subtract. Before you play this game, you need to decide how many snowballs you’re going to use. If you’ve never done this with your kiddos before, I would start with 3 snowballs. As they master decomposing three, you can add more one at a time.
Show your kiddos the three snowballs. Count them several times and ask them each time to tell you how many snowballs you have. It’s super important for them to know how many you’ re starting with. Otherwise, they’re just playing a guessing game rather than a decomposing game.
Choose one kiddo to hide some of the snowballs while the other kiddos hide their eyes. Let him choose one, two, or three snowballs to hide under the snowman. Have the other kiddos open their eyes. Look at how many snowballs are still showing. Count them together and let your kiddos guess how many are hiding. Once they’ve guessed, let the first kiddo lift up the snowman to show how many are hiding.
I Have, Who Has
“I Have, Who Has” is a classic game that can be used for just about any set of skills. But, you just don’t hear of it being used in a preschool class very often. I’ve heard many preschool teachers say that it’s too hard for their kiddos. To this I would say that pre-k kiddos are very capable of playing this game if you are very careful about teaching them how to play it! Think about how much time and energy you invest in teaching your kiddos how to use new materials and centers at the beginning of the year. You don’t just hand them a center activity and expect them to know what to do with it, how to clean it up, and where to put it on the shelf. You teach them all of those things to get them to a point of independence with the activity. This game is no different!
I would start with the kiddos in pairs. Put a higher kid with a lower kid to increase the chances of every kiddo being successful. Before you ever play, show the kiddos the cards and demonstrate how to play. I even like to play a fake round of the game where I lay the cards out and flit around the circle and pretend to be different kiddos reading each card to show them how. They think this is wildly hysterical!
The first several times we play, I’ll line the kiddos up and pass out the cards in order. This way, we can go straight down the line, and it’s easy for me to coach the kiddos to chime in when it’s their turn.
Once they’ve got the basics down and they understand the pattern of the game, you can mix the cards up and just play. But, it takes time to get there. Just be intentional about how you teach this game, and you’ll be amazed at how well they’ll do with it!
If your kiddos simply need to practice recognizing numbers, you’ll love this simple hide & seek game! Just lay the number cards out on the floor. Choose one kiddo to hide the hat under one of the numbers while the rest of your kiddos hide their eyes. Once the hat is hidden, have them open their eyes. Say the chant together and choose a kiddo to guess where the hat is by telling you the number she thinks it’s under. That’s it! Simple to prep, simple to play, and perfect when you just have a few extra minutes to fill!
These three math games are also available in a bundle in my TPT store! Click on the product cover to go check it out!
Colors, Shapes, and Movement Games
The games in this last set each focus on something different. One is all about colors. One is all about shapes. And one is all about getting those wiggles out when your kiddos need to move!
Snowman Wore His Red Hat
Have you ever heard the song, “Mary Wore Her Red Dress?” This song follows that same pattern, but it says “Snowman wore his red hat.” Teach your kiddos the song, pass out the snowman cards that are in eleven different colors, and you’re ready to play!
Just sing the song together. Whatever color you sing is the color the kiddos are looking for. If they are holding a snowman wearing that color, they stand up while you’re singing that verse. Just change the color and keep singing until all your kiddos have gotten to stand up!
This shapes song will quickly become a class favorite! Teach your kiddos the song and pass out the snowman shapes cards. Choose one shape and plug it into the song:
If your snowman is a circle please stand up.
If your snowman is a circle please stand up.
If your snowman is a circle, hold it up and turn around.
If your snowman is a circle please sit down.
Let your kiddos who have snowman circles stand up and turn around while you’re singing. Choose another shape and sing it again! Keep going until all of your kiddos have gotten a turn to stand up!
Snowman Movement Game
Sometimes, despite your best efforts during circle time, your kiddos are just wiggly and restless! Am I right? These are the times when you need some movement activities on hand and ready to go! But, even movement games can get tired and lose their luster if you don’t keep them fresh. That’s why I love to have some simple theme-related movement games in my toolbox!
This snowman movement game gives your kiddos the change to get their wiggles out by acting out the different steps to make a snowman. You can mix them up and randomly choose one to act out, or you can do them in order. (Hint: This can double as a sequencing activity!) But, make sure you always save the “melt to the ground: card for last! Have your kiddos melt as slowly as they can back into their spots. This will get them calm and sitting down before the game is even over!
This set of circle time games is available as a bundle in my TPT store as well! Just click the product cover to get your own set!
Get Them All!
If you want all nine of these games in one HUGE bundle ate a HUGE discount, I’ve got you covered! Buy them all together and save 30% over buying each file individually! The product cover will take you straight to it!
You might also want to check out some of my other winter posts! You can put all of these activities into action in your classroom for a super fun winter theme!
What are your favorite winter activities? I’d love to hear what you love to do in your classroom!