Ah, Maryland. Where the weather goes from a balmy 69 degrees to 33 with a wintry mix. What can we do when we find ourselves straddling these changes in temperature? How do we keep the kids occupied and manage our sanity at the same time? This week, we will be hanging onto winter with some fun winter themed learning activities for your kids and students!
Here, in Maryland, we definitely get our share of ALL the seasons. Growing up, I had no idea that other parts of the country and the world, didn’t have stereotypical seasonal changes the same way we did! One thing about Maryland seasons, especially a Maryland winter is how it “dies” like a horror movie villain. Just when you start to think it’s over and you put away your shovel and rock salt- BOOM! Winter weather alert! I guess we can thank Punxsutawney Phil for that one. Go back to sleep, Phil.
I, for one, don’t mind hanging onto winter for a little bit more. I love winter clothes- sweaters and scarves are my jam. Sometimes, though, I find myself peering out the window trying to determine what the weather is like. Is it cold? Is it warm or humid? Will I regret this turtleneck once I get into the school building? Generally, by the time February hits, its a crap shoot regarding what to expect from the Maryland pre-Spring weather. We’ve covered some activities over the past few months with things to stay busy doing when the weather gets cold and wet. By this time, if you are regularly reading my blogs, you know I love a good theme! On that note, we have lots of activities this week that are centered around hanging onto winter. We’ll go from math, to science, to ELA and more!
Hanging onto winter through science
I always love an opportunity to immerse myself in a theme. To really embrace all the things available to me for a full experience. With seasons, they present a great opportunity to teach our kids and students ways to learn while engaging in their immediate surroundings. We’ll start off with some observational activities. What I love about this 5 Senses in Winter activity is that you and your children or students can go outside for a quick walk or, weather permitting, even a longer hike through the woods. While outside, what do you see, hear and smell? Going further, what can you feel? Is there an opportunity to (safely) taste anything while outside in the winter? Make sure to remind our little learners not to eat any berries or plants they might find! Tip: This activity is easy to change out for any season or environment!
One of my all time favorite animals beside the capybara (a misunderstood giant rodent) is the polar bear! I know it could probably pull my face off, but I love watching those beautiful white bears slide around on the ice up to their adorable mischief. I recently came across this photo series by wildlife photographer, Dmitry Kokh, of polar bears inhabiting abandoned weather station buildings on a remote Russian island. One thing I always remember wondering about polar bears and other arctic animals was, “How do they stay warm??” Help your little learners ponder this question, while maybe answering it scientifically for yourself as well with our Polar Bear Experiment! This is such a great activity to demonstrate just how important it is for animals like polar bears and whales to have blubber!
Let it snow, let it snow…?
If you live somewhere where you still have access to snow, this activity is for you! We here in Maryland had a “wintry mix” last night into the morning, but we only saw ice and rain across most of the state. However, there are still areas that may see snow before Spring officially kicks in. You could also file this one away for next winter! This experiment helps to explain how and why salt is used to treat snowy surfaces.
What is the correct type of salt to use when it snows? I remember thinking as a kid that any kind of salt was fine, even just basic table salt. What I love about this Salt and Snow Experiment is how it encourages you to think like a scientist by making predictions and carrying them out. For this activity, you’ll be battling it out between table salt and epsom salt! Who will triumph?
There’s always time for math!
Admittedly, I am not a scholar of math. That being said, the importance of math is unrivaled and we do use it for almost everything! To tie in our winter theme, we have curated the following winter math activities for you to do with your kids and students.
- Winter Addition Speed Drills
- Winter Subtraction Speed Drills
- Winter Addition/ Subtraction Speed Drills
- Winter Multiplication Speed Drills
- Winter Division Speed Drills
- Winter Multiplication/ Division Speed Drills
- Winter Addition Word Problems
- Winter Subtraction Word Problems
- Winter Multiplication Word Problems
- Winter Place Value Game
Each of these activities are free printables for you to share with all your little learners. They are also in order of gradual complexity from simple addition/ subtraction to multiplication/ division. We also created several math word problems as well to round things out. They, of course, incorporate all things winter and snow related!
What’s the word? Winter!
We wanted to make sure that all of our winter activities were appealing to all types of learners. We incorporated math, logic, ELA and science experiments. Last but not least, are activities for practicing sorting and pattern predictions. You may want to make sure to use a color printer for some of these since the colors do help with identifying some of the images.
I know my students love a good word search or scrambled words activity. They especially go for these after completing an assessment or in between starting something new. This Winter Word Search has 12 winter themed words to find and includes an answer key. I adore brain teasers, even when they’re really hard and make me furious! We aren’t going to make things super tough here, but we have a fun Scrambled Winter Words activity with 15 words to wrap things up.
Hang in there and hang on!
Winter is almost over and as much as we might want it to be completely finished, it isn’t. While we still have the time, enjoy the beauty of the remaining winter weather, have some fun with it and certainly be (and drive) safely through it! Let us know in the comments what your favorite winter animal is! Penguin, narwhal, polar bear- something else? We’d love to hear from you.
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.