With shorter days and fewer minutes spent outdoors for recess time, winter is a great time to integrate additional movement into classroom activities. Bundle up and dig into these creative active learning ideas to help you reinforce key concepts with your students.

Wintertime and Educational Games

Snowman Answers (K-2): Place two snowmen on the floor in different parts of the classroom. Each snowman will represent an answer to a question. Ask the class a question. (Questions can include math problems, science questions, questions about books the class has read, etc.) Give students two possible answers and tell students which snowman corresponds to each answer. Students should pretend to ski down a hill, walk like an emperor penguin, or fly like a snowy owl to the snowman they think is correct. Repeat for as many questions as desired.

Cold Weather Song (PK-2): Sing “The Mittens on My Hands” (tune: Wheels on the Bus) as a class, and have students wave their hands throughout the song.

Lyrics below (from Teaching Mama, 2014):

The mittens on my hands
Keep me warm,
Keep me warm,
Keep me warm,
The mittens on my hands
Keep me warm,
All winter long!


Snowball Math Relay (K-2)
: Provide two white balls (volleyballs, soccer balls, and inflatable balls work well) with several math facts written on them. (Snowballs should be small enough so students can carry them.) Mark start and finish lines on the floor with masking tape. Have students line up at the start line in two equal groups. The first student should state a math fact on the snowball and say the answer. Then, the student should roll the ball to the finish line, pick it up, run back to the start line, and give the ball to the next student in line. Repeat until the last student runs back to the start line. The team that finishes first wins.

Snowflake Math Alternative (K-2): Provide five snowflakes of varying size. Have each student pick up each snowflake and put the snowflakes in order from smallest to largest.

Snowman Spelling or Math (K-2): Place three toy hoops on the floor in the shape of a snowman. Add a black paper hat, an orange paper (or real carrot) nose, and black paper eyes and mouth. For this partner activity, provide bean bags (the number of bean bags should correspond to the letters in the longest word) and a list of spelling words. One student should read a spelling word and the other student should toss one beanbag into each hoop as they spell the word aloud. Students should check each other’s work. After students toss and spell a predetermined number of words, they should switch roles.

Seasonal spelling words might include the following:

  • snow
  • snowball
  • snowman
  • snowflake
  • ice
  • icicle
  • ski
  • skate
  • winter
  • cold
  • freeze
  • frozen
  • frost
  • sled
  • boots
  • coat
  • hat
  • mittens
  • scarf

Students can also practice addition or multiplication with this activity. Set up the toy hoops and snowman as described previously. For this partner activity, provide three beanbags (for the two numbers in the problem and the answer) and a list of math problems with answers. One student should read a math problem (leaving out the answer) and the other student should toss one beanbag into each hoop as they say each number in the problem aloud. Then, the tossing student should toss another beanbag and say the answer. Students should check each other’s work. After students toss and solve a predetermined number of math problems, they should switch roles.

JUST FOR FUN (PK-2)

Fun Freeze Dance: Play “Let It Go” and other seasonal tunes. Ask students to show off their silliest dance moves and tell them to freeze in place when the tunes turn off!

Ice Monster Walk: Have students walk down the hall like quiet ice monsters, yeti, or the abominable snowman. Students may choose to walk with stiff legs and arms straight out in front of them.

Fly Like a Snowy Owl: Have students walk down the hall like quiet snowy owls by flapping their arms.

Snowball Bowling Relay:  Provide two small decorated balls. Mark start and finish lines on the floor with masking tape. Have students line up at the start line in two equal groups. The first student should roll the ball to the finish line, pick it up, run back to the start line, and give the ball to the next student in line. Repeat until the last student in line runs back to the start line. The team that finishes first wins.

Musical Snowflakes: Cut large snowflake shapes from white and silver construction paper. Tape them to the floor in a large circle. Play winter music such as “The Nutcracker,” and tell students to move from snowflake to snowflake while the music plays like in musical chairs. Stop the music, remove a snowflake, and tell students to stand on (and share) snowflake. Remove one snowflake each round. By the end of the game, all students must share one snowflake. For variety, use gingerbread men, penguins, or winter hats instead of snowflakes.

How will you keep your students moving this Winter?