Preschool children have short attention spans, but love to be creative. Encourage their artistic impulses with simple winter crafts designed to pay tribute to the season.
Snowman Craft for Preschoolers
Preschoolers can easily make this friendly snowman (pictured above) using their old mismatched socks. This craft would also be a cute gift to give teachers, grandparents, or other special people during the holidays.
- White tube sock
- Patterned sock
- Two small plastic baggies with twist ties
- Uncooked rice
- Two rubber bands
- Small beads
- Liquid glue
- Fill the first plastic baggie with about one cup of rice. Tie the baggie closed.
- Place the baggie in the white tube sock so it's about 2/3 full. Secure the sock with a rubber band just above the baggie. This makes a ball that forms the base of your snowman.
- Fill a second baggie with 1/2 cup rice. Tie it closed.
- Place the second baggie in the sock, then secure the sock with a rubber band just above the baggie. This makes a ball that forms the head of the snowman. Trim the rest of the sock, or roll it down and secure with the elastic to hide the excess.
- Cut sections of the patterned sock to make a hat, scarf, and/or shirt for your snowman. Cut off the toe area to make a hat and cut off the ankle area to make a shirt. For a scarf, cut a long strip and tie it around the snowman's neck.
- Glue buttons and small beads on the snowman to create facial features.
If you do not want to use buttons or small beads for this project, you can simply add the facial features with a fabric marker in the color of your choice.
Snow Globe Craft
Purchased snow globes can be quite expensive, but it's easy for preschoolers to make their own using ordinary household materials. This is also an excellent project to put their favorite kid's meal toys to good use! If you're having trouble finding glycerin, look for it at a local drugstore near the first aid supplies.
- Clear glass or plastic jar with a tight fitting lid
- Plastic figurine
- Epoxy, hot glue, or super glue
- Distilled water
- Have an adult adhere the plastic figurine to the inside of the lid with epoxy, hot glue, or super glue. Set it aside to dry.
- Fill the jar almost full of distilled water. Add a small amount of glitter and two or three drops of glycerin to keep the glitter from falling too quickly.
- Screw the lid back on the jar, then turn it over to watch the snow fall.
If you're worried that your child might be tempted to open the jar to examine the contents, you can glue the lid shut as a precautionary measure.
Pinecone Bird Feeder
During the winter many birds migrate to warmer climates, but not all do. Some prefer to stay in the cold winter weather. Feeding the birds is a good way to learn more about them and build compassion for all living things.
- Large pinecone
- Bird seed
- Peanut butter
- Yarn for hanging
- Cut a long piece of yarn to hang the feeder.
- Tie the yarn around the pinecone near the top.
- Tie another knot in the end of the yarn.
- Spread the peanut butter in the cone and all over the sides.
- Pour some birdseed on a plate and roll the pinecone in it, allowing the seeds to stick to the peanut butter.
- Hang the finished feeder on the branch of a tree so the birds can find it.
You can create a similar bird feeder with a piece of cardboard. Cut the cardboard in a shape using a cookie cutter as a guide. Some ideas for fun shapes include a mitten, bird, or bell. Poke a hole through the cardboard at the top, and push the yarn through it. Tie to form a loop. Next, spread the shape with peanut butter and press the birdseed into it. Hang from a tree branch.
Ice Lantern Craft
Ice lanterns make lovely outdoor decorations during the winter months. This project also doubles as a bit of a science experiment since it teaches preschoolers about the properties of frozen water.
- Medium bucket
- Battery-operated candle or glow stick
- Fill the bucket almost to the top with cold water, leaving two or three inches at the top to give the ice room to expand as it freezes.
- Place the buckets outside in the snow.
- Wait until your water is almost frozen, but not yet a solid block of ice. (You want the outside walls of the bucket to be frozen solid, but still have a liquid center.)
- Turn the bucket upside down and pour hot water on it. This will allow the ice to release from the bucket.
- Carefully lift the bucket off the ice. If necessary, gently puncture the thin top layer of ice in the middle of your lantern.
- Place your lantern in the desired location outside, adding a battery-operated candle or glow stick to showcase its natural beauty.
If you want to be creative with your ice lanterns, try adding food coloring, berries, orange slices, evergreen clippings, or tiny pebbles to the water in Step 1 before placing it outside to freeze. This will give your lanterns an added layer of visual interest.
More Fun Seasonal Craft Ideas
For more easy winter crafts that preschoolers can make with minimal adult assistance, try some of these projects:
- Winter Crafts for Kids: Learn how to make a no-sew fleece blanket, mitten puppet, winter village, snowball snowman, scarf, doorstop, and fingerless gloves.
- Paper Snowflakes: Making paper snowflakes is a time-honored winter tradition that gives preschoolers a chance to work on their fine motor skills.
- Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes: These adorable snowflakes are easy to make and the perfect way to bring a touch of winter cheer into your home.
- Printable Penguin Craft: There's just something about penguins that preschoolers find irresistible. This charming paper craft can be decorated any way your child wishes, then used to tell stories all day long.
Planning an Enjoyable Craft Experience
Winter crafts can help young kids learn more about the seasons, the holidays, and the world around them. You can enrich the craft time by reading a story and then doing a related craft. For example, reading The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and then making a snowman craft will allow your child to get more enjoyment from both activities.