So you may have seen my 30+ Montessori-Inspired Christmas Activities post, but what if you don’t celebrate Christmas? Or what if Christmas is over but it’s not quite time for the next holiday yet? Changing holidays or seasons provide an amazing opportunity to give your Montessori shelves a face lift with some easy switches to make your activities more cohesive and seasonally-themed. Winter is a great theme to use as there is so much change visible — especially in the part of the country we live in.
The easiest way to make your shelves seasonally-themed is to switch out the colors of your materials and add a few seasonal shapes. For Winter, that could be white, different shades of blue, snowflakes, penguins, snowmen, polar bears, snow, etc. I found the absolute cutest materials at Oriental Trading for my Winter shelves, and I can’t wait to set them up as soon as Christmas is over! The best part — most of these materials can be used for several different activities, so you can switch up your trays if one activity has already been mastered.
Here are over 20 Montessori-inspired activities for Winter, arranged by section:
Typical Practical Life Transfer Works
Up first, we have a simple posting work using these Glittery Snowflakes Shapes. Posting is always a fun and relaxing work that helps build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills such as the pincer grip. I put a bunch of these snowflakes into a Holiday Handicraft Candy Dish beside an empty coffee creamer bottle. The bottle is clear, so the child can watch the snowflakes fall as she drops them one by one into the top.
Posting would also be fun with these Snowman Face Beads! If you prefer, you could cut a slot into the lid of an old container and do it more piggy-bank style.
Those snowman face beads are so cute that I had to use them a few other ways, as well! They are great for a simple spooning transfer from one bowl to another using a child-sized pasta spoon.
For more a more advanced spooning transfer work, try these adorable Penguin Lampwork Glass Beads with a smaller spoon.
Winter works can get quite monochromatic, so try adding a splash of color with these colorful Penguin Lampwork Beads in a tong transfer work. This requires a further refinement of the pincer grip to pick up each penguin with the tongs and then release it into the second bowl.
To sneak some beginning math skills into your Practical Life section, try pairing those penguin beads with tongs and an empty ice cube tray to help promote one-to-one correspondence.
Manipulative/Fine Motor Practical Life Works
I’m not really sure what you’re supposed to do with these Mini Snowflake Wands, but when I saw them, I immediately thought of in-and-out works. I put some with an upside-down colander so we can put them into each of the tiny holes. This requires concentration and refines hand-eye coordination while working on fine motor skills.
Pencil toppers are another fun way to freshen up a work according to a theme, so I had to get these Snowflake Pencils with Eraser Toppers! I put the toppers in a small bowl along with the unsharpened pencils. Putting them onto and taking them off the pencils requires great fine motor control and hand-eye coordination.
Of course I’m not finished with those snowman face beads yet! My girls love bead stringing, and these beads fit just right onto a pipecleaner. Your older preschooler could also string them up with a needle and thread to make a necklace.
Those penguin beads we used earlier come in several different colors, so they were a natural choice for a color sorting work. I provided a control of error by putting a circle of construction paper in each of three different bowls to show where each color penguin should go.
And of course, those snowman face beads! There are four different faces, so I took photos of each and put it in the bottom of each bowl as a control of error. The differences in these faces are slight, which requires further visual refinement skills.
The colors that can be found in Winter-themed materials can also be used in a section of the classroom that you might not expect — MATH! I made this free printable pattern template for a winter color set. You can keep yours whole or cut out each template individually.
Those snowflake erasers from the pencil topping work come in the same colors, so they will also work with that printable pattern template!
For patterns using three different colors, you can use the glittery snowflakes with this free printable pattern template.
For older children, just set out a bowl of objects like the snowman face bead along with a blank pattern card for your child to make her own pattern.
So many of these Winter materials can also be used as math counters in a number to quantity work! Just print the free Number to Quantity Cards 1-5 and use the penguin beads to fill each square. This helps make the connection between the written number and what quantity that number represents.
You could also do this work using the glittery snowflakes, snowman face beads, colorful penguin beads, or snowflake erasers as math counters.
Picture to Picture matching is one of the very first language works presented to toddlers, and it’s easy to make yourself! I made some simple matching cards using the Polar Animal Photo Sticker Rolls on some light blue cardstock. I laminated mine because I know my kids would try to peel the stickers off otherwise!
Of course, you could also use those polar animal stickers as a good old sticker work for refining fine motor skills. For younger children, just put some in a small bowl with a piece of paper for free play. I always add a second, empty bowl for the girls to put the backs of the stickers in before throwing them away when they have finished the work.
For older children, you could turn this regular sticker work into a sticker sorting work in the sensorial section, as there are ten different animal stickers that then repeat.
I love these large Snowflake Stampers — there are twelve different stamps that you can use in so many different ways! There’s the traditional ink stamping work, of course…
…or you could use them to make snowflake imprints in playdough.
You could also stamp snowflake matching cards or make a stamping and sorting work, as we did with the polar animal stickers.
I can tell that I am going to have a hard time choosing which of these great ideas to put on our shelves for Winter — I might have to rotate my works a bit more often just so I can get everything out there! Which ones do you think your children will enjoy the most???
You can find these products and other Winter materials right HERE.