Friday, January 18, 2019


What do compliments and kazoos have in common?  They are both holidays you can celebrate the end of January.

Compliment Day January 24th

This would be a good day to talk about what a compliment is. How do you feel when someone gives you a compliment? What are some different ways you can compliment someone? How many compliments can you give during the day?

Compliment Jar
Get a clear jar and a bag of gems. Whenever someone compliments your class put a "gem" in the jar. When the jar is full the children get a special reward such as a popcorn party, extra recess, etc.

*You can use cotton balls, marbles, or other items for the compliment jar.

Hint! Be sure and let your special teachers and other school staff know about your gem jar so they can compliment your class when they EARN it.

Compliment Board (Kalli Lemley)
To encourage kindness and appreciation for others, place a bulletin board outside the room dedicated to compliments to each other. Vary the theme throughout the year:
“Leaf a compliment.” (Leaves)
“Snow’s some kindness.” (Snowflakes)
“Send a ray of sunshine.” (Sunshines)
“Watch our friendship grow.” (Flowers)

National Kazoo Day January 28th

Ask your students to bring in paper towel rolls. (For sanitary reasons it is best to collect paper towel rolls rather than TP rolls!) Cut the paper towel rolls in half and punch a hole ¾” from the top. Let children decorate the cardboard rollers with markers or crayons. Cut 6” circles out of wax paper and use a rubber band to attach to one end of the roller and you’re ready to hum. March around the room as you hum some of your favorite songs.
Play “name that tune” as different students stand up and try to stump their classmates by humming a familiar tune.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


No matter where you live, there is WEATHER!  It's real and it's something that children are naturally interested in.  

We always sang a weather song at morning meeting. Each day we had a "meteorologist" who would remind us which word to use in the song.  The "meteorologist" would make a big deal out of walking to the window, looking around, and then choosing the word to sing in the song.

Weather Song  (Tune: "Shorting Bread")
What will the weather, weather, weather,
What will the weather be today?
He/she says its sunny, sunny, sunny.
S-U-N-N-Y today.

*Insert cloudy, rainy, snowy, etc. in the song.

Weather Song #2   (Tune: "Bingo")
There is some weather in the sky and sunny is its name-o.
s - u - n - n - y, s - u - n - n - y, s - u - n - n - y,
and Sunny is its name-o.

Weather Words
Write weather words on a language experience chart and point to the letters as you sing.

*Challenge children to come up with synonyms for different types of weather. For example, sunny could be bright, hot, cloudless, etc.

Weather Journal
Staple several sheets of paper together to make individual books.  Each day have children illustrate the weather and write descriptive sentences.

*Graph the weather for a month. Were there more sunny days or cloudy days? 
There are several different versions of this you can download free off the internet.

Place a thermometer outside your classroom window so children can learn how to read the thermometer and judge appropriate clothing for outdoor play.

Wind Tester
Make a wind tester by taping a strip of tissue paper to a craft stick.  Hold it up to see if the wind is blowing.  What direction is the wind blowing from?

How Can You Find Out?
Brainstorm different ways to find out about the weather.  For example, look on line, look at the newspaper, watch the weather report on television, look out the window, etc.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019


This was always one of my favorite flannel board stories to tell my children. They learned rhymes, colors, sequence, and oral language without realizing it!  

Note!  After I told this story I gave each child a small paper plate and I poured a little milk on it.  They put their hands behind their backs and tried to lap up the milk like little kittens.  This was many years ago, but I bet some of my students still remember being kittens better than the worksheets!

Materials: You will need a small piece of brown, white, black, red, blue, green, orange, purple, and yellow felt. (You can also use colored paper and attach a small piece of Velcro to the back.) For my flannel board I glued a piece of felt to the front of a file folder and stapled the sides. I stored the mittens in the flannel board and glued the words to the back.

Directions: Cut small mittens from the felt. You will need two of each color. Place the mittens on the flannel board as you tell the story below.


The three little kittens lost their mittens, their brand new mittens of blue.
Let’s help the kittens look for their mittens so they won’t go, “Boo hoo!”
We found some mittens just right for kittens by the bedroom light.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for the are colored white.”
(Place white mittens on the flannel board.)

We found some mittens just right for kittens in our school backpack.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for they are colored black.”
(Put up the black mittens.)

We found some mittens just right for kittens in the washing machine.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for they are colored green.”
(Time for the green mittens.)

We found some mittens just right for kittens by the puppet clown.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for they are colored brown.”
(Now the brown mittens.)

We found some mittens just right for kittens under baby’s bed.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for they are colored red.”
(Put up the red mittens.)

We found some mittens just right for kittens by the crayon that’s orange.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for they are colored orange.”
(Orange mittens)

We found some mittens just right for kittens by a box of Jello.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for they are colored yellow.”
(Yellow mittens)

We found some mittens just right for kittens by the maple syruple.
“Boo hoo, the mittens are not the right mittens for they are colored purple.”
(Purple mittens)

We found some mittens just right for kittens in a tennis shoe.
“Hooray, the mittens are just the right mittens for they are colored blue!”
(Blue mittens)

Hint! After children have heard the story several times, encourage them to fill in the missing color word. You could also pass the mittens out to the children and let them hold up mittens at the appropriate time in the story.

*Hide mittens around the classroom for the children to find.  Ask each child to find one mitten and then match it up with a classmate who has the same color of mitten.

*Sing the song about “The Three Little Kittens” and then let the children act out the song. Choose one child to be the mother and three others to get down on all fours and pretend to be the kittens.

You can download the story here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


Don't you just love mittens?  They keep your hands so nice and toasty when it's cold outside.

Mitten Weather
Thumbs in the thumb place      (Stick out thumbs.)
Fingers all together.                  (Put fingers together.)
This is the song
We sing in mitten weather.        (Wiggle palms left and right.)
When it is cold                           (Wrap arms around self and shiver.)
It does not matter whether         (Shake head.)
Mittens are wool                        (Hold out right hand.)
Or made of finest leather.          (Hold out left hand.)

Mitten Applause
This is a quiet way to teach the children to applaud.  Thumbs up and palms open facing each other.  Pretend to clap stopping about 2" from each palm as if wearing mittens.

Visual Matching
Cut mittens out of a wallpaper book or wrapping paper.  Cut two out of each pattern and then mix them up.  Give children clothespins to clip the matching ones together.  Introduce vocabulary to describe various patterns, such as “stripes,” “checked,” “plaid,” “solid,” “polka dots,” “animal print,” etc.

*Make mitten matching games with upper and lowercase letters or with pictures and beginning sounds.

*Make mitten matching games with antonyms or snynonyms.

*How about a matching game with math facts and answers?

Hint! Hang a piece of string between two chairs so the children can hang up their matching mittens.

Kitten Game
One person is “Mama” or “Papa” cat.  “Mama” or “Papa” go out in the hall while the teacher selects 3-5 students to be their kittens.  All students put their heads on their desks.  The students who are kittens begin make quiet “meowing” noises.  “Mama” or “Papa” cat must walk around the room and try to identify their kittens.  When a kitten is found that student puts her hand in the air.  The last kitten to be found becomes the new “Mama” or “Papa” cat.

Mitten Art
Let children trace around mitten patterns and cut out two.  Can they decorate the mittens with crayons or markers so they look exactly the same?   Hole punch around the sides of the mittens and sew with yarn.
Hint!  Wrap the end of the yarn with tape to make it easier to sew.

The Mitten
Select several different versions of “The Mitten” and read them to your class.  Compare and contrast stories and illustrations.  Let the children vote on their favorite.
*This is also a delightful tale to dramatize.  A blanket on the floor works just fine as a mitten.

Monday, January 14, 2019


This was one of the cutest ideas I ever heard about to make a winter day FUN! Peg Caines (Greensboro, NC) shared it with me several years ago. Peg did it with her children, but I think it'd also be fun for teens or adults. What a perfect way to encourage children to cooperate, collaborate, and problem solve!

Build a Snowman
Peg said she gave each group a snowman kit with a construction paper hat, nose, buttons, and mittens. There was also a crepe paper scarf, a roll of masking tape, and a roll of toilet paper. (It took them awhile to figure out what to do with the toilet paper.)         

Snowman’s Mystery Word
Draw a snowman on the board. Think of a word or phrase and put blanks for each letter. Children guess letters (similar to Hangman). The teacher writes the letters on the appropriate spaces. If a letter that is not in the word/phrase the teacher erases part of the snowman and puts the letter in the “trash pile.” Can they decode the word before the snowman is erased?

Disappearing Snowman
Draw a snowman on the board.  If children are noisy or are not following directions explain that you will erase part of the snowman.  Erase one part of the snowman throughout the day as a reminder.  It won't take long before all you have to do is pick up the eraser and they'll be quiet!!!

Melt a Snowman Science Experiment 
*This is such an easy science experiment, but your kids will get a kick out of it.
Give each child a clear cup with an ice cube in it.  Ask them to draw a picture of what it looks like.  Have them predict how many minutes it will take their ice cube to melt.  Encourage them to draw what it looks like after five minute intervals.  Whose ice cube melted the fastest?  Whose lasted the longest?

Sunday, January 13, 2019


Use snowmen as a springboard for oral language, writing, math, reading, and science.

I’m a Little Snowman
(Tune:  “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a little snowman                  (Bend knees.)
Short and fat.                            (Extend arms in a circle.)
Here is my broom and               (Hold out right hand.)
Here is my hat.                          (Touch head with left hand.)
When the sun comes out           (Slowly melt to the ground.)
I’ll melt away.
But I’ll be back another day!

I’m a snow lady,                           (Bend knees.)
White and round.                         (Extend arms in a circle.)
In my hat and apron                     (Touch head and waist.)
I don’t make a sound.                   (Index finger on lips.)
When the sun comes out              (Slowly melt to the ground.)
I’ll melt away.
But I’ll be back another day!
*Download this book at

How To 
Let children discuss how to make a snowman.  Dramatize making a snowman by rolling a big ball, and then a middle size ball, and then a small ball for the head.  Fold two sheets of paper in half and staple.  Have children write a book about how to make a snowman.

Before and After 
Have children fold a sheet of paper in half.  Ask them to draw a picture of a snowman before it melts on the left.  Can they draw a picture of the snowman after it melts on the right?  What makes a snowman melt?
*Give children cartoon frames to illustrate a snowman melting.

Snowman Addition 
Draw snowmen on poster board similar to the one shown.  Laminate.  Children make sets (or write addends) in the top two balls and then put the sum in the bottom ball.

Snowball Math
Fill a clear jar with snowballs/cotton balls.  Let each child estimate how many snowballs are in the jar and write their name and answer on a sheet of paper.  At the end of the day count the snowballs.  Who guessed more?  Who guessed less? 
*Let the children use the “snowballs” to make sets or to do addition and subtraction problems.

Frosty’s Magic Hat
Make flashcards for letters, numerals, words, math facts, or other skills.  On several cards draw a black hat.  Explain that when Frosty’s magic hat appears the children get to stand up and dance around.  This is an easy game that you can play during transitions if you only have a few minutes.

Snowball Seriate
Cut different sizes snowballs (circles) out of cardstock.  Let children seriate them from largest to smallest.

Counting Snowmen
Cut out 10 or 20 snowmen from heavy paper.  Write the numerals 1-10 (or 20) on their bodies.  Mix up the snowmen and then have the children put them in order.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Squish, cut, paint, and draw your way into 2019.

Snow Dough
You can use any play dough recipe for snow dough.  Simply omit the food coloring and let the children knead in iridescent glitter to make it sparkle.  (My favorite dough is: 2 cups flour, 2 cup salt, 2 TB. cream of tartar, 2 TB. vegetable oil, and 2 cups water.  Mix ingredients together in a pan until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture forms a ball and sticks to the spoon.  Cool and knead.  Store in airtight containers.)
Note!  Make sure children wash hands before and after playing with dough.

Snow Flakes
Let children fold coffee filters in half, then fourths and eighths.  Cut little “bites” out of the folded edges.  Open.  You can make colorful snowflakes by coloring the coffee filters with water soluble markers before cutting them.
Hint!  Make snowflakes out of newspaper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, and other types of recycled paper.

Snow Prints
Let children draw winter scenes on blue construction paper with crayons.  Give them white paint and a sponge or Q-tip to “make it snow.”

Positive and Negative
Fold a sheet of construction paper in half.  Cut three semi-circles similar to the one shown on the fold.  Open.  Explain the positive and negative shapes.  Use the snowman cutouts for some of the games mentioned yesterday.  Tape wax paper to the the back of the negative design as shown.  Let children decorate and the hang on a window.

Ice Skating 
Give each child 2 paper plates.  Demonstrate how to place these on the floor and put one foot on each plate.  Slide your feet as if skating.  Put on some waltz music and let the children skate, twist, and turn.  Play “freeze.”  When you stop the music children must “freeze” in their positions.  When the music begins again they may continue to skate.

Snow People
Instead of drawing snow “men,” encourage children to paint or draw snow ladies, snow children, snow pets, and other characters.

Sock Snowman 
You will need a white tube sock and some fiber fill for this project.  Children stuff 3 large handfuls of fiber fill into the toe of the sock to make the snowman’s body.  Tie off with yarn or string.  Stuff 2 large handfuls to make the middle section.  Tie off.  Stuff 1 large handful for the head and tie off at the top.  Invert the top of the sock and pull over the head for a hat.  Children can decorate with markers, felt scraps, etc.  Encourage them to name their snowman and tell a story about what they would do if it were real.

Fill plastic containers with water.  Add food coloring and freeze.  Place these in your water table and tell the children they are icebergs.  Add walruses, polar bears, and other plastic arctic animals.

Friday, January 11, 2019


I did a video "just for kids" where I say these rhymes and tell the story.

Toys and fashions come and go, but snowmen are never out of style.  They might melt, but they will never go away!

Five Little Snowmen Finger Play
Five little snowmen fat.                           (Hold up five fingers.)
Each wore a different hat.
Along came the sun and melted one.     (Bend down one finger.)
Now, what do you think about that?

Four little snowmen fat…                        (Hold up four fingers.)


Cut snowmen out of felt as shown.  Place a different colored hat on each one.  Remove one snowman as each verse is said. 

*Place the flannel board and snowmen in a center so children can practice saying the rhyme and make sets.

*Make a simple flannel board by gluing a piece of felt to the front of a file folder.  Staple the sides.  Store pieces inside and glue a copy of the poem to the back.

Snowman Puppet
Cut a snowman out of heavy paper and decorate with markers.  Cut a circle for the nose the width of your index finger.  Cut another circle the size of your index finger out of a cup.  Match up holes and tape the snowman in place.  Put your hand in the cup and stick your index finger through the hole as you repeat the rhyme below.

A chubby little snowman
Had a carrot for a nose.
Along came a bunny
And what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny
Looking for some lunch
Ate that little snowman’s nose
Nibble, nibble, crunch!  (Slowly pull your finger back into the cup.)

Flo The Snow Lady
*Cut a snowman shape out of the front of a file folder.  Decorate like a snow lady.  Insert orange, red, blue, green, yellow, purple, and white paper.  Glue the words to the rhyme on the back.  As you tell or sing the chant remove the paper to reveal a new color.


(Tune:  "Happy Birthday")
My name is flow.
I'm made out of snow.
I can change my color
when I twitch my nose.

Make Flo orange, red, blue, green, yellow, purple, and end with white.

I can be many 
colors it's true,
but being myself
is the best thing to do!

Thursday, January 10, 2019


The weather outside might be frightful, but these quick games will be delightful!

Write words on scrap paper and distribute to the children. (Older children could write their own words.) Each child wads up their paper to make a snowball. Divide the class into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the room. When the teacher says, “Let it snow!” the children begin throwing snowballs at each other. Before they can throw a snowball back at the other team, they must open the paper and read the word. The game continues until the teacher says, “Freeze.” The children gather the snowballs on their side and count. The side with the least amount wins.

*Adapt the game for math facts, letters, children's names, and other skills.

Johnny Jump Up
You will need a photo album and index cards to make this game. Write words on the index cards and insert them in the plastic sleeves. On several cards draw a stick figure jumping and write, “Johnny jump up!” Randomly insert the Johnny cards in the album. As you
shuffle through the book children read the words. When Johnny appears they all jump up!

Catch and Tell
“Catch and Tell” can be played if you've got a few minutes during transitions, while waiting in the hall, or at the end of the day as a review.  All you will need is a bean bag or small sponge ball to play this game. The teacher says a letter and then tosses the ball to a child. That child must name something that begins with that sound before tossing the ball back to the teacher.

*This game can be adapted for rhyming words, colors, math facts, social studies, and other skills.

Write “BOOM!” with a bright marker or glitter pen on several of the flashcards. As you “flash” through the cards, children identify the information. When “BOOM!” appears, children jump up and shout out “Boom!”

*Change the surprise word for different holidays and seasons. In January use a snowman sticker and write “Brrrr!” The children stand up and pretend to shiver when it appears.

Kids vs. Teacher
Draw a T chart on the board with “Kids” on one side and “Teacher” on the other side. Hold up a flash card. If a child raises her hand and correctly reads the word, she gets a point for the “kids.” If any child shouts out the answer, then the teacher gets a point.

(If children keep talking out of turn, just continue to give points to the teacher. They’ll figure it out!)

Pick Up
Place the flash cards randomly on the floor in the middle of the room.  Divide the class into two teams. Choose one child from each team to come up and play. Call out a word. The first child to pick it up wins a point for their team.

Hint!  Here's an idea for "keeping score."  Cut out two circles from poster board and glue them together. Write “high” on one side and “low” on the other. After playing a game toss the circle. If “high” appears the team with the highest score wins. If “low” comes up the team with the lowest score is the winner.

*If children don’t know the answer when playing games allow them to “phone a friend” (ask a friend) or “ask the audience” (ask the class).

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


A teacher told me that her administrator wouldn't let her play games because he said, "They are a waste of time."  (Obviously, that principal needs a little review of why we should play games with children!)


Standards and Intentional Teaching– Teachers can create flashcard games, board games, or a variety of games based on any skill (letters, numbers, sight words, vocabulary, math facts, science or social studies, etc.) Think about skills in your curriculum and there’s the content for your game.

Purposeful Practice for Automaticity– In order to master skills children need to repeat and practice them. Clearly, kids would rather do that with a game than with a worksheet.

Executive Function– Through games children can develop task initiation and completion because there is a beginning and an end. They also learn self- regulation and delayed gratification.

Active Learning and SEL (Social Emotional)– With games children can talk, interact with friends, and use multi-sensory materials.

Instructional Time – Take advantage of transitions and those few extra minutes during the school day by playing games.

Over the next few days I've got some quick learning games if you have a few extra minutes or if you can't get out to play.

Hide, Seek, and Read
Make multiple copies of sight words on index cards.  Hide these around the room while the children "hide their eyes."  The children hunt for the words, but they may only find one at a time.  When they find a word they have to take it to the teacher, read it, and then hide the word again.

Word Worm

Draw the face of a worm on a paper plate.  Write sight words on other plates.  Pass out a word card to each child. One at a time children come up and place their word next to the worm’s head. Each child reads all of the previous words before placing her word down. How long can the worm grow!

Hint! Children can “ask the audience” to read with them if they are unsure of the words.
Musical Words
Write words on paper plates and scatter around the room on the floor. Play some catchy music for the children to dance to. When the music stops, each child stands on a word. As the teacher points to random students, they must identify their word.

*You can play a game similar to musical chairs where you remove one word at a time so children have to scramble to find a word.

Word Hunt
Give students a list of words that can be found in the classroom. Children walk around the room and cross the words off as they find them.
*Let them take a “selfie” of the words as they find them.

Word Detectives

Let children be “detectives” as they listen to clues about different word wall words. Hints might include: “This word rhymes with ______.” “This word starts with letter and ends with letter.” “This word is the opposite of _______,”