Mindful Winter Activities for Kids and Primary Classrooms on a Budget
My ideal winter can be described as immobile. Only breaking my hibernation for shopping breaks and to feed the chickadees, it can be difficult to navigate the dreary days and dark afternoons from a burrito of blankets and a fireplace of burning willpower. Navigating the winter season can prove even more difficult when you have adorable, royal leeches demanding to be entertained!
Here are some engaging, low-budget social emotional learning winter crafts that are sure to be crowd pleasers with the added bonus of bringing mindful exercises to your home or classroom.
Run, run as fast as you can, worries can’t catch me with my gingerbread breaths!
For this winter craft, you will need:
∙ A paper plate
∙ Paint for the sky
∙ Q-tips to make a snowfall effect
∙ A popsicle stick
∙ A drawn or printed gingerbread man (I found mine as a freebie here)
1. Have your child paint the sky (nighttime, daytime, anytime goes). Have them plan it out to create some kind of hill or mountain with the negative white space. Heck, you can even have them add skis to their gingerbread buddy!
2. Once the coats dry, have them add some snow by dabbing a Q-tip in white paint.
3. Have them draw a gingerbread man, or print one off and cut it out.
4. Adhere the gingerbread man to a popsicle stick. I used hot glue for longevity. You may also want to decide to laminate the gingerfriend for the same reason.
5. Help cut a line across the top of the snowbank.
6. Invite them to write numbers 1-3 across the bottom of their plate and insert the popsicle stick + gingie into the slit that you have cut.
They will gently drag the popsicle stick across the three numbers and inhale as they do so. They can either exhale after they count, or exhale as their gingerbread moonwalks backwards back to the start.
You will need: ∙ A clear plastic cup ∙ Paper to draw or print a snowman. You will also need paper to trace around the cup rim to turn into a base. ∙ Accessories (optional) ∙ Strong glue ∙ A teeny tiny juicebox straw (using a small straw ensures that none of the snow can escape through the snow into the child's mouth) ∙ Scissors ∙ Faux foam snowballs from the dollar store (or any alternative)
Trace the paper around the opening of the cup. Glue your snowman and optional bits and bobs onto that paper. Ideally with a funnel, add faux snow into the cup. Use scissors to work a small opening into your cup (just enough to fit your mini straw). Insert the teeny tiny straw inside and glue the opening of the cup onto the edges of the paper scene.
➡️ Prompt your child to control the speed & force of their breath by telling them whether there is a light breeze, a brisk wind or a blustery storm.
DIY Winter Zen Garden
You will need: ∙ A container (I purchased a tin lunch box from the dollar store from the seasonal section) ∙ Paper to draw or print what the child is to look for on their mindful scavenger hunt & another paper to glue these images to the bottom of the lunch box ∙ Table salt or sugar ∙ A candy cane
Keep it simple and decide what seasonal object images you want to hide in the zen garden. Print the total number of objects and display them on the interior of the lunch box lid. Print and glue the objects to the bottom of the lunch box (I recommend a hot glue gun). Fill the bottom half of the tin with enough sugar or salt to cover the items. Invite your child to use the bottom end of a candy cane to uncover the objects.
The Mindful Flake Shake Sensory Jar
You will need: ∙ A clear container (there were plenty of seasonal finds at the dollar store) ∙ Faux snow filling ∙ Printed numbers or number stickers to add to the mix
Fill the container about 3/4 of the way with the snow filling. Add numbers up to six (either number stickers or you can add numbers of your own). Download and print your free Flake Shake printable. Your child will shake the jar until they see a number. They will match that number to the number on their Flake Shake page, where they will find a mindful prompt.
Frosty Glow Up Sensory Bottle
You will need: ∙ A used water bottle (We love the looks of Vos or SmartWater for this project) ∙ Glow in the dark glitter glue (We used Elmer's) ∙ Water beads
Fill the water bottle to about the 2/3 mark with warm water. Have your child add the water beads using a funnel. Pour at least half a bottle of glow-in-the-dark glitter glue into the bottle. Add more warm water as needed to fill up the remaining space, leaving about an inch for movement. Leave the bottle in a sunlit space for a few hours. Slowly move the snowman sensory bottle up and down and watch how the water beads slowly move around in the glue. Turn the lights off to give it a glow up makeover and see the magic at work!
What We Don't See Empathy Craft
This is a simple, yet magical, demonstration to show our students or children that there is much more to the people around us than what meets the eye.
You will need: ∙ A small jar or glass ∙ Hot glue ∙ Clear Water beads
∙ Mini seasonal accessories
With your hot glue gun, secure your mini trees or ornamental knick knacks to the bottom of your glass or jar. Add clear water beads to cover them. Slowly add water and watch as the water beads disappear to unveil the scene within!
Have you tried any of these DIY winter crafts?
Let me know in the comments below!
Looking for more SEL winter crafts without the prep or mess?