February is filled with fun learning opportunities for primary students! It’s a bright spot at the end of winter when the weather is a bit dreary and kiddos are less engaged. Plus, there are tons of fun holidays to learn about during the month of February, making thematic teaching a breeze. Come along to see how these February activities can boost engagement and make learning fun!
Using February Activities to Brighten Up Winter
Does anyone else feel like winter is the looooongest season ever? After the holidays and the “newness” of January has worn off, it can feel a bit dreary.
If you’re like me, this can often mean you find yourself in a bit of winter funk by the time February rolls around. As a teacher to littles who absolutely vibe off my energy, this is less than ideal. If I’m feeling “ho-hum”, you can bet they are too!
To add an extra layer of challenge, kiddos are often trapped inside due to inclement weather and we all know how that goes… Just a few days of missed recess can result in a lack of attention, wandering minds, and a serious case of wiggles!
So what’s a primary teacher to do?! I always make it my mission to flip the script in February and lean into all of the holiday fun this month offers. We’ve got Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and Groundhog Day – so there are plenty of fun topics to explore! Being intentional in choosing engaging February activities will brighten up your classroom and help everyone feel a bit more lively, no matter what the weather looks like.
Recipe for Engaged Learning
If you can relate to the winter blues, let’s chat about some of my go-to February activities for generating excitement and engaging those kiddos in learning. It’s a simple formula in my room. I tend to focus on including activities that fall into one of these categories:
- Low-Prep Games: These are KEY for morning tubs, small groups, and all those indoor recess days.
- Interactive Notebooks: Just wait until you see how much fun these are! These are my secret weapon to snag attention and perk up my students.
- Digital Activities: These are my saving grace when I’m low on prep time or if my students seem distracted. Students LOVE digital activities, so I always sprinkle a few of these into our February activities!
- Thematic Centers: If you have a writing or math center in your room, you’ll love what I’ve got up my sleeve to make these fun for students!
While it may sound simple, I’ve found that as long as I have activities and centers that fit these categories, I’ve got a recipe for engagement. Plus, I can rest easy knowing that my students will get practice with math, literacy, writing, and even social studies topics throughout the month! Ready for the rundown on these February activities? Let’s get to it!
Low-Prep February Games
Let’s start with the all-time, MVP in my eyes… low-prep learning games. If you teach kindergarten, first, or second grade, you already know the power of using learning games in the classroom. Skills and tasks that might seem boring or unappealing suddenly become fun in the blink of an eye! My students love games, which means I don’t have to waste a single second trying to capture their attention – total win, right?!
February Shape Games
When getting ready to prep my February activities, I always make sure to pull out my trusty shape games. Once you print, cut, and laminate these, you’ll be able to use them year after year for effortless engagement in the classroom. Alternatively, you can even “print and go” many of the games for a one-time use if you’re in a pinch. I’ve done this before when we needed one more activity to make it through the week.
These games focus on identifying 2D Shapes with fun activities like BINGO, roll and cover, BUMP, dominoes, and more! I love that I can use these games in our center rotations throughout the month, or have kiddos pair up and play a game together. There’s enough variety in this mix that they can be used all month long, which is a total win in my eyes.
There are also printable color-by-code worksheets that will come in handy if you need a no-prep option. Use these as morning work, to fill a few extra minutes, or as an instant activity for those “fast finishers” in your classroom. Plus, the fun, Valentine’s Day theme is sure to grab student attention and keep it!
February Counting Games
If you’re looking for a SUPER low-prep game option to add to your February activities, I’ve gotcha covered. This set of counting games requires almost no prep at all and will help your students practice counting from 0-10. This resource includes printable counting worksheets that focus on counting, tally marks, and graphing.
To use, students will count up festive Valentine’s Day pictures, and show the number in tally marks or graph format. These worksheets come in black and white as well as color options, so you can choose what works best for your classroom. I find that the full-color options are great to laminate and use with dry-erase markers. Or, use the black and white version if you need a print-and-go activity.
There is also a count and clip center included that is great for adding fine motor practice to the mix. Finally, you’ll find some additional print-and-go worksheets that you can sprinkle into your day. These games can be played independently, or try using them as your morning tub activity to encourage engagement right off the bat!
February Lapbook Activities
Lapbooks, interactive notebooks, or “Flippy Flaps” as we call them are always my favorite way to boost engagement any time of year. I love these activities because they focus on important social studies and science topics, while also giving my kiddos plenty of practice with fine motor skills and writing. Plus, they’re just plain fun – which is a big win in kindergarten!
In case you’re not familiar, lapbooks are a smaller form of the typical interactive notebook. We use a manilla folder to create our lapbooks and fill them with fun foldables and writing prompts on our topic. I like to use these with my whole group as we explore a new topic together. These work especially well if you plan to use them after reading a book on your topic. The topics we use in February include:
Strategically planning to use these activities throughout the month will help boost engagement when students are having a hard time staying focused. In my classroom, I plan to use one per week, if time allows. Weave them into your social studies and writing lessons or add to a Friday afternoon when students are a bit “checked out”. Having a hands-on activity to work on as a group will encourage them to perk up and pay attention!
Digital February Activities
Do you ever feel like you’re up to your ears in prep work? Me too! While I love hands-on learning activities and absolutely believe they are necessary for our primary students, it’s also important to balance out the prep workload, am I right? For me, this usually means adding some digital learning activities to the mix.
Aside from being low-prep heroes, digital activities are great for promoting independence and extra practice for a variety of skills. My favorite way to use these is during center time. When I am working with a guided reading group, I set up another group of kiddos on tablets with headphones. This way, they can work quietly and independently on a deck of Boom Cards, while I am focused on supporting my readers. This works out well, and the kids love it too!
In February, and any time of year, I’m all about embracing themes and holidays! This bundle of Boom Cards uses fun Valentine’s Day themes and helps students practice key phonics skills like letter matching, letter order, syllables, and more! And if you’re looking for math skills, this bundle is the one for you! It includes digital math games for counting on, missing numbers, and more! If you’re anything like me, having these activities in your back pocket will come in handy all month long.
Thematic Centers for February
Last on my list of fun February activities to keep your students engaged includes center resources. Every classroom is different and “center time” might mean something different to you than me. The good news is that these activities are versatile, so while they are great for center rotations and stations, they’re also great for independent learning and even your whole-group writer’s workshop. Here’s how I use them in my room.
February Writing Center Activities
Every month, I swap out all of the materials in my writing center to match our current themes and topics of study. This is super helpful in maintaining engagement and encouraging students to use the writing center. After all, who wants to do the same old writing assignment month after month? I wouldn’t! That’s the idea behind these February writing center activities.
These February writing prompts and materials are designed to get students excited to write! Every month, students will learn new vocabulary words, use thematic tracing cards, and get to pick from a fresh set of prompts. If you use your writing center during “choice time”, I know students will be begging to check out the new materials at the start of each month!
Alternatively, you can also use these activities for dedicated center activities that kiddos will rotate through. Maybe set up a tracing center with the letter formation cards and dry-erase markers one day. Next, you might have students trace and write new vocabulary words on a list. The following day, you can choose a writing prompt to use those new words. You get the idea, and the main point here is that these materials work for many different scenarios, situations, and teaching styles!
February Snap Cube Centers
In case you haven’t heard, snap cubes are AWESOME for center time. Reason one is that they can be used in so many different ways. Whether you’re hoping to target literacy or math, I’ve gotcha covered with snap cub centers!
These Valentine’s Day snap cube mats will make it fun and easy to practice important skills. Students will love practicing letter recognition, beginning sounds, number recognition, and subitizing with these activities! To use, students will read the code on the side of the page and match up corresponding snap cubes according to the code. Once they complete each one, a fun Valentine’s Day picture is revealed!
If you’re looking for even more snap cube fun to add to your February activities be sure to check out this resource too! This one focuses on counting and representing in tens frames. Students will roll dice, match up their number with the correct color snap cube, and place it on the mat. Then they use the included recording sheets to fill in the tens frames for each color cube when they are finished. Another option is this resource that focuses on rolling, counting, and graphing. No matter which one you choose, your students will get plenty of counting practice this month!
February Pattern Block Centers
Pattern blocks are another go-to manipulative that I use pretty frequently in my classroom. I love that students get practice recognizing shapes and colors, in a hands-on format. When planning my February activities, I like to include a couple of options to use throughout the month.
Typically, we will use these Spin and Match mats during February. The idea behind this resource is to use a pencil and a paperclip to “spin” a shape. Students will identify and name the shape, then find one and match it up on their mat.
If you’d prefer to practice using dice rather than a spinner, this activity is the perfect option. Students will roll, identify the shape according to the code, and then match it up! Both activities reveal a fun, Valentine’s Day picture such as hearts, cupids, and more!
I like to use these during center time since they’re fun and engaging for students to use independently. They also come in really handy if you find yourself inside all day due to inclement weather! And they even work well for a Valentine’s Day party rotation too!
More February Activities
Hopefully, this post served as a good jumping-off point when planning your own February activities. In my classroom, these tried and true activities serve as my “recipe for success”! If you’re battling the winter funk, or just need to change it up with your kiddos, give some of these a try! You can find them all in my TPT shop, along with many more February activities that are perfect for little learners!
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