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6 January Activities for Kindergarten

Chilly weather, polar animals, and snowmen… it must be January! This “fresh start” to the year is the perfect time to update your learning centers, small group activities, and classroom lessons for winter. If you’re ready to plan fun and engaging January activities your students will love, you’ve come to the right place!

Choosing Fun January Activities

Before we begin, let’s chat about how you might want to go about choosing January activities for your classroom. In my room, January means we’ve just come back from winter break and we all know what that means… it’s time for a little review. Before diving into new learning, it’s always a good idea to spend a little time reviewing all.the.things! This includes academic concepts as well as classroom routines and expectations.

To help smooth the transition, I’m a big fan of ensuring we’ve got lots of engaging games, hands-on centers, and low-prep resources in the rotation. This combination ensures that my students will be focused on learning, and I won’t have to spend hours prepping! Win-win in my book!

I also like to choose activities with a bit of a winter, thematic feel to them. This helps boost engagement and excitement as we head out to learn about fun topics like snowmen and polar bears.

Ready to get your January lessons squared away? Here are my top 6, favorite January activities for kindergarten!

1. January Lapbooks

If you’ve been around here a while, this first idea will come as no surprise to you! Lapbooks, or “Flippy Flaps” as we call them are such a great way to build excitement in your classroom and learn about a new topic. These are some of my absolute favorite activities and they are a big part of how we document our learning for many science and social studies standards.

If you’ve never seen lapbooks before, they are a bit like a smaller-scale interactive notebook that’s dedicated to a specific topic. We make our lapbooks out of manilla folders and fill them with foldables, writing prompts, and other fun activities centered around our themes for the month.

In January we make lapbooks that are focused on the following topics:

The best thing about lapbooks is that as you learn and expand on a topic with your students, you’ll be keeping a visual record of it as you go. Each learning activity or writing prompt you work on will be added to the lapbook. I like to work on an activity or two each day as we work through our unit. Even if you don’t have a set unit for these topics, the lapbook activities can become your unit guide. Covering all the details for the topic, you can rest assured knowing that your students will get just what they need.

These are great to use alongside any topics you’re hoping to research with your students this winter. Oh and best of all, students LOVE taking these home to show them off to their parents when they are complete!

2. Shape Games for January

In kindergarten, we’re working hard on many things throughout the year and one topic that we revisit quite often is 2D Shapes. A variety of games and center activities are used all year long to help students learn to recognize and name shapes on their own.

Since we work on these all year, I strive to make lessons on shapes fun for students so I don’t lose interest.

The best way to snag student attention and keep it is with games! We use these Winter Shapes Games throughout January. Students love these games, especially when playing with a partner!

There’s a lot of variety in this resource too, so we can use it all month long without running out of options. Some of my favorites include BINGO, Match It, and Bump!

Usually, I will introduce these games in small groups and play them a few times with students. Once they’ve got the rules down on a particular game, they’re great to repurpose in centers and as partner games for continued practice.

3. Snap Cube Games

I LOVE snap cubes! If I could only choose one classroom manipulative to use for the whole year, it would be these! They’re incredibly versatile, fun for students, and great for facilitating independence during center time. Once your students understand how to use them in centers, you’ll be able to spend more time with small groups. They’re a total game changer when it comes to managing a classroom full of kiddos!

Another great thing about snap cubes is that you can target a variety of skills with them too. Whether you’re looking to focus on literacy or math skills, snap cubes can help!

In January, I love to use these Winter Math and Literacy mats to work on letter and sound recognition, number recognition, and subitizing. There are 40 different mats included, so there is plenty of variety to differentiate as needed.

For more math practice we also use these Winter Roll, Snap, and Graph Mats. These activities have students work on subitizing and graphing. Students will use dice to roll a colored snap cube. Students will then find a matching snap cube and place it on the mat. Next, they color in one square on the graph recording sheet beside the matching color. Students will keep rolling, matching, and coloring their graph until the mat is full and a winter shape is revealed.

A final option are these Winter Roll, Snap, and Frame Mats. This activity is similar to the one above, but instead of graphing, students will fill a tens frame every time they roll the dice. As they fill their tens frame, they will also place a snap cube in the mat to complete a winter picture. This activity is an engaging way to practice using dice, counting, and recording answers.

4. January Writing Activities

Do you have a writing center in your classroom? If not, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to help your students practice fine motor skills, build vocabulary, and eventually become writers! I like to swap out the materials in my classroom writing center every month to draw students in and keep things interesting. Some of my favorite January activities to include in the writing center are:

  • directed drawing prompts
  • thematic tracing cards
  • winter-themed playdough writing mats
  • picture vocabulary cards

The themes included in my January writing center resource include New Year’s, MLK Jr. Day, winter, snowmen, winter sports, and winter clothes.

I have found that using thematic and seasonal resources in the writing center helps to get students excited to write. Students are always eager to check out the new theme in the writing center at the beginning of the month!

I love that students are exposed to a variety of seasonal and holiday vocabulary through the writing center. Plus, it offers an opportunity to practice important skills throughout the year, while keeping our lessons feeling fresh and new every month!

5. Low-Prep Math Centers

I love center time for many reasons. It offers an opportunity for me to work with students in small groups, but I also love that it’s a chance for students to participate in what they love most… hands-on learning! If you teach in the primary grades, you already know how valuable center time is. Young students need opportunities to use hands-on learning and interact with peers for the best chance of success. For this reason, I strive to include lots of variety in my January activities plan for center time.

The key to making it work in my classroom is to use low-prep resources that are engaging for students but also easy for me to prepare. This allows me to provide variety without running myself ragged with prep duties!

These Winter Math Games check all the boxes for me. They can be used in multiple ways, they’re low-prep and super engaging for students. Not to mention, the winter-themed clipart throughout adds an extra layer of fun for my little learners!

This resource includes math counting mats, clip cards, and corresponding worksheets to help students work on numbers 1-10. I love that these activities can easily be used during centers, morning tubs, and small groups.

Another classroom hero during center time is color by code. These worksheets focus on counting on and they come in really handy if you find yourself needing just one more activity for center time. Just print and go and you can offer your students great fun counting practice with a winter twist!

6. January Pattern Block Activities

Last on my list of January activities for kindergarten are these winter math mats. These activities focus on using pattern blocks and dice to create cute winter shapes.

To play, students will roll dice and count. Then they will then find and name the corresponding shape for the number they rolled, find a pattern block of the same shape, and place it on the mat.

Students will keep rolling and matching until the mat is full. When the mat is complete, the student will count how many of each shape and write it in the box. This activity is complete when all of the shapes are covered and a winter image is revealed.

This activity comes in two variations, making it even more versatile. Use the full-color mats with pattern blocks to match, or use the black and white version with crayons and have students color them in as they roll.

Either option is wonderful for encouraging students to practice rolling, counting, and matching this January!

Get Started Planning January Activities for Your Students

I hope this post provided a jumping-off point for you as you get ready to plan January activities and lessons for your students! In my experience, having some engaging games and low-prep centers is the best way to calm the chaos after winter break and jump right back into learning! You can find all of these activities and many more in my TPT shop.

And. . . if you’re looking for more classroom inspiration, be sure to check out the posts below for more January and winter learning!

Save These January Activities

Pin these January activities on your classroom Pinterest board to keep them handy for when you’re ready to plan!

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Hi, I’m Julie!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place!

I’m here to save you time by sharing tried and true kindergarten resources, tips, and ideas and hopefully give you some ideas for your own kindergarten lesson plans!

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