Winter time brings a host of possibilities to use theme based learning when creating literacy opportunities. Using mittens is just one item that lends itself to this approach.
Many preschool classrooms use Jan Brett’s popular book: The Mitten
The book is very visually complex but has various learning possibilities since it introduces many animals, uses sequencing, and keeps with the mitten theme.
Jan Brett has a website page that includes a mitten activity with free downloads.
Here is another online story that is visually less complex and easier for our students with low vision to view:
A Lesson by Liz Eagan, TVI
January saw both my students and I stepping outside of our comfort zones to create a craft. I had never worked with students on lacing, just my own children. After collaborations with three different occupational therapists that work with the students who will be lacing, I had a better grasp on how to teach this to my students.
There are many benefits to teaching lacing:
- Improves eye-hand coordination
- Improves attention
- Develops patience and perseverance
- Builds a pincer grasp
- Develops bilateral coordination
- A prerequisite skill to sewing (an independent living skill)
Lacing looked different depending on the student’s ability. The OT and I decided that the thumbs would be glued together to help the student hold onto the mitten and not add additional complications to the first-time lacing activity. We also discussed what type of lacing to try.
I punched holes in the mitten for lacing to make it easier and used a plastic sewing needle. Another option is wrapping a piece of tape at the end of the yarn.
Additional Activities with the Mitten
Besides learning to lace, several of the students would have items to put in their mittens. Colored buttons would be ‘put in’ the mitten to work on counting skills. Each button would be a different color to work on color identification. For those working on money, coins were added to the activity for identification and to indicate the amount of each coin.
Additional Winter Literacy Ideas
Winter-Themed Activities in a Preschool Classroom
Winter Tactile Experience Book: Snow, Snow, What Do You See?