Why and How To Use Center In Your Classroom Part 5 – Season Center Ideas!

Centers for seasons learning and skill practice are perfect for young learners and can add so much depth and layers to what you’re teaching in your classroom. Skills like pencil grip, using scissors, print awareness, shape and color recognition can all be a part of centers focused on each season. The bonus for your students is that they’re soaking up what’s new and different as each season comes along.

One of the first years of teaching preschool and PreK, one of my students said, “I’m gonna miss winter so much!” The realization hit me then that maybe these young learners don’t know that winter will come again next year! So, every year since, as seasons come and go, that’s a part of the teaching of the seasons – they’ll be here again next year.

Fall Themed Centers for Your Classroom

Sorting leaf colors for our Fall Center Activity!

Let’s start with what’s out there for fall themed centers. Apples and leaves are just kind of a must and a given for young learners. For sure your students most likely know what an apple is or what a leaf is – but have they seen bowls full of apples of different colors all at one time? Have they picked up leaves of different colors inside their classroom? Those are both pretty fun!

Send a note home to parents to bring in 3-4 apples by a specific day – count the apples as they come in before that day, and keep a class tally up on your bulletin board or white board – there’s some math and science learning there. Use the apples for a sorting center, labeling bowls or baskets for red, green, yellow, and multi-colored apples.

Circle time is the perfect opportunity to teach patterning with apples. It’s fun to get down on the floor with your students and go over a simple pattern – red, yellow, red, yellow, red, yellow. Open up a patterning center after teaching patterning and see what pattern your students can come up with on their own or working together. Remember you may have to pick up a few apples to even out or have enough of each color apple.

Every fall for years, my husband and I collect leaves over a weekend to use in centers in my classroom. We’re very lucky to have many trees in our yard to collect about 4-5 different kinds and colors of leaves that have fallen off of their trees, and we take walks to pick up more. There’s an elementary school just up the street, and there’s pretty yellow ginkgo leaves on trees in the front. They are beautiful and perfect to use in fall themed centers.

Using these leaves and construction paper for each leaf color, and kids can sort the leaves by placing each on the same color of construction paper. Remember to put out construction paper colors like pink, purple, black, white and blue – the bonus here is realizing there are no pink, purple, black, white or blue leaves!

Winter Themed Centers for Your Classroom

Ice and foam animals in our sensory table for Winter Center Activity!

Winter centers are my favorite to gather up supplies and set up for my students. There’s two centers I set up every year – one is using a sensory table and the other is an open-at center. You know, from reading my other posts, how much I love, adore and use-all-the-time any open art center so let’s start with this one!

For winter, it’s a build-your-own snowman center! Luckily, I have easy access to a die cut machine to cut out circles for the snowmen. I also cut out black and white hats, boots, and scarves clip art so kids can color those any way they want with colored pencils. I cut out carrot noses and have wiggle eyes out, too. So the snowmen don’t get too large, there’s just half sheets of construction paper for kids to build their snowmen on. Place letters for the word SNOW out also – here’s great print awareness!

I rarely put out markers for young learners, as they don’t build muscle strength for writing. There’s plenty of kid-size colored pencils available. Add in some fancy blade scissors, glue sticks, a few mini-size glue bottles, buttons, sequence and even snowflake stickers, and this center is ready to go!

Inside the sensory table, I place ice cubes – lucky me again, there’s a full-size kitchen with a huge ice machine just down the hallway! Add in toy cars, people from any doll house, construction vehicle toys and even foam blocks for kids to use on the ice cubes. A few years ago, I found a set of foam winter animals with icebergs. If you have any plastic animals, they can join in the ice cold fun! If you don’t have a sensory table, use a large bowl or tub instead!

Spring Themed Center for Your Classroom

Spring centers are usually bright and cheerful! Plastic Easter eggs, flower foamies or paper spring baby animal clipart can be used for patterning, sorting by color, grouping – you get the idea!

Bringing in real flowers in a vase and setting out large, white construction paper with paint and brushes is great fun so kids can paint colorful spring flowers using the flowers in the vase for inspiration! This is a really popular center every year in my classroom. (I use this same center in the fall with sunflowers and link in Van Gough as school is just starting, too!)

Summer Themed Centers for Your Classroom

During summer camps, I bring in my collection of real shells from travels and some store bought shells for a beachy, summery center. This is a good center to talk about smooth/rough, shiny/dull, small, medium, large shells. Add in some books from the library with lots of photos of real shells, and you have a compelling center for your young learners!

Let Me Know!

I’d love to hear in the comment section what kind of seasonal centers you use in your classroom! I’m always looking for new, fun, great ideas!


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Why and How To Use Centers In Your Classroom – Part 4 Kids Holiday Craft Project Centers

There’s a different kid of energy and hum in my classroom when holidays come around. Kids just love the decorations at home and at school – they know something’s different, and they are all in! When holidays are upon us, I set up holiday project centers where my students can practice their skills while creating kids holiday decorations and special art pieces for their homes and our classroom.

My very favorite kids center is an open art center. Kids can dive into what’s out on the table to think and create anything they choose. The open art center is almost always set up in my classroom. For your holiday art center, just keep the theme for each holiday by using holiday colors – red and green for Christmas, black and orange for Halloween – with the paper, holiday theme die cuts, paint or glitter glue. You can even color the glue they’re using and have small paint brushes available to use with that glue. Bring out holiday punches, stickers, foamies, and fancy scissors. You will have kids creating art masterpieces they can take home to decorate their house for the holidays!

Sometimes in class there’s a student or two who just won’t go do art – they’d rather play in the kitchen or with the construction vehicles that are out. I usually don’t make the open art center a “Have To” activity, but during the holidays the holiday project center is a “Have To.” And I do find the kids who don’t automatically drift toward the open art center end up staying and creating holiday projects just as long as their friends in class. They just need a nudge to get there!

What To Add to Your Holiday Centers

What other supplies can you use for your kids holiday project center? Cookie cutters are the first thing that comes to my mind as a great supply to use in your preschool and PreK holiday centers. I have a stash of holiday cookie cutters in a large tin in my kitchen – Halloween, a Turkey or two, and a couple Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, loads of Christmas cookie cutters, a Nutcracker set for Christmas, too. There’s even a few bunnies and baskets and flower cookie cutters for my spring and Easter holiday centers.

So how do I use cookie cutters in my classroom? I set up a holiday project center with paint on paper plates or a plastic container using holiday colors – black and orange for Halloween, lots of bright cheerful colors for Easter and Spring, red and green for Christmas, and paint with glitter mixed in for the Nutcracker cookie cutter set. Kids use the cookie cutters to stamp to their heart’s content at this center! Remember smocks and maybe stick close by if this is a new center idea for your students – they’ll need their stamped art work put somewhere to dry, new pieces of paper and more paint.

Kids Holiday Project Centers. Preschool and PreK Holiday Crafts. Use cookie cutters for crafts. Why and How To Use Centers In Your Classroom. Honeycomb Printable Preschool.

Another Halloween Art Center I love is mixing paint. Set out large white pieces of paper, with paint brushes and yellow and red paint bottles ready to go. As students come in, I pour some yellow and red paint on a piece of paper and give them a brush to mix the paint to make orange – there’s some science in there, too! Once the paint is dry, I trace a pumpkin shape on the painted part of the paper for older preschoolers and PreKers to cut out. I cut out the pumpkin shape for early learners. Your students can then draw faces or glue on cut out jack-o-lantern face pieces.

Classroom Art for a Cooperative Center

Another fun idea is creating a cooperative classroom art project center. Mix orange jello with water at Halloween or add glitter to white paint like snow at Christmas, and kids can just finger-paint or use paint brushes on a huge piece of butcher paper to make their classroom art piece to hang on a bulletin board. Add plastic forks, Q-tips, straws to blow through or small pieces of paper kids can lay on the watered-down jello or sparkly paint to make prints. Fun times at preschool!

Preschool Holiday Decorations

You can send these preschool holiday art decorations home mounted on a sheet of construction paper, or cut out a paper frame and add the art to the back for more of a decoration kids can put out in their homes! Add the student’s name and write the date on the frame. Chances are if you go a step further with your students’ art work, parents will keep these treasures for their kids!

Kids Holiday Projects. Kids Holiday Crafts. Honeycomb Printable Preschool. Why and How To Use Centers In Your Classroom.

Remember you can have engaging, skill-related center work out for your students without paper worksheets. Look around your classroom, supply room, or in your own home for easy-to-put-together Holiday Centers!

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Please add your email on the homepage to be notified when Why and How To Use Centers In Your Classroom – Part 4 is posted. In the fourth post in this six-part series, you’ll find out how to use holiday theme center work to keep your students engaged in learning.

Center Resources from Honeycomb!

Holiday and Seasons Activities for Toddlers, Preschool, PreK and Kindergarten. Honeycomb Printable Preschool at Teachers Pay Teachers
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Classroom Forms for Assessment and Center Work. Honeycomb Printable Preschool on Teachers Pay Teachers
Click on the image to visit Honeycomb Printable Preschool on Teachers Pay Teachers