January is the perfect time to start a mitten theme! My favorite way to do this is to center it around “The Mitten” by Jan Brett. If you’ve never shared this book with your kiddos, you are missing out! You can grab a copy here:
I like to read the same story multiple times over the course of a week. Here are some of my favorite things to do with this story:
- Start with a picture walk. Go through the book one page at a time and simply encourage your kiddos to talk about what they see in the pictures. Introduce any new vocabulary during this time as well. Badger and mole are usually new and unfamiliar animals, so I always make sure I point those out before we read. I also love to point out the mitten-shaped windows on the sides of the pages during our picture walk! It gets the kiddos thinking about predicting, and they don’t even realize they’re doing it!
- Read the story the first time through for pure enjoyment. This gets the kiddos familiar with the story and becomes the foundation for all the other readings.
- Use pictures or word cards of the animals to get your kiddos involved in the reading. Let them hold the cards and come stand in front of the class as you get to each animal while you read. You can get my story word cards here!
- Use pictures or word cards to retell the story after reading it several times. For this story, I like to do this in small groups as the story is long, and they get a little antsy waiting to get through all of the animals.
- Read “The Hat” by Jan Brett and compare & contrast the two stories.
I also love to incorporate the characters in this book into our daily phonological awareness activities! Here are some of the ways I do that:
- Name one of the animals and generate a list of rhyming words. If there aren’t any real words that rhyme, we come up with silly rhyming words!
- Name one of the animals and generate a list of words that begin with the same sound.
- Segment the names of the animals into onset and rime, and encourage your kiddos to blend the two parts together to name the animal. For example, you could say /f/ /ox/, and the kiddos would put those two parts together to say fox!
- Clap, stomp, or jump the syllables in each character’s name. This book is great for introducing syllables or for kids who are struggling with syllables as all of the animals have only one or two syllables in their names. For a centers or small group option, check out my syllables game!
For a science and social studies connection, there lots of options as well!
- Bring in sets of gloves and mittens to show your kiddos the difference. If you live somewhere that has cold weather this time of year, they probably have their own that they can get out to include in your exploration! Here in north Texas, it’s always hit or miss!
- Bring in different types of gloves and mittens (gardening gloves, work gloves, latex gloves, etc.). Talk about the fact that the whole reason we use gloves and mittens is to protect our hands. Let you kiddos touch, fell, and try on the different types you bring in and talk about who would wear them and how they protect their hands.
- Give your kiddos the chance to hold ice cubes in one hand that is wearing a mitten and in one hand that is not. Encourage them to describe how the ice feels in each hand and how the mitten is helping to protect their hand from the cold. You can extend this by using a timer to see how long it takes the ice to melt with and without a mitten.
Center activities with a mitten theme are always fun! Here are a few of them that I use!
We work on our fine motor skills by sorting pom poms onto felt mittens using clothespins.
We work on our counting skills by counting “snowballs” onto mitten counting mats. I love these white pom poms that look like snowballs!
We work on counting and subitizing (being able to look at a small set and know how many there are without counting) with this mitten ten frame matching game.
We work on patterning with this fun and colorful mitten patterns set!
And, we work on literacy in centers, too!
We match lowercase letter tiles to mittens with uppercase letters. These letter tiles are especially fun because they stack on top of each other!
We use word cards and magnetic letters to build the names of the animals in the story.
We match mittens with rhyming pictures.
We match letters and pictures that start with each letter.
All of these center activities are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Just click the image below!
And, of course, we have tons of fun with our pocket chart using mitten-themed poems and rhymes!
My kiddos love using this interactive chart! We have name & picture cards of all the kids on hand to put into the first line of the poem. And, we have word & picture cards for all of the animals in the pocket chart to put into the third line of the poem.
Another favorite is “Mitten Happy.” I love this series of poems so much that we have one for each month! They are really predictable and easy to learn because everything stays the same except for the object for that month. It doesn’t take long at all before the kids can read them on their own!
We also use “Five Little Mittens to work on our counting and subtraction skills! This one if fun to do as a poetry chart, big book, or pocket chart!
All of these poems and rhymes are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! They also include a lot of different formats, so you can use them however they fit into your classroom and your curriculum! Just click the link below to get yours!
What are some of your favorite mitten activities to do in your class???