Category Archives: Winter

Add some ASL to your winter stories!

Two snowpeople smile at the viewer. Text reads: Little Hands Signing Professional Development: Winter Signs. Friday, January 13, 2023, 11 AM-12 Noon Eastern. Presented by Kathy MacMillan, NIC, MLS. Register at

Little Hands Signing Professional Development: Winter Signs (1 hour webinar)

Friday, January 13, 2023 at 11 AM Eastern/10 AM Central/9 AM Mountain/8 AM Pacific

Online session via Zoom (1 hour webinar). Includes recording access through February 14, 2023.

Learn basic American Sign Language for winter storytimes in this interactive online session!

Individual: $40. Get 20% off individual registration when you enter promo code READANDSIGN at the top of the ticket form! Group rates available.

Register at



Sign This: “I’m a Little Snowman”

Warm up those storytime fingers with this song in American Sign Language!

(to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”)

I’m a little snowman, short and fat.

Here is my scarf and here is my hat.

When the snow is falling, come and play.

Sun comes out, I fade away.

Now watch this video to learn how to share this song in American Sign Language:



Sign This!: Weather Song

(to the tune of “London Bridge”)

Click on these links to learn the signs RAIN, SNOW, and WIND.   Introduce these signs and then encourage the children to use them during this simple song.  Experiment with the size of the movement to covey a drizzle versus a thunderstorm, a flurry versus a blizzard, and a breeze versus a gale.

vane2See the rain come falling down, falling down, falling down

See the rain come falling down on this rainy day.

See the snow come floating down, floating down, floating down

See the snow come floating down on a snowy day.

Feel the way the wind does blow, wind does blow, wind does blow.

Feel the way the wind does blow on this windy day.

Warm and Cozy Storytime

Recommended Books

Red Sled by Patricia Thomas. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 2008.

Simple rhyming text and a bright red sled bring winter to life this lovely picture book. Nothing makes a long winter night more fun than a moonlit sledding adventure followed by some hot cocoa!

Soup Day by Melissa Iwai. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2010.

What’s better than a hot bowl of soup on a snowy day? Simple text and colorful pictures depict a mother and daughter preparing the soup, which is ready just as Dad is coming home.


My Soup

(Pieces needed: celery, onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, pasta noodles, meat.)

It’s cold outside, we need to get warm,

Let’s make soup and watch the snow storm.

We chop our celery and add it to the pot,

we add onions and carrots, and let them get hot.

Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, drop more in,

potatoes and zucchini, stir and spin.

Broth and spices will make our soup taste great,

Bubble, bubble, bubble, it’s boiling so we wait.

Mushrooms and noodles and a little cooked meat.

Ladle in bowls, it’s time to eat!


Chilly Day

When the day is chilly (shiver)

And I don’t know what to do,

Mama gives me my sweater (mime putting on sweater)

I put it on and say, “Thank you.”

But when I am still chilly (shiver)

From the snowy winter storm,

Mama puts a blanket over me, (mime pulling up a blanket)

But still I’m not quite warm.

So when I am still chilly, (shiver)

I know just what I should do.

I say, “Mama, please, I’d like

warm cuddles from you!” (give yourself a hug, or hug a friend or parent)

Poetry Activity

Beautiful Soup: A Poem by Lewis Carroll

(Read or play this classic poem and encourage the children to mimic the actions in parentheses on each verse. LibriVox offers 18 different choices of free audio downloads of this poem here.)

BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green, (mime stirring soup)

Waiting in a hot tureen!

Who for such dainties would not stoop?

Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop! (mime stirring in the opposite direction)

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!

Soo–oop of the e–e–evening, Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish, (mime eating spoonfuls of soup)

Game, or any other dish?

Who would not give all else

for two Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?

Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop! (mime holding up bowl and drinking soup)

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!

Soo–oop of the e–e–evening, Beautiful, beauti–FUL SOUP! (finish with a great big slurp)

Music Activity

“Hot Chocolate” on the Polar Express Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Burbank, CA: Reprise, 2004).

This fast paced song can be paired with egg shakers or other rattles to let off some steam!


Cocoa Cups

Materials: construction paper, mug cutout (use our Printable Mug Template), cotton balls, white mini pom-poms, glue, crayons

  1. Glue the mug to the construction paper.
  2. Color as desired.
  3. Glue the white pom-poms onto the cocoa for marshmallows.
  4. Pull the cotton ball apart to make wisps of steam. Glue these above the mug.

6 Super Ways to Use Sign Language in Your Programs

There are many advantages to using sign language with young children: it reduces frustration, stimulates language development, addresses multiple learning styles, and recent research even suggests it can reduce symptoms of ADHD! But for your programs, you just need to know two benefits: it makes your programs instantly participative, and it’s FUN! Here are six super ways to get started using sign language in your program; for more great ideas, see Try Your Hand at This!: Easy Ways to Incorporate Sign Language Into Your Programs by Kathy MacMillan (Scarecrow Press, 2005).

1) Teach a Seasonal Sign:

 The Sign for Snow

 (This rhyme teaches how to say SNOW in American Sign Language.)

When the weather is cold and the icy wind blows

And you feel a shiver right down to your toes.

Wiggle your fingers from the sky to the ground.

That’s the sign for SNOW you have found!

 See a video of the sign SNOW.


2) Take a poll without losing your mind:

Teach the children the signs for YES and NO. Then ask yes/no questions about the story you are reading (“Do you think the fox will catch the sheep this time?”) and invite the children to respond using only their signs. It’s a quick and easy way to get children to participate without making a lot of noise.

See a video of the sign YES. 

See a video of the sign NO.


 3) Spice up a song or rhyme that doesn’t have built-in actions:

There’s nothing worse than putting on music and then just standing around to it. Use American Sign Language to create participative movement. For example, you could teach the kids signs for farm animals to make an old favorite like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” instantly hands-on!

See a video of the sign COW. 

See a video of the sign DUCK.

See a video of the sign HORSE. 

See a video of the sign SHEEP. 

See a video of the sign CAT.


4) Play a color game:

Extend a flannelboard rhyme into a fun interactive game with this activity. This can be used with any flannelboard that has items of different colors (Five Little Leaves, Five Funny Clowns, etc.). Teach the children the signs for the colors, then invite them to look carefully at the objects. Count to three, then have them close their eyes. Remove one of the objects. Then have the children open their eyes and identify which object is gone, using only their signs. Confirm which object was taken away by showing where it was on the flannelboard. Repeat until all the objects are gone. This activity is appropriate for toddlers and up, and enhances visual acuity, attention, and memory – all important pre-reading skills.

See videos of the signs for colors.


5) Use signs for group management:

Sometimes a sign can get kids’ attention in a way no nagging reminder can! Introduce the signs below by signing them along with the words on the first few reminders, then let your voice fall away and do only the sign. Kids will get the message (and you may find them using these signs to police each other!) Even elementary and middle school age students will respond to signed prompts without complaining and eye-rolling. Try it!

See a video of the sign PAY ATTENTION. 

See a video of the sign LINE UP. 

See a video of the sign RESPECT.


6) Use signs for a story refrain:

Teach the kids a few simple signs that they can repeat throughout the story. This will give them something active to do as they say the words, and will keep them engaged by stimulating multiple senses. For example, when reading Karma Wilson’s The Cow Loves Cookies (Simon and Schuster, 2010), ask children to sign the refrain with you each time.

See a video of the sign COW. 

See a video of the sign LOVES (for objects for activities) 

See a video of the sign COOKIE.

Winter Wonderland Storytime

Recommended Books

Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010.

When the weather gets cooler, all the animals know it’s time to get to the hibernation station. With black bear as the conductor, there is no doubt that all the animals will be snug and asleep before the first snow.


Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2010.

When Sneezy the Snowman is cold, he tries many ways to warm himself. Unfortunately, they often result in him melting. Luckily the children help rebuild Sneezy and share their clothes with him, helping him stay warm.



First Snow

The seasons are changing,

winter is here.

When the first snowflake falls,

we let out a cheer! (pump hand in air and cheer!)

We put on our snowsuits,

and run outside. (run in place)

We build a big snowman,

so tall and so wide. (lift arms tall and wide)

To warm up we drink our hot cocoa

and sit by the fire. (pretend to drink)

Then we go back outside,

when our clothes come out of the dryer! (run in place)


Snowball: A Scarf Rhyme

Hand out scarves to each child and demonstrate how to use them throughout the rhyme.

I pull on my mittens (pull scarf over each hand in turn)

On my head I put my hat. (put scarf on head)

I toss on my scarf (fling scarf over shoulder)

And I’m out the door like that!

The snow is drifting down (let scarf drift down to the floor in front of you)

To the ground just so

I gather up a bunch of it (ball up scarf between hands)

And here’s the snowball that I THROW! (throw the balled scarf)



Glittery Snowflakes

Materials needed: 6 craft sticks, yarn or thread, glue, glitter


  1. Lay two craft sticks perpendicular to one another to form an X. Wrap yarn or thread around the place where they intersect to hold them together.  (Yarn is sturdier, but thread will provide a more delicate look.)
  2. Lay the third craft stick horizontally across the middle of the X. Wrap more yarn or thread around the center of the sticks to hold them together, then tie the ends off.
  3. Tape a loop of yarn or thread to the top stick for hanging.
  4. Decorate your snowflake with glue and glitter.

Winter Science Storytime

Recommended Books

In the Snow by Sharon Phillips Denslow. New York: Greenwillow, 2005.

A child leaves seeds in the woods to encourage the animals to come out and eat. We are treated with beautiful illustrations by Nancy Tafuri, depicting the animals and their prints in the snow.


In the Snow: Who’s Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George. New York: Greenwillow, 1995.

Two children follow a trail, discovering evidence of a variety of animals on a snowy day. After exploring, they also find a treat at the end of the trail has been left just for them.



Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming. New York: Henry Holt, 1997.

Many animals hibernate in the winter. In this gentle story, each animal hurries to tell another that winter is arriving, until the word spreads through the forest. Click here for free flannelboard patterns for this story by artist Melanie Fitz.


 Action Rhyme

Animals in the Snow

Out in the wilderness, I can see (hold hand up to forehead as if looking into the distance)

So many animals have been here before me.

I refill the bird feeders and put out seeds, (mime scattering seeds)

In hopes that the animals will have plenty of feed.

I wipe off the window from inside my house, (mime clearing window)

And spot the flash of a little mouse.

Soon other animals come to eat,

and the birds whistle an appreciative tweet. (whistle)

When nighttime falls, the seeds are gone, (open hands wide)

But I’ll scatter more in the morning at dawn. (mime scattering seeds)



Winter Camouflage Song

(to the tune of “Three Blind Mice”)



Helps animals hide

Helps animals hide

Across the snow hops a white snowshoe hare

See the white fur on the polar bear

Their secret to safety is one they will share,

It’s camouflage.



Winter Animal Tracker

Create your own animal tracker! Animals often leave their footprints in the snow. Using a piece of white construction paper, draw a winter scene and add a variety of animal tracks. Click here for examples.

If you have snow in your area, look for animal tracks. Observation is a key component to science. When observing tracks, see if you can distinguish between the tracks and classify them into different groups based on their characteristics. Ask questions: Do some animals have only skinny marks? What animal do you think has a footprint like that?

Super Snowmen Storytime

Recommended Book

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2002.

After building a snowman, a child awakens the next day to discover the snowman looks nothing like it did the day before, leaving the child to wonder what do snowmen do at night? We are treated to a fantastical tale of snowmen games and adventures, all of which explain why the snowmen often look a bit disheveled the day after they are built. The rhyming text keeps the story racing along and the book encourages children to use their imaginations.



Five Little Snowmen

Five little snowmen dancing under the starry sky.

One found a snow girl and said goodbye.

Four little snowmen out on the town.

One stopped for hot chocolate and began to frown.

Three little snowmen sledding down a hill,

One hit a tree and took a spill.

Two little snowmen having a snowball fight,

One lost the battle and said goodnight.

One little snowman left all alone,

Decided to eat an ice cream cone.


Action Rhyme

Building a Snowman

I’m going to build a snowman, big and round. (hold arms out)

I’ll start by rolling snow from the ground. (pretend to roll the snow)

First I’ll make his body; one, two, three. (count on fingers, 1,2,3)

Then I’ll add his nose and eyes, so he can see. (point to nose and eyes)

Last I’ll add a bit of magic, so he’ll come to life at night. (blow in hand like spreading magic dust)

I’ll put a top hat on his head; now he looks just right! (pat head)



I’m a Little Snowman (to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”)

I’m a little snowman, short and fat.

Here is my scarf and here is my hat.

When the snow is falling, come and play.

Sun comes out, I melt away.

Learn how to sign this song in American Sign Language with Kathy MacMillan.