In this blog post: Take a closer look at the December morning tubs and bins for Preschool and Pre-K. You will find 24 hands-on winter morning tub ideas for your students!
It’s no secret that December, while full of magic and fun, is one of the most chaotic times in the early childhood classroom. Students excited for the holidays, sickness running rampant, and teachers in need of a (much deserved) break!
Having hands-on, engaging December morning tub activities planned out and ready to go is an easy way to reduce some of that stress and keep students in learning-mode all month long.
What are morning tubs?
Preschool and Pre-K morning tubs, also called morning bins, are a hands-on, play-based alternative to morning work in the classroom. These activities are an age-appropriate way to engage students in practicing academic, fine motor, and social skills in the way that children learn best – through PLAY!
While they are called “morning tubs,” you don’t have to limit these to mornings! I love using morning tubs at arrival, but they would also be great for math and literacy centers, for quiet time, or just for fun!
What are the benefits of morning tubs?
If you’re thinking about making the switch to morning tubs or bins in your Preschool or Pre-K classroom, it’s helpful to think about the benefits. Because yes, there will be some work and prep involved (although I try to keep that as minimal as possible), but the benefits FAR outweigh that!
Some of the benefits of morning tubs in preschool and pre-k are that they:
- Get students excited to come in and start the day! This helps with separation anxiety, too.
- Let students learn in the way kids learn best – through play.
- Build social skills and social emotional learning as students work together.
- Incorporate both academics and essential fine motor skills practice.
- Can be used over and over again!
December morning tubs for preschool and pre-k
Each month of the Preschool and Pre-K Morning Tubs includes 24 activities. You can use all of the bins each month at once, rotate them each week, or pick and choose your favorites. There are no wrong answers!
Some of the skills covered in the preschool and pre-k December morning tubs include: alphabet letters, number sense, color matching, 2D shapes, number order, counting and comparing, fine motor, rhyming words, cvc word building, syllables, and more!
Let’s take a closer look at each activity included in the December morning tubs for preschool and pre-k.
December Morning Tub 1: Mitten Letter Build
In this activity, students will make the letter on each mitten using any small manipulatives you have. You can add a seasonal, winter flair by using snowflake scatter from the craft store. Other ideas include white snap cubes, white pom-poms, playdough, or snowflake mini-erasers.
December Morning Tub 2: Winter Tree Letter Clip
For this morning tub activity, just write upper or lowercase letters on clothespins. Students will match those letters to the letters on the winter trees and clip them to make the “tree trunk.” Clothespins are such a great way to add fine motor practice and students love them!
December Morning Tub 3: Shape Search and Cover
Since our 2D shapes unit, we are always looking for ways to practice and review those shapes. In this morning tub activity, students will search for the target shape and cover it each time they find it.
December Morning Tub 4: Alphabet Cover by Code
I’m not sure why students love cover by code activities so much, but i’m not complaining! Students will practice letter ID and visual discrimination as they cover the letters according to the code.
P.S. Want more, free, cover by code activities? Find free winter cover by code centers here!
December Morning Tub 5: Playdough Number Build
I try to include at least one playdough activity each month because students just go crazy for them! For this December morning tub activity, students will make the number with playdough. Then they will make balls of dough for marshmallows and count them out to match the number.
December Morning Tub 6: Snowman Rhyming Words
Do you want to build a snowman? A rhyming word snowman that is! Students will match the two rhyming words to build the snowmen.
December Morning Tub 7: Alphabet Clip Strips
For this morning tub activity, students will find and clip the letter and avoid the look-alike letters. Use the matching same-case version to practice visual discrimination, or use the uppercase and lowercase version to practice letter ID.
December Morning Tub 8: Number Order Mittens
Just grab a string and some clothespins! You can even hang the string on the wall to make it more like a clothesline. Students will clip the mittens in number order. It seems simple, but it’s fun!
If students complete this activity on the floor, they can also count out counters below each mitten to match the numbers.
December Morning Tub 9: Popsicle Patterns
We have been working hard on our patterning skills and making patterns with popsicle sticks is a favorite way to practice! These cards require students to recognize the pattern and then repeat and extend the pattern.
December Morning Tub 10: CVC Word Building
This December morning tub activity is a great introduction to CVC words. Students will match magnetic letters to the letters on the card to build each word.
Looking for the version with no letters? You can find it in the Kindergarten December Morning Tubs.
December Morning Tub 11: Cutting Strips
Cutting with scissors is a hard fine motor skill to master, which means we will take all the scissor cutting practice we can get! I suggest printing these strips on cardstock to provide more resistance to the scissors, but you can also print on paper.
December Morning Tub 12: Roll and Race
This morning tub activity is meant to be used as a partner game, but it can also be an independent activity. Both partners will roll a die. They will count and compare the dice. Whoever has more gets a point. The goal is to be the first player to fill their row!
Adding partner games like this into your preschool and pre-k morning tubs is an easy, low stress way to help students practice social skills like: taking turns, being a graceful winner and loser, and handling disappointment.
December Morning Tub 13: Cube Color Matching
This morning tub activity was first introduced in the August and September Morning Tubs and it was an instant hit! Students will match cubes by color to each square to make the winter pictures.
December Morning Tub 14: Roll, Count, and Cover
We include Roll, Count, and Cover every month so that students have a familiar activity that they always know how to use. Two levels are included for differentiation: rolling one die and counting or rolling two dice and adding them together.
December Morning Tub 15: Seasons Clip Cards
Students will clip which season each item would be seen in, summer or winter. This one could get tricky if you live in a warm climate, but it’s open-ended!
December Morning Tub 16: Number Sense Sorts
For this December morning tub activity, students will sort the snowballs by which number they represent. You can also add in a fine motor component and ask students to count cotton ball snowballs to match each number.
December Morning Tub 17: Mitten Match Up
Students will match the mittens to the hats by letter or by beginning sound. You don’t have to use the plastic chain links to attach them, but students love these and they are wonderful for fine motor.
December Morning Tub 18: Letter Formation Cards
There are two different way you can use these winter letter formation cards. The first is with a sand tray. Let students practice writing the letter in sand or salt as “snow.” The other way is to laminate and use a dry erase marker. Students can trace the letter and then write it again on the ice.
December Morning Tub 19: Playdough Pictures
Make winter pictures with playdough! This set includes winter clothing, Christmas, and gingerbread cards.
December Morning Tub 20: Gingerbread Bridge
Adding an open-ended STEM activity into your preschool and pre-k morning tubs can help students get creative! For this gingerbread bridge stem activity, students will build a bridge to get the gingerbread man across the river and avoid the fox.
December Morning Tub 21: Counting Fish
For this morning tub activity, students will cover fish to match the number.
This number sense activity is a little more difficult than the usual counting activities because students have to understand that they are covering some fish, but others are left over! You can even discuss how many more would need to be covered to make 10.
December Morning Tub 22: Syllable Towers
Grab those connecting cubes! Students will clap the syllables in each word and then build a cube tower to match. Two syllables means making a tower that is two cubes tall.
December Morning Tub 23: Fine Motor Bead It Lines
Pony beads are my secret fine motor weapon! You wouldn’t think so, but students love these little beads. For this activity, students will match the pony beads to the lines.
December Morning Tub 24: Show Me More
This is another morning tub activity that is a little more challenging than your typical counting activities. For this one, students will count the set that is on the mitten, but then they will make a set that is more on the other mitten.
Get started with december morning tubs
Looking for a different grade level or want to differentiate? Find more December morning tubs here: