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Using theme units to teach your preschoolers is a fantastic way to get them excited about learning.
As every great preschool teacher knows, you can easily adapt them to meet your students’ needs as well as mold them around the topics that your students are already interested in, which will only make them more eager to learn.
The possibilities are endless, of course, and the only limit to the number of preschool theme ideas that you could come up with is your imagination, but if you’re just starting out with theme units are you’re looking for a few new ideas for the new year, this list of January preschool themes is the perfect place to start!
January Themes for Preschool
While it is definitely a great idea to incorporate some winter based themes into your learning at this time of the year, there are still plenty of other ideas that are less seasonal while still being a ton of fun!
These adorable little creatures are around all year long, of course, but their association with colder temperatures makes winter the perfect time to explore these arctic animals with your little learners!
Ice & Snow
Do your preschoolers love playing in the snow? An ice and snow theme unit is perfect for those little ones that love winter weather!
Put together a few simple winter themed science experiments, use some cotton balls or shaving cream to add some sensory play to your preschool lesson plans to help your students understand what happens to water as it freezes and how snow is made, or practice letter formation with a winter twist!
January, of course, means winter for most of the country.
Pull out some of your favorite books about winter, grab some white paint to create your own winter scene after reading The Snowy Day, and make it easier for your preschoolers to learn about the coldest season of the year with a fun winter unit!
Did you know that there is an entire day devoted to birds? Well, there is!
National Bird Day (January 5) would make an excellent starting point for a bird theme unit and a great addition to your list of January preschool themes!
With January 19 being National Popcorn Day, the first month of the year is a great time to learn all about the animals under the big top.
And there are so many fun ways to learn with a circus theme!
Chinese New Year
Also known as the “Spring Festival,” the Chinese New Year honors the start of a new year according to the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.
There are so many different themed crafts and sensory play ideas that you could incorporate into a theme unit like this and it is the perfect way to introduce your preschoolers to new cultures and traditions.
Planning ahead? Make sure you check out these preschool theme ideas for February as well!
Another animal theme unit that is absolutely perfect for winter!
Why? Well, it’s the time of the year that animals hibernate so it allows your students to make the connection between these special winter animals and the season that much easier!
Learning about various types of community helpers is a great way to encourage your preschoolers’ curiosity in the world around them. In our preschool classroom, we like to break the different types of community helpers up into different theme units.
This gives us the chance to really focus on the individual helpers in our communities and work learning about them into everything from circle time to sensory activities, literacy activities, and more!
Nothing screams winter more than a pair of nice, cozy mittens.
With fun winter activities like counting animal tracks in the snow, winter crafts and file folder games like matching mitten colors, and Jan Brett’s book, your preschoolers could have a blast learning with this winter clothing item!
Castles and Kings
I don’t think I’ve ever met a child that didn’t like to read a fairy tale or two. Put those books to good use and pair them with some fun activities and dress up clothes in your dramatic play center for an awesome theme unit that your class is going to love!
While winter lasts only a few months of the year for us, there are quite a few species of animals, like polar bears, that spend their entire lives living in the cold and with some awesome books and fun preschool activities, you could build a polar animal theme that is perfect for the winter season!
While it may not seem like your typical January preschool theme, there are so many awesome things to learn and so many different skills that you can work on while learning all about outer space!
Rockets, stars, planets, and constellations, a theme like this is so much fun!
Whether you’ve got snow on the ground in your neck of the woods or not, like and ice and winter, January is the perfect time to incorporate a few fun snowmen activities into your learning.
This is, by far, our favorite winter theme because there are so many different crafts and fine motor activities that can be incorporated. We’ve built snowmen out of egg cartons, added a counting song to our circle time and even made a few fun file folder games for when we need quiet activities.
Are your preschoolers fascinated by the Tyrannosaurus Rex? Maybe they’re a fan of dinosaurs in general.
Either way, a dinosaur theme unit filled with hands-on activities might be just the ticket to getting them really excited about learning and for that reason alone makes it a favorite on our list of January preschool themes!
The month of January is National Train Your Dog Month.
That means there is no better time to put together a fun theme unit based on all of the various types of pets that people have.
Talking to your students about the pets that they have at home can be a lot of fun and presents a fantastic opportunity to talk about what pets need and how to take care of them.
Puzzles are not only fun, they’re also a great way to get your preschoolers to work on a multitude of skills.
From early math skills like problem-solving and critical thinking to fine motor skills while handling the different sizes of puzzle pieces, there are so many ways to learn with puzzles.