January Preschool Theme: Six Ideas For Activities & Decor

Georgia Stone
Feb 29, 2024 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Mar 03, 2021
January preschool themes are full of winter fun.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 6.8 Min

With the excitement of Christmas holidays over, January can sometimes fall a bit flat in preschool, but we want to change that.

Preschool themes are broad focus points that you can explore in multiple ways to keep your class entertained while learning lots of new things. These January preschool themes are definitely going to spark some great ideas for you to take your classroom to the next level, and keep that excitement buzzing all through the month.

From animal themes to science, your preschoolers are going to be entertained every day of the week. With activities, decorations, and lesson plans, January will no longer be known as the month of January blues. You're sure to be the top teacher if you transform your preschool classroom into a winter wonderland complete with a paper snowman, and kids will have lots of fun learning about the holidays that make January so great.

These January preschool themes and ideas are full of great learning opportunities for preschoolers too. Teaching kids about winter with a preschool theme starting in January will help them understand seasons and introduce them to scientific ideas they might have never thought of before.

If you like these January preschool theme ideas, why not take a peek at these ideas for [November preschool themes]? And if your class has January birthdays to celebrate, we've got you covered with these [January birthday] ideas.

From Winter To Spring

One of our favorite winter theme ideas for preschool kids is the changing season. Winter is a great theme for sensory play because preschoolers can explore the different forms that water takes when it gets chilly, and spring is full of excitement, so kids will love learning through watching how the world around them changes.

Try painting ice cubes and watching them melt to create some art with your preschoolers. You can also test out freezing leaves you find outside to see what happens to them.

We love creating a winter wonderland in the classroom with fake snow. You can buy it cheaply or get the children to make their own with baking soda and shaving foam. Kids will love making a class snowman during this January theme. Day by day, make your paper snowman "melt" from the warm spring air and end with just a carrot and some coal as you teach them about what happens during the change of season.

During the week, why not also act out the process of the classroom turning to spring, by taking snowy items away and replacing them with flowers, bunnies, and lambs.

Chinese New Year

Children will love celebrating Chinese New Year which is why we love doing this fun January theme for preschool. Some years Chinese New Year falls in February so it's best to check ahead of time before planning your learning activities around this winter theme.

For good luck on Chinese New Year, people traditionally clean their houses, so get children involved in getting the classroom ready for the theme with a whole class clean up. Decorate the classroom by making paper lanterns, and use red card to create special lucky red envelopes filled with chocolate coins to gift to other members of the class.

You can also teach your preschool class all about the Lunar calendar and zodiac animals, and help them find out which animal zodiac their birthday falls on. A fun game that we love for this January theme is for the teacher to hold up a card of each animal of the zodiac, and kids to take turns acting like the animal on the card. Preschoolers will have so much fun taking part!


Penguins are one of the cutest January preschool themes.

A classic preschool theme for January has to be penguins. Kids can't get enough of these fun winter friends.

Learn about how penguins keep their eggs warm on their feet with a fun ball balancing game, create stuffed penguin toys out of old black socks, and color in pictures of penguin scenes.

If you want to go all out with this preschool theme, then why not use white paper to create an igloo in the classroom and do some dramatic penguin play? Penguins are also a fun theme for preschoolers to enjoy with a sensory play area. Use penguin figurines with cotton ball snow and plastic icicles to create a tactile winter scene for kids to play with. We can even use penguin toys in recycled bottles with glittery water and pieces of plastic to make penguin scene bottles that are perfect for all of our wintery January themes.


The animal that most kids snuggle when they go to sleep is one of our favorite January themes for preschool. From cute stuffed bears to fun stories about scary bear hunts, there is so much we can do with this winter theme.

Preschool kids will love acting out Michael Rosen's famous book, 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' as a circle time activity. Decorate the classroom with a 'Goldilocks And The Three Bears' theme, and use porridge as a sensory play activity if you're not afraid to get hands dirty!  

Use toy bear figures to plan some math activities and lesson plans involving numbers, like counting bears and honey pots. One of our favorite ideas for the cutest of our January themes is to set out a teddy bear's picnic for circle time. Get preschool kids to bring their favorite teddy bears into class and introduce them to each other. This is one of the best preschool themes for January because there are so many fun activities that we can do with bears, and we get to involve kids' personal toys, which gives them a special connection to your preschool January theme lesson plans.


Puzzles are great for helping kids learn maths and motor skills.

When it's cold outside in winter, preschoolers will enjoy testing their puzzle skills in the cozy classroom. Puzzles are a great way for kids to develop their problem-solving and motor skills but the best thing about them is that they are just really good fun. Our best preschool activities for this theme are alphabet puzzles (which we can use to teach phonics), sequencing puzzles for learning problem solving, and using a Happy Hour Clock toy to teach kids how to tell the time.

Get crafty in art class by making your own puzzles and games and decorate the classroom with giant puzzle pieces to make this one of the most epic January preschool themes for November. We love the idea of cutting out a huge puzzle as a class. Make a January-inspired picture together and cut it into puzzle shapes and piece it back together as a fun team-building game.

Nursery Rhymes

Ideas for January preschool theme options are pretty limitless, but one of our favorite classic themes for circle time activities and creative lesson plans is nursery rhymes. Preschoolers are old enough to learn fun songs and actions, and copying the teacher can improve lots of their key skills. With so many preschool activities to choose from for this January classroom theme, we've chosen some of the most awesome to get you started.

Adding cotton balls and short straws and hay to the block area so kids can create a farmyard scene to play with in honor of 'Old MacDonald'.

Another 'Old MacDonald' inspired idea! Cutting out farm animal-shaped paper and adding it to the writing area can one of the best lesson plans for January. Encourage kids to write any ideas they have about the animals or color them in.

For 'The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe' rhyme, why not play a circle time game where you count toys into and out of the shoe?

Lesson plans can be themed around space with a 'Twinkle Twinkle' day. Create glittery black space PlayDough and decorate the classroom with a starry paper sky.

If you found these preschool theme ideas for January helpful, why not check out these activities for [October birthdays] or what to do for preschool graduation?

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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