Mittens & Gloves

Children will investigate differences between using mittens and using gloves.


Lesson Objective

Children will explore dexterity and the difficulty of everyday tasks with and without gloves and/or mittens.


What You'll Need

  • A variety of gloves – leather, nylon, wool, cotton – 1 per child
  • A variety of mittens – wool, cotton, nylon – 1 per child
  • A variety of different small classroom items – such as paper, pencils, crayons, and small toys
  • Large tray – 1 per classroom

What To Do

  1. Display a tray of the everyday classroom items that you have collected for this activity.
  2. Allow the children to handle the items using their hands.
  3. Distribute gloves and mittens; have the children put them on.
  4. Discuss reasons for wearing gloves and mittens (see Did You Know?).
  5. Have the children handle the items; discuss the difficulty in handling these items first using the gloves and then using the mittens (see Did You Know?).
  6. Give the children time to try out the different mittens and gloves while trying to grasp things.
  7. Have the children try to do everyday tasks while wearing mittens, such as picking up a piece of paper, a crayon, or a cup. Have them try to turn on a faucet, use the water fountain, or write their name.
  8. Have the children try the same tasks while wearing gloves; compare and discuss (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  9. Discuss the difficulty that they have with attempting these tasks while wearing the gloves or mittens as opposed to not wearing them (see Guiding Student Inquiry).

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe the difference between picking an item up with your hands and picking it up while wearing gloves; while wearing mittens.
  • Explain the difficulty of handling items with gloves, and then with mittens.
  • Describe the difference between gloves and mittens when trying to grasp something.
  • Explain the reasons for wearing gloves and mittens.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Place gloves, mittens, and small items in the discovery area for further investigation during free time.
  • Fill empty gloves or mittens with everyday items from the classroom, and secure the opening with a rubber band. Have the children feel the gloves/mittens and try to guess what item is inside.
  • Place a variety of gloves and mittens in a basket. Have the children sort them. They could sort mittens and gloves into like piles, sort to find each item’s match, or sort them by color.
  • Place magnetic items inside some of the gloves or mittens, and secure the opening with a rubber band. Give the children magnets to see which items they attract.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children explain that grasping things was more difficult with the gloves/mittens?
  • Could children describe the difference between using gloves and using mittens when grasping an item?
  • Could children explain the reasons for wearing gloves and mittens?


Did You Know?

The ability to manipulate things with the hands is called dexterity. Dexterity is a fine-motor skill such as the small movement of the hands and fingers. Picking things up and being able to hold on to them is known as grasping and is an important developmental stage in children. Grasping things is an important first step for a child in learning everyday tasks such as feeding and dressing oneself and learning how to write.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • glove – a covering for the hand with separate parts for each of the fingers and the thumb
  • mitten – a covering for the hand with one part for the thumb and another part for all the fingers.
  • handle – to manipulate or examine with the hands.
  • grasp – to take hold of something with the hand.
  • dexterity – skillful, easy use of the hands.
  • protection – the act of keeping something safe from harm.

Lesson Tips

  • Be sure to have a wide variety of gloves and mittens for the children to try using to ensure success of the activity.
  • Some gloves are made of latex; be sure to check your school’s policy regarding latex in the classroom.
  • Some children have reactions to latex; be aware of these allergies prior to preparing the activity.


  • Winter (First Step Nonfiction) by Tanya Thayer
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • A Mountain of Mittens by Lynn Plourde
  • Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS