How to put on a coat in preschool

In the middle of winter time, it can seem like the classroom is filled with an overabundance of coats, gloves, hats, and scarves. Trying to keep winter wear all organized and then helping kids get everything on can be a daunting task for preschoolers yet alone preschool teachers (or parents). To help the children be more independent in putting coats on, we teach them this simple process so they can learn how to put on their own coat…

How to put on a coat by Teach Preschool

Start by inviting a child to place his or her coat in the middle of the floor with the zipper or opening of the coat facing up. Then  stand at the head of the coat and look down…

How to Put On A Coat by Teach Preschool

Next, invite the child to place both hands inside the sleeves of the coat…

How to Put On A Coat by Teach Preschool

Now the child must lift the coat up and over his head while continuing to slide his hands down the sleeve of the coat…

How to Put On A Coat by Teach Preschool

Some of my students are able to put their coats on the traditional way and others can get one sleeve on then end up chasing their other sleeve around in circles. So we introduce this process to all the children then let them explore which way works best for them…

How to Put On A Coat by Teach Preschool

Once the children have a good grasp on getting coats on all by their selves, then we are ready to move onto how to zip up a zipper!

How to Put On A Coat by Teach Preschool

But I don’t have any tips for zipping up coats – just lots of patience, practice, and time for those fine motor skills to cooperate!

How to Put On A Coat by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Fleece Mittens from Make It and Love It

Colorful Fine Motor Play by Teach Preschool

How to Zip a Jacket from Baby Center

By |2013-02-06T06:00:48+00:00February 6th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Krista February 6, 2013 at 7:29 am - Reply

    I have a trick for zippers. The zipper is an alligator with his mouth open. The other side is the food, you must put the food all the way into the alligator’s mouth. then he can swim up and give you a kiss. Be sure to lift your chin or he may give you a little “bite”

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm - Reply


  2. Melinda February 6, 2013 at 7:42 am - Reply

    I’ve been teaching this to 3’s and 4’s for as long as I can remember and JUST THIS WEEK I had a parent tell me, “I don’t appreciate you teaching her to do that like she is stupid! I want her putting it on like a normal person!” Rarely am I left speechless…..

    • Heidi Butkus February 6, 2013 at 8:26 am - Reply

      Oh, my! I don’t know what I would say! But the first thing that comes to mind is, “No, stupid would be having them all wait while I help each and everyone of them put the coat on like a “normal” person, and then by the time we are done, there is no time left for recess.”
      What in the world did you say?
      Heidi Butkus

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm

        Haha Heidi!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Oh my goodness!! Now I’m speechless too:) wow!

    • linda February 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      I think you should invite her to your classroom and then stand back and watch (with a well-hidden smirk on your face) as she single -handedly helps each child put on their coat “like a normal person”. . .

  3. School Sparks Renee February 6, 2013 at 7:54 am - Reply

    That the way I taught it and my grandson’s school does the same thing. It’s so nice when children are independent – I call that a “win-win” situation! 🙂 Renee

  4. Heidi Butkus February 6, 2013 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Ingenious! I would never have thought of that! Thanks so much for posting it!

  5. LaQuetha February 6, 2013 at 9:05 am - Reply

    I love the coat trick.

  6. Dottie February 6, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    For zipping, I show my children slowly while I say this:
    You put your pole in the hole, all the way down to the box, hold it down, don’t let it come out, then pull up.

    The pole is the long end of the zipper which goes into the “handle?”. The box is the stopper of the zipper.

    My children have used this to help them zip. I teach a 3/4 year old classroom. It definitely helps.

  7. Karen February 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    I teach them to put the hat in first and then their arms. I also had to teach them to put their hands into arms that are inside out and grab it to turn it back right side out.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      Yes, we find that we have to teach the kids to make sure their arms are not inside-out! Sometimes, those sleeves can be a bear!

  8. Jill February 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    don’t you get some of the kids whapping each other in the face? lol. or is it just my kid that is rammy? They could accomplish the same thing by putting it down, sitting at the bottom of it, and leaning back their arms into it and then ‘shrugging’ into it, and putting on their boots and then standing up and zipping. What we do around here. (not a classroom)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      Not so far:) But I am sure it could happen!! Sounds like another good plan for teaching independence! LOVE!

  9. Sheryl February 6, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    We use this method at school, too. We call it “dip and flip”. For the zipper, we tell them to put the baby in the bed, then pull the covers up.

  10. Ginny February 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I have used this technique successfully with 2-3 year olds for years! I also always said “one two, one two, up and over!” For some reason this helped them remember what to do!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Wow – I hadn’t heard of this saying. I think the one two helps them remember to think about their hands?

      • Ginny February 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

        Exactly! For some reason it really works!

      • Michelle February 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm

        We like to say “tag at your toes, up and over your nose”
        Our zipper is a spaceship and we put it down onto the launch pad and blast off 🙂

        So many great ideas here to help children be successful.

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

        Oh how cute!

  11. linda February 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    My great-nephew showed me this trick a few years ago. I have older 4s and 5s who have pretty much mastered the coat thing, so I haven’t used it much. . . until this year. I have a little guy on the spectrum. The first time I asked him to put his coat on, his head ended up in the sleeve. I showed him this “trick” and that’s the last time I had to help him. He was so proud, he showed anyone who would pay attention. . . even the people at McDonalds. lol.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Ah, so sweet! What a great accomplishment!

  12. […] If you have used this flip method before, you know exactly what I mean. However, if you are not familiar with this, you can see a great tutorial, with step by step photos over at Teach Preschool. […]

  13. Lynne December 27, 2017 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    We use the preschool flip to put on coats too! If we didn’t teach them this method we would never get outside before our recess time was over! Most of my three year olds can do it and we are now working on zipping. Our zipping “trick” goes like this….First make sure the “tunnel” is down at the bottom of the zipper then put the “train” in the tunnel and send him down the track!

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