Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Fun

Here are some ideas to make the snow and ice fun. Outside time is very important for preschoolers. We know that it is a lot of work this time of year, so we have included some suggestions on how to make it a fun learning experience for everyone.

First, make a game out of finding appropriate winter clothes. Make a list of things that you need to stay warm on a cold day, and then find the appropriate items. For example, your list could look like this:
Snow pants
Winter jacket

If you want to be really creative you can go into google images and cut and paste appropriate pictures to go along with the list. Put your child on your lap while you do this and have them help you find pictures that best represent the items that they wear.

After you have gathered all of the items, have your child dress themselves for the weather. They will require some instruction on how to do this. Use positional words such as first put your snow pants on, put one leg in at a time, etc. Having your child dress themselves will not only promote independence, but all of the pulling, tugging, zipping and buttoning will help to foster fine motor development and body awareness. Wait your child out a little bit and have them try to do this as independently as possible. Some of the things will be a struggle and you will have to help them out, but see what they can do on their own.

Once everyone is dressed for the weather it’s time to go outside and play! Here are some fun winter and snow activities that you can participate in with your child.

Experiment with Snow
1. Do various experiments with snow, simply to see what happens.
2. Watch snow melt when table salt is added.
3. See how long it takes for different sized snowballs to melt in the sun.
4. Put snow inside different sized plastic pails and metal pots to see which container holds more.
5. Find surfaces that snow will stick to.
6. Discover which toys sit on top of the snow and which ones are heavy enough to sink down.

Paint the Snow and Ice
Using food coloring added to water let children paint the snow and ice with brushes or spray bottles. Let them see what happens when two different colors are mixed on the snow’s surface and how the color blends when ice melts. Teach them to paint their name on the snow bank in front of the house.

Look for Animal Tracks
While on a walk in the woods, show children how to spot animal tracks and talk about what the animals might be doing. Ask the children to make their own tracks in the snow using their footprints, sticks or their fingers. Let them look at the tracks with a magnifying glass.

Create Snow Drawings
Using sticks, pine cones, or even their fingers, have children draw pictures on a canvas of freshly fallen snow. Look for tree stumps, railings, fences, and benches as ready surfaces for children to show their creativity. Take pictures of their drawings to be used for the front of next year’s homemade greeting cards.

Make Slush Sculptures
On a relatively warm day, add water to the snow to create slush. Let the kids get wet and make slush creations, much like ice sculptures. Encourage them to use sticks, stones and other materials to add details to their artwork. Challenge the kids to co-operate on creating a slush wall, which can be used as part of an outside obstacle course
Snow is the perfect learning tool for science and creativity. Show preschoolers how to explore the wonders of winter and let their imaginations do the rest.

Snow ideas from: