Glittering icicles and a snowman transform our front yard into a magical world. There is so much to explore in the winter!
When the weather is cold and the family is cooped up inside, there is lots of whining and tantrums–and the kids get cranky, too!
Although the cold weather may seem a little daunting to adults, it is important to take young kids outside for at least a few minutes during sunny winter days. Vitamin D from the sun may even help keep them healthy. As your grandma said, fresh air is good for you!
Bundle up and get your daily dose of fresh air with these outdoor winter activities:
Snow Painting: This is one of my favorites from childhood. Fill squeeze and spray bottles with water and a few drops of food coloring. The snow is a perfect canvas for your artwork! This is also a fun way to teach kids color recognition, color mixing, and reading and writing!
Make Ice Decorations: Nature has decorated for the winter and you can join in the fun. You can make an ice lantern by freezing water, leaves, pinecones, and berries in a bucket (with a smaller plastic container sunk partway down to leave a space for your candle). Or, use a Bundt cake pan to make a medallion to hang.
Ready, Aim…: Snowball fights are usually a hit with older kids. Build a snow fort and you even have a lesson about architecture, engineering, and Medieval fortifications! For younger, or more sensitive, children, take aim at a tree trunk. How accurate is your throw? How far can you throw?
Make Tracks: After a freshly fallen snow, you can often see deer, rabbit, cat, dog, and other tracks. Kids will love playing detective to find out, who was here and where did he go? Make your own tracks in the snow!
Frosty the Snow…Bunny?: Frosty the Snowman is still a favorite around here but you can also mix things up with a snow bunny, a snow robot, or a snow alien! Snow is a great sculpting material so let your imagination shape your snow creature.
Start a Collection: All sorts of lovely treasures may be found outside in the winter. Pinecones, evergreen bows, seed casings, acorn caps, and more are fun to gather. Indoors, they can be used as craft materials and math manipulatives.
Feed Our Feathered Friends: Make a bird feeder and then sit and watch to see who visits. Bright cardinals and blue jays are easier to spot in the winter on bare branches against a snowy backdrop.
Slip and Slide: Experiment with your sledding. Does a heavier sled go faster or slower? What type of snow makes for the best sledding? Remember to stay safe and make sure your sled run is clear of obstacles. Build a mini snow mountain for your toys and try using bottle-caps, bits of bark, and other objects for sleds and skis.
Once you are back inside, you can craft, read, process, and learn more about what you experienced. Find out about the water cycle, introduce vocabulary, and extend the learning. Walking in a winter wonderland is not just an old standard, it is a wonderful way for children to learn and have fun!
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