The temperature is dropping and the fear is beginning to set in.
How are we going to keep our kids active, entertained and stimulated during the long winter months?
Although it can be hard to keep toddlers outdoors for too long, it's still a good idea to get outside everyday, even if it's only for 10-15 minutes.
So get yourself and your little ones some good quality wool base layers and check out some of our favourite winter activities!
1. Blowing bubbles in the winter
This activity works in temperatures below 0.
All you have to do is bring bubble solution outside (or even to your front door or window) and blow some bubbles! Watch as they crystalize before your eyes.
Tip: This works best if the bubble solution is cold. We suggest leaving the bubble solution outside for 30 mins before you begin.
2. Tracking wildlife
Become an animal detective and track wildlife prints left in the snow. Use a magnifying glass and binoculars to observe the prints.
Extension: Ask your child questions about what they observe: Who do you think made those tracks? How many toes does that animal have? How many prints do you see? Where do the tracks lead?
Tip: Print images of wildlife you might find in your area in the winter.
3. Painting in the snow
For this activity, you will need a spray bottle or squirt bottle, water and food colouring.
Pour water into a spray bottle and then dilute your food colouring colour of choice into the water. The more food colouring you add to the water, the darker the colour will appear in the snow. Use the spray bottle solution to spray the snow and create snow art!
Extension: Use only the primary colours (red, blue, yellow) in your spray bottle solution and challenge your child to make the secondary colours (purple, orange, green) by mixing colours. Will this work in the snow?
Tip: On super cold days, put snow into a large bin, and enjoy this activity indoors! If spray bottles are too messy indoors, use squirt bottles or fill cups with water and a few drops of food colouring and then use droppers to make snow art.
4. Winter sculpture
There are two ways of going about making a winter sculpture.
The first is to create a sculpture, much like a snowman, and then use spray bottles filled with diluted food colouring, and other materials like sticks, to create more detail.
The second is to go on a walk and collect some natural treasures (e.g. leaves, twigs, feathers, pine cones, etc.). Fill a container with your natural treasures and pour water over top. Leave the container outside to freeze overnight, with a piece of string in the water hanging off the edge. The next day, check on your sculpture. Remove from the container and hang it on a tree using the string.
5. Snow play dough
Bring your play dough tools outdoors (e.g. molds, cutters, rolling pins, stampers, etc.). Add some food colouring to the snow. Encourage children to use their play dough tools to mold, flatten, squish, pinch, break and roll the snow.
Tip: This activity can be enjoyed indoors using a large bin filled with snow. Kids may need to wear gloves!
6. Icicle art
Fill ice cube trays, popsicle molds or muffin trays with water and food colouring. Allow your child to choose the colour and mix the water and then pour the colourful water into the trays/molds.
Place string into the water and push it as close to the centre as possible. Leave some string sticking out so you can use it to hang the art.
Place the trays/molds outdoors to freeze overnight.
Once frozen, pull the ice out of the trays/molds and hang it in a sunny area so that light can shine through.
Extension: This activity is a great opportunity to discuss the different forms of water (e.g. liquid vs. ice), the water cycle, weather, seasons, temperature, colours, and the concept of transparent vs. opaque.
Tip: Silicone trays and molds work best.
These activities are easy to implement and can be repeated over and over again. Repetition of activities allows young children to make new discoveries.
Engage in lots of meaningful conversations during these activities and highlight new discoveries for your children - the learning potential is endless.
We hope these activities will help bring some colour and some excitement to a cold, white winter season.