You may be several days into a winter break from your school and work routine now, with several days left to go, and looking for new ideas for fun activities for your toddler or pre-schooler. Here’s a collection of winter-themed fun.
Sensory Activities to Do:
Snow in the Shower. If it snows, you may excitedly bundle your child up, take them out to play, and then watch them just sit and shiver. Try bringing the snow inside! Make sure your bathroom is nice and warm, then bring a big bucket of snow and dump it on the floor of your shower and put your child next to it with shovels and toys. As the snow melts, it disappears down the drain, so no clean-up required! When your child is done playing, run a warm bath or shower to warm him back up.
- Excavation: Use a loaf pan or bowls to make blocks of ice. Freeze items inside (e.g. plastic penguins or Legos) – give your child a toy hammer and other tools to excavate the toys. (You can have them sit on the shower floor or in an empty bath tub if you want clean up to be easy.)
- Hockey rink: freeze a cake pan of water. Make mini “hockey sticks” and use a checker as the puck. Hit the puck back and forth to score.
- Melting experiments: Give your child ice, water with pipets or eye droppers, salt to sprinkle. Let them explore how to get the ice to melt. Add food coloring or liquid watercolors to make it prettier.
Dry Ice Experiments: Check out my post for lots of ideas.
Games to Play:
Indoor Snowball Fight. Make or buy big white pompoms, or soft white balls. Or just wad up a bunch of paper into balls. Fill a basket with them. Then spontaneously start snowball battles anytime you want to! Not only is this tons of fun, I like playing games where I throw (soft) things at my kids. It helps them be a little bolder about ball games later in life – a little more willing to “head” the ball in a soccer game.
Rhymes to Say
Up the Mountain rhyme
Sit child on your lap
Up the mountain (run your fingers up one of their arms)
Down the other side (then run fingers down their other arm)
Brr it’s cold out… (hug them tight)
Let’s climb inside! (tickle their neck as you reach your fingers under their collar)
Chubby Little Snowman rhyme
See gestures at http://wiki.kcls.org/index.php/Chubby_Little_Snowman
A chubby little snowman had a carrot nose.
Along came a bunny, and what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny, looking for his lunch,
Ate that snowman’s carrot nose,
Nibble, nibble, crunch!
Songs to Sing
Sing the My Mittens song in those inevitable moments when you’re searching for your child’s missing mittens.
Crafts to Do:
Mittens: Cut out 10 paper mittens. Have your child decorate them. (Or for younger kids, have them scribble / finger paint all over a piece of paper, THEN cut out mitten shapes.) Then do the 10 little mittens rhyme together.
Tracks in the Snow. Make white play-dough. Play with toy animals in it, and point out the tracks they make. (Source, with pictures.)
Shape snowmen. Check out original idea here.
Books to Read:
Amy Loves the Snow by Hoban. Sweet simple story for little ones.
The Snowman Story Book or The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. These are the same story, but the Snowman is wordless – you tell the story in your own words. Beautiful illustrations. Story of a snowman who comes to life. Note: sad ending.
The Red Sled or The Red Hat by Judge or The Mitten by Jan Brett. All three are stories of woodland creatures getting into mischief with children’s belongings.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats. A little boy in the city enjoys a snowy day. This book, published in 1963, was noteworthy for being one of the first picture books to feature an African-American child.
More ideas (and source citations) at: http://www.pinterest.com/bcparented
For my full collection of theme-based “Fun with Toddlers”, click on “Fun with Toddlers series” in the right hand side bar. Or if you would like them in printable handout form to share with students, click here.