Fun Winter Activities You Can Do With Your Kids
Great Winter Reading
Celebrate winter with a variety of activities that incorporate music, fine motor and gross motor activities, art, literature, geometry, and even a "cool" recipe. You will eliminate the winter doldrums for sure with these fun activities.
This activity allows for some much needed wintertime exercise. Cut two squares of wax paper. Each one should be large enough to cover one of your child's shoes. Attach the wax paper around the ankles with a rubber band. Be sure to make yourself a pair of "skates" as well. Skating is best on a hard floor, but if it is too slippery for your little one it can be done on carpeting. Put on The Skater's Waltz by Emil Waldteufel and see if you two have some Olympic potential. This song can be found on www.youtube.com .
There are several versions of this folktale, but Jan Brett's version is my favorite. The illustrations are gorgeous. After reading the book, your child can make his/her own mitten to use to retell the story. Let your child pick his/her favorite color of construction paper. Trace around his/her hand with the fingers closed and the thumb out. Your outline should be the shape of a mitten. Help your child cut it out and let him/her decorate it with crayons. Seal an envelope and cut it in half. Glue one of the halves to the back of the mitten. Go to Jan Brett's website, www.janbrett.com, and print out the animals from the story (they are found under coloring pages). You will probably need to cut the animals out for your child after they are colored. Each animal can be slipped inside the half envelope on the back of the mitten. This is a great activity for sequencing (put the animals in the mitten in the order they occur in the story) and retelling which are both kindergarten skills.
GREAT WINTER BOOKS
Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London. Froggy usually sleeps through winter, but this year he attempts to bundle up for some winter fun. Kids love this fun read aloud.
Thomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munsch. Thomas refuses to put on his new snowsuit even though his mother, his teacher, and his principal are determined to get it on him. Children laugh out loud at this silly story.
I Love You With All My Heart by Noris Kern. Polo the Polar Bear is curious about how all of his friends are loved by their mothers. In the end, his own mother tells him all the ways she loves him. This is a wonderful bedtime story.
Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder. This is a non-fiction read that explains how some animals cope with the change of seasons. It is a good idea to include some non-fiction to not only build knowledge and vocabulary, but also to expose your child to a different text structure.
I'M A LITTLE SNOWMAN
This is a simple little song with hand motions that children love.
I'm a Little Snowman (sung to the tune "I'm a Little Teapot")
I'm a Little snowman (point to self)
Short and fat (bend knees and spread arms out wide)
Here are my buttons (pretend to button buttons)
Here is my hat (pretend to put on hat)
When the sun comes out (arms rounded over head)
I cannot stay (shake head no)
Slowly I will melt away (slowly "melt" down to the floor)
My kindergarteners think it is hilarious to keep melting until they are flat on the floor and then we all pop are heads up and say, "Now I'm a puddle!"
BECAUSE IT'S WINTER
I have written four verses to this song. After you sing it a couple times, you and your child can make up your own verses about special winter activities the two of you enjoy. Are you skiers, ice skaters, or are there activities you like to do indoors?
Because It's Winter (sung to the tune "Mary Had a Little Lamb)
I put on my scarf and hat, scarf and hat, scarf and hat,
I put on my scarf and hat
Because it's winter!
I can build a fat snowman, fat snowman, fat snowman,
I can build a fat snowman
Because it's winter!
I go sledding down the hill, down the hill, down the hill,
I go sledding down the hill
Because it's winter!
I drink hot chocolate when I'm cold, when I'm cold, when I'm cold,
I drink hot chocolate when I'm cold
Because it's winter!
COFFEE FILTER FLAKES
I use coffee filters to cut snowflakes because the paper is easier for little ones to cut than construction or copier paper. Simply have your child fold the filter in half, then fold it in half a couple more times. Instruct him/her to cut "V" shapes out of the sides. After unfolding the snowflake, your child can add some silver or iridescent glitter. It is fun to make several snowflakes, attach a string, and hang them on a curtain rod that has a heating vent underneath. Each time the heat turns on watch your snowflakes blow around. My little one would announce, "Mama we have a blizzard!" when he noticed our snowflakes blowing.
If you have not seen this stuff, you will be amazed and so will your little one. It starts out as white crystals (it looks a lot like sugar). You simply add water to grow snow. I do mean grow! A 5.3 ounce jar makes two gallons of "snow". It costs about thirteen dollars on www.thinkgeek.com , but it is reusable. When it dries out, you just add water again. It is non-toxic, but use with caution especially with the younger set. Now you can have a snow day any time you want!
BUNDLE UP RACE
Get out your stopwatch! This is a fun way to practice those self help skills like zipping, buttoning, and putting on gloves. Simply set out the articles of clothing you want your child to practice putting on and time how long it takes for him/her to get bundled up. Try it again and again to see if he/she can do it faster. It is also fun to let them dress you in your coat, hat, and gloves.
SNOW DOUGH RECIPE
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup salt
- 4 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 cup white powdered tempra paint (optional)
- iridescent glitter (optional)
Mix all th ingredients together except for the glitter. Cook over medium heat and stir constantly. It will thicken into a dough like consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Knead the dough. If it is too sticky, add some more flour and knead it into the dough. Add the glitter and knead again. Store in an air tight container.
LET'S GET MESSY
To make "paint" you will need to mix one cup of shaving cream and one cup of white glue. I like to use construction paper in either light blue (for a daytime scene) or black (for a night time scene). Using a paintbrush, your child can paint a snowscape and when it dries the shaving cream is fluffy like snow.
If that sounds too messy, you can always use shaving cream to paint on the bathtub.
Make a snowman for dessert tonight by laying three scoops of ice cream side by side on a plate to form your snowman's body. You can get creative with the decorating. AJ and I used chocolate chips for the eyes, mini chocolate chips to form a mouth, an orange M&M for the nose, pretzels for the arms. To make our snowman's hat, we used half of an Oreo and a chocolate marshmallow. We scraped the cream filling off and used it to "glue" on the marshmallow. We worked the filling between our fingers then affixed it around the edges of the marshmallow. A small amount of chocolate sauce on the plate kept our hat in place. Now that's a snowmmmman!
My son and my kindergarteners love it when I show them how to draw pictures using common shapes. To draw a penguin, instruct your child to first draw a nice big oval with a black crayon. I typically draw right alongside to demonstrate. Next, add two black ovals on either side to form the wings. Now draw a black circle in the lower half of the oval for the penguin's belly. To add eyes, I draw two ovals and partially color them in. I have also used googly eyes which kids love. For the beak, draw an "upside down" triangle (I tell the kids to draw a letter "V" and connect the lines) using a yellow crayon. The feet will also be triangles, but this time they are not upside down. I use an orange crayon for the feet. This activity is great after reading any of the books in the Tacky series by Helen Lester.
These activities are sure to keep you and your little one busy and will definitely fend off the winter blahs. Have fun and learning will occur the way it should- naturally.
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