Winter can be long and cold in Wisconsin. One of the best ways to get through the winter months as a child care provider is to help the children get involved in some wintertime fun –inside and out. The following are activities to help you keep cabin fever away during the cold month of February.
Outdoor Activity Ideas
All outdoor activities can be found at: http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/outdoor/snow-activities-kids/
Make Ice Art
Freeze water colored with food coloring into blocks and other shapes, using ice cube trays, muffin tins, Jell-O molds and old yogurt containers. (This step is more easily done in a freezer, but you can also try it outdoors.) Then bring your colorful ice blocks outside, along with any natural ice and snow you can collect, to create your own ice sculptures. In sub-freezing temperatures, you can stick the pieces together by dribbling water on them—it should quickly freeze them in place.
For the Birds
Hollow out an orange and fill with seeds to feed your feathered friends. Add sticks and string to hang it from a tree.
Bubble Ice Maker
When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, blow bubbles and watch them freeze on the wand.
Ice and Easy
Freeze colored water into ice cubes, then hide them around the yard for a wintertime scavenger hunt.
Create a Maze
Put on your hiking boots and stamp out a path for the children to follow.
Use handfuls of packed snow to create funny characters on a tree trunk.
Indoor Activity Ideas
Make Snow Jars
- small glass jar
- a plastic figurine
- glycerin or baby oil
- glue (we used a hot glue gun, but superglue should work too) Instructions
- Decide what you would like to put in your snow globe.
- Glue, place and stick your plastic figurine/s to the inside of the jar lid.
- Fill your jar with water and glycerin or baby oil and add glitter—1-2 teaspoons
- Screw the lid on the jar and glue it shut for safety.
- Shake your jar or tip it upside down to make it snow!
Ice Art Sculptures
- liquid watercolors
- ice Instructions
- Fill a large bowl with water and left it overnight in the freezer.
- Pull the container out of the freezer awhile before the activity to ensure that the ice comes out easily.
- Put the ice out on a giant cookie sheet in order to catch the melting water.
- Have the children spread the salt over the ice. The children will love hearing the ice crack as the salt is absorbed.
- Have the children use pipettes to drip watercolors directly onto the ice. The excess water from the melting ice will make the colors swirl and blend beautifully.
Abstract Snowman Art
- Cotton balls
- Googly eyes
- Blue construction paper
- Brown construction paper (use to cut out hats) - optional Instructions
- Give each child a piece of blue construction paper and a brown construction paper hat.Have the children pick out their cotton balls (great fine motor practice!).
- Let the children choose their own googly eyes and buttons to decorate with.
- Give the children some glue and let the artistry begin!
Slippery Sledding Sensory Bin
- Large cookie sheet
- Shaving cream
- Round lids of different sizes and materials to use for sleds
- Plastic play people
- Two bowls (one large and one small)
- Begin by taking a big cookie sheet and covering it with tin foil.
- Take two bowls, one big and one small, and place them upside down on the cookie sheet.
- Cover everything with shaving cream.
- Give the children the “sleds” and plastic people and let them have some indoor winter fun!
- After a while, you could suggest that the little people have a race. The children may discover that they will slide down the hill faster if there was already a track to follow. They also might find that the sleds slide down the steep hill much faster than the gently sloping one. They also could discover that they could make the little people do face plants into the ‘snow’ from the top of the hill. You know, all your typical, important scientific discoveries!
White Play Dough
Make this bright white snow play dough recipe for hours of winter themed sensory play with children.
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 tbsp. cream of tartar
- 1 cup boiling (or nearly boiling) water
- A few drops liquid glycerin (not essential, but makes it even smoother!)
- Silver glitter
- Heat the ingredients gently in a pan, stirring until it comes together to form a non-sticky ball. Leave it for a little while to cool down, in which time it will come together more
- Knead it until smooth and soft
- Add in glitter
- If it’s too sticky, add some more cornstarch
- Roll the white sparkly dough into balls to make snow balls!
- Build snow men and snow castles and decorate them with buttons, twigs and beads
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut out snowflakes and stars using cutters
- Use it to form part of a small world play snow landscape and play with penguins, seals, polar bears etc.