Just because the weather outside is frightful doesn’t mean you can keep your little ones moving, having fun and learning.
This winter, try some of these ideas with your young ones:
- Play super heroes. Tie a blanket around your neck as a cape and take on new super powers. Everyone picks a unique superhero name and demonstrates their super powers. Go around the house saving things. Like that dirt on the kitchen floor; pretend it is ants that need help to get back to their ant hole, the trash can, before the giant ant eater sucks them up.
- Write action words on index cards. Take turns picking a card and everyone does what it says. After doing a few, let your children add their own words, the sillier the better.
- Make some slime by mixing 1 1/2 cups of Elmer’s Clear Glue with 1 1/2 cup of liquid starch. Mix well with your hands until you get the desired consistency. Add color for extra fun.
- Set up a zoo with all those stuffed animals. Place them around the house and then go for a walk through the zoo. As you visit each animal try to teach your child something about that animal and have your child observe something. Have older children? Have them create a map of your zoo. Look up facts together online. Make a brochure about your zoo. Little children can play zookeeper and feed the animals, bathe them and give them some playtime.
- Use masking tape or painters tape to tape a snowflake outline in the center of a canvas. Give your child a paintbrush and blue paint. When he is done painting the entire canvas, let it dry. When the paint is dry, peel off the tape. A beautiful white snowflake will be revealed.
Have children who are a bit older?
- Try dying water using food coloring. Then fill a balloon with the colored water. A funnel is a helpful tool. You may also want to sup- port the balloon in a cup or bowl in case of spillage. When the balloon is full tie a knot. Let the balloons freeze outside over night. Then cut off the balloon and peel it away. Let your child decorate the yard with the colored ice balls! (Be sure to keep these off of walkways to avoid staining.)
- How about a neighborhood building project? Did you know you can turn gallon milk jugs into an igloo? Wash the milk jugs and screw the caps back on. Then using a cardboard base you glue the jugs together in a circle, leaving an opening for the children to crawl in. Keep glue the jugs up and up arching toward the center as you go. Voila! An amazing indoor play area that let’s the imagination run wild. A small igloo will need around 100 gallon jugs, so work together as a neighbor hood to get this project done.
Have very little ones? Try:
- Finger painting (on the safe)! Make your own with cool whip and food coloring. Want to keep it all clean? Paint in the bathtub in just a diaper. Or bring the kiddie pool inside and play in there. Thick yogurt would work, too.
- Fingerplay! Follow these ditties:
- "Icicle" I’m a frozen icicle hanging in the sun (pretend to hang over while standing); First I start to melt, then I start to run (drop body lower like melting); Drip, drip, drip, drip (go lower and lower); Melting can be fun!! (sink or fall to the floor)
- "Winter" Winter is cold (hug yourself and shiver); There is snow in the sky (flutter fingers above your head); The squirrel gathers nuts (pretend to gather nuts); And the wild geese fly (flap arms); The fluffy red fox (cup hands over head to form ears); Has his fur to keep warm (stroke arms as if stroking fur); The bear’s in her cave (form a cave shape with your arms); Sleeping all through the storm (fold hands under cheek and pretend to sleep)
How have you involved your young ones in the season?
Jessica Symonds is president of The Mansfield Mothers' Club, a non-profit organization aimed at providing support for local parents. For more information visit http://mansfieldmothersclub.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mansfield Mothers' Club, P.O. Box 831, Mansfield, MA 02048.