Here is another week of January fun and learning play activities for kids. Not everywhere has a winter season but snow seems magical for kids–even to read about or play with. Ice cubes in a bowl is sort of winter on a very small scale. Just melting ice is very sensory and appealing. Remember–some snowmen like hugs.
What to do on the shortest day of the year? Night starts in the afternoon so there’s plenty of time for this activity: longest night stargazing for kids. It’s something to anticipate all day long, but no worries because the day part seems so short.
When it’s dark enough, dress for the weather and go outside to check out the stars. The clear, cold nights seem to make them shine brighter. So often, something we do as a child can make a life-long impression and memory. Pat McCarthy, the director of the Giant Magellan Telescope says, “I remember as a kid with my small telescope – going out in December and looking at all the beautiful things in the winter sky….It’s a lot of fun and I hope other people do it as well. It’s a nice thing to do over the holidays.” (How To Stargaze on the Winter Solstice) While very few kids will have telescopes, it’s still exciting to see all the stars twinkling in the sky.
Back inside, a cup of hot chocolate warms up cold fingers and toes. There could be plenty time before bed to read a story about stars too. Astronaut Chris Hadfield tells about being a young child with a fear of the dark in his new book, The Darkest Dark. Although the story in the book happens in the summertime, being afraid to sleep or stay in their own beds happens for many children at any time in the year. In the book, Chris is impressed by the darkness of space and calls it the darkest dark. That night, instead of seeing scary things in the dark, he sees “the power and the mystery and the velvety black beauty of the dark” and wants to explore the night sky.
Spending part of the longest night stargazing for kids may help your child enjoy the dark instead of being afraid. Kids can also sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Don’t we all wonder about the stars?
How often have you made paper snowflakes? The magic of making snowflakes out of ordinary paper never gets old, for kids or grownups.
To make a paper snowflake, very light tissue paper works best for little hands. Start with a square and fold it in half and then half again. If the paper is thin enough, it can be folded once more and kids can still cut. Today, Little Sister got to discover how this works. She wasn’t very interested in cutting out pieces, just making a few cuts along the edges. Because the paper was so thin, some bits came out from that and Big Sister helped to cut out a few more pieces. Little Sister was surprised when the paper was unfolded to see a snowflake and promptly declared “Beautiful.” She floated the snowflake around the room and then tucked it under a blanket on the sofa for a nap.
Somewhere there must be a metaphor for how it’s the holes in the paper that transforms it into a work of art. Nothing is added, it’s only taken away. The magic comes from the empty spaces.
However it works, cutting a paper snowflake is a winter activity that can be done by kids of various ages. Scissors are a particularly tricky learning tool to handle and need lots of practice. Cutting play dough is very much easier than cutting even thin paper, but fortunately, there are no lines to follow with snowflakes. As long as the cuts do not go all the way through to the other side, the paper will stay in one piece.
Real snowflakes are white, but kids can cut any color of paper. If you use paper than it is a little thicker, kids can decorate it with crayons, markers, or paint. A few dabs of glitter glue will make for sparkles that dance in the sun. Careful though–can paper snowflakes turn into real snow?
If it’s too cold to make snowballs or there’s not enough snow, kids can still make some with white play dough for winter fun inside the house. Of course, the balls won’t be for throwing but hands stay much warmer. You can mix up a batch using your favorite recipe. The proportions in the video … Continue reading White Play Dough for Inside Snowball Fun
Some days in the winter getting outside is just not an option but inside days can get very long. Time to get creative and have fun. Here a few ideas to ward off cabin fever: Beach party: Blow up a beach ball, spread out the beach towels, and stretch out. Instead of making a castle … Continue reading Winter Fun and Play Activities on Inside Days for Kids
One of the best ways to warm up a cold winter day is with some laughter and these winter jokes for kids will brighten up any grey. Q. Why did the snowman cross the road? A. He was on a roll. Q. How does a snowman get to work? A. By icicle. Q. Where does a … Continue reading Why Did the Snowman Cross the Road – Winter Jokes for Kids
Winter is very different depending on where you live but a scavenger hunt is fun and doable for young kids in almost any weather. Instead of a list for this nature activity, here is a chart using pictures. Some items may be tricky for your area. Kids can suggest something else and draw another picture … Continue reading Winter Scavenger Hunt for Young Children
The more fun a resolution, the easier it is to keep and what could be more fun for kids than 15 minutes of adventure? A cool place for an adventure is outside, especially at this time of the year! I just discovered the book, Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House … Continue reading 10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Children: #1-Outside