Is the weather in your area part of Christmas outdoor fun? No matter where you live, dress kids for the weather and take them outside for fun and play.
This weekend, it’s snowing here. With the temperature right around freezing, it’s perfect weather for making snowmen. That’s certainly what the kids did as soon as there was enough of the white stuff on the ground. Phase Two, after a pit stop which meant getting everything off and putting it back on with new dry mittens, was going back outside and sliding down a bit of a hill. There’s nothing like sledding to practice the opposites of up and down, dry and wet, and cold and warm.
What is it about snow that encourages such a close encounter with nature? Definitely, snow appeals to all the senses, sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Practically every single action from just walking around, to making snow angels, to playing Fox and Geese leaves a mark on the snow. Zooming fast is exciting and there’s an element of risk.
Winter play can happen even without snow. Pieces of cardboard boxes are fun for sliding down hills. Kicking a ball is fun any time of year. Tag games like Freeze Tag or Statues are sort of like the weather. Check the ground for sticks and pinecones and other treasures.
Do your memories of Christmas fun include playing outside? Did the weather influence your play? For past generations, when we remember what we did during the holiday season, a significant part is what we did outside. Will that be the same for our kids? Think about how much easier it is nowadays to be indoors. We have to make a special effort to make sure kids get time to play outside. One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is a connection to nature. Will having some Christmas outdoor fun be part of your child’s day?
Have you ever made snowflakes with tape, paint, and paper? It’s almost like magic to make invisible snowflakes appear and it’s very easy for little hands.
This project starts with a fairly thick piece of white paper. We used a sheet from the recycling. Tear off a strip of clear tape 2 to 3 inches long and tape it onto the page. (When we did this, I rubbed the tape on my jeans so that it didn’t stick too securely to the paper.) Keep track of where you put the tape because it’s hard to see! Use a second piece of tape and make an X, then another across the middle of the X to make a snowflake shape. Make more snowflakes in a few other places. It’s okay if some of the snowflakes overlap; they will still show up, even though you can’t see them yet.
Now comes the fun part, but cover the table, counter, or floor with newspaper or plastic. Using paint dabbers or brushes, kids cover the whole piece of paper with blue paint. The paper needs to be all blue, as much as possible. The paint doesn’t stick to the tape so the snowflakes start to appear. Once the paint is dry, carefully peel off the tape that you can now see. What’s underneath? Snowflakes!
This project gives kids a chance to strengthen the small muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists. These muscles are still developing and need lots of exercise. Only one color of paint is needed for the sky which isn’t all that exciting, except for the snowflakes which start to show thru the color. It takes lots of effort and concentration to cover the whole page. As kids get distracted and then focus again, they can see what they need to do so this provides a built-in structure for attention. Painting is lots of fun and the snowflakes happen almost by magic. Well, the ones on the paper do. Maybe, could this make real ones appear?
Learning about size can be a tricky concept for children but it’s an important strategy and thinking skill for kindergarten readiness. Young children need lots of experiences and opportunities to play with and figure out sizes. Building a snowman, with real snow, playdough, or even paper circles is fun and uses big, medium, and small.
Size is all about relationships, rather than the bigness or smallness of something. A child’s play table can be small, but it’s pretty big when compared with doll-house furniture. A sweater can be too big for a baby or too small for an older brother or sister but the sweater hasn’t changed it’s size at all.
Kids themselves are small when compared with big brothers and sisters, but are big next to babies. Size is more than just learning words, although that is part of it. There’s the challenge of comparing two or more things. No wonder it takes practice to understand how size works.
When kids make a snowman with real snow, it’s easy to see and feel big, medium, and little. Instead of real snow, playdough will work, although it’s not as exciting. With snowmen, there’s the added element of putting the sizes in order.
If grownups cut the circles out for kids to put together, make sure the sizes are quite different. Or kids might want to draw one. Good thing it’s easy to see that the big one goes on the bottom, the medium in the middle, and the small one on top. Once the snowman is done, kids can add the details. Rocks are bigger than buttons, but are much smaller than the even the small head. What size are the eyes, and mouth, and nose? Even if there isn’t any snow, where you live, can your child make a snowman for some fun and learning about sizes?
For a snowman that won’t melt, you and your child can make a snowman sock puppet for some fun, learning and kindergarten readiness. While just about any sock that’s missing it’s mate will do, a white sock is the same color as a snowman. Making sock puppets with kids is like getting a 3 for … Continue reading Snowman Sock Puppet for Learning and Fun
Our area had a fresh blanket of snow overnight. Excitement ran high in many houses; kids were hoping for a snow day and parents were hoping it wasn’t! One of my favorite stories is called Snow Day, written and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann. Did you know that snow can help your child with reading? No, … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Snow Helps Reading
Our forecast has the ‘s’ word…Snow!! But just in case here is a snowman activity that can be done while warm and toasty inside with playdough, or outside in the real kind. It rolls up both fun and kindergarten readiness learning. Before starting, talk about making snowmen. Ask your child or students about how to … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Snowman & Sequence