In recent years I have converted from a constant winter curmudgeon to a snow-flinging, Christmas caroling, snowshoeing winter fanatic. Not many people make this transition. However, I decided that if I didn’t want to be miserable for a goodly portion of my life, I’d better learn to enjoy the eight or so months of winter that we get here. The change has not been as difficult as I anticipated.
Looking Forward to Winter
There are several events and activities that I am looking forward to as winter comes. I can’t wait to snowshoe on the rail trail again. I’d like to try cross-country skiing too. Our town always has a wonderful Main Street Christmas celebration with the tree lighting. And, of course, lots of snowman and snow fort building with the kids.
Keeping the Littles Engaged
A few weeks ago, I posted about Fall Activities for Littles. I’ll just briefly restate that Littles are toddlers through Kindergarten age. This age group can be the most fun and the biggest challenge at the same time. The key is doing a small amount of planning to keep them engaged. They don’t always have as much stamina for outdoor time as your older kids, so having some unique things to pull out for them helps a lot.
I mentioned in the post What’s In My Bag: Winter Edition that I’ll be adding snow paint to my outdoor time bag. I found two different recipes that would be worth checking out.
The first is at survivingateacherssalary.com. The author there gives the simplest recipe in which you add cold water and liquid food coloring to a 6 oz. squeeze bottle. She recommends keeping the mixture in the fridge to keep it cold. I assume that keeping the paint cold will make sure it doesn’t melt to snow on contact when using the paint.
Other recipes said to add some cornstarch to the snow paint. It helps make it a little thicker. You may want to add the cornstarch for squirt bottle paints. But if you choose to use a spray bottle instead, I would leave it out so it doesn’t gun up the sprayer.
Over at littlepinchofperfect.com the author of that blog adds 2 Tbs or cornstarch for every 2 cups of water. She stores her snow paint in the garage to keep it cold and ready to go for outdoor play.
Adopt A Tree
If you have already adopted a tree to keep track of, keep checking in on it through the winter. There are still plenty of chances to observe after the leaves fall. Outline your tree and what it looks like covered in snow and ice. See if any furry friends are hibernating in knotholes. Just don’t disturb them!
If you haven’t adopted a tree yet, here is the basic idea. You choose a tree or shrub anywhere you visit frequently. It can be in your yard, at the park, or along the trail. Visit it regularly and keep track of the changes throughout the year. Use one special notebook so that you can see the variations as the seasons change.
Your little one can have tons of fun with this project and there are many educational benefits. Let them practice their observation and recording skills right in the notebook. Then look up some activities on Pinterest to include in the notebook. The Tree Notebook project also helps your child to extend his attention span and memory. Small children learn well with a Plan, Do, and Review approach to learning. Adopting a tree fits perfectly into that pattern.
Here is one art project you can add to your Tree Notebook. For a winter tree scene, draw the basic outline of the trunk and branches on a piece of black construction paper with a gray or white crayon. Then flick white paint on it for snow.
We hope you enjoy these projects with your littlest trailblazers. Next week, we’ll have two more excellent winter activity suggestions for you!
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