As wintertime draws near, many parents find themselves searching for ways to keep little ones occupied as the weather grows colder outside. Fresh air and outdoor playtime can still be enjoyed, even if it is just in short spurts! However having an array of options for indoor playtime definitely comes in handy. Here are a few suggestions for play based learning activities that will keep your cuties engaged, all winter long!
There is an old saying that says "There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes." In a home filled with little ones, there is nothing that can channel their energy better than the chance to get outside and run around! Babies also benefit from getting some fresh air! In the wintertime, colder temperatures and snow can certainly make this a challenge, but not impossible. With the right gear, outdoor playtime can still be enjoyed in small spurts:
Winter Scavenger Hunt: Bundle little ones up from head to toe and head out your door for a little Nature Scavenger Hunt. Encourage older toddlers and children to hunt for items such as pinecones, bird nests, icicles, a snow plow. For little babies, simply walking them around the yard and allowing them to look at the natural beauty is a learning experience in itself!
Building with Snow: Building snowmen is always a favorite, but why stop there!? Encourage children to continue to build different items out of snow. You can also piece together a snow building kit, complete with little shovels, and let their imaginations run wild!
Play a Game of "Guess That Footprint": If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, this activity is perfect for engaging little explorers! Head to an outdoor area that gets a decent amount of footprints. Perhaps a local park or just on the neighborhood sidewalk. Give children binoculars or a magnifying glass and encourage them to investigate the different tracks they find in the snow. From footprints made by people, to prints from animals, this kind of an activity is both intriguing and educational! Little toddlers and babies can enjoy making prints of their own. Help them to step into a snowy spot or make a snow angel to show them how they too can leave their prints in the snow!
On days that are just too blustery to get outside, bringing the outdoors in can be just the fix for engaging little minds. By expanding upon the activities above, children can use their skills to expand their learning across environments.
Nature Sort: While giving the outdoor Scavenger Hunt a try, be sure to collect a few extra items, such as pinecones or fallen sticks. Bring them inside and lay them out on the kitchen table. Ask children to sort them by attributes such as shape and size.
Mini Snowmen: Building snowmen can absolutely be enjoyed from the warmth of inside your home! Gather a small pail of snow and lay it out on a large baking sheet. Encourage children to build mini snowmen right there on the baking sheet! Once finished, slide it into the freezer or set out on your porch to prevent melting. Smaller babies and toddlers can enjoy this activity, too! Place a few scoops of snow inside a large ziploc bag and place it in front of the child so that they can explore the snowy texture, all while staying warm and dry!
Making Snow Prints: This activity can be done right on a baking sheet or on a plate! Spread some snow on a waterproof surface and hand children playdoh toys and some cookie cutters! Ask them to make various shapes, prints and patterns in the snow.
We hope the ideas above help to spark some creativity this winter! Looking for more ways to enjoy this season!? Ask your children to help you decide on things to do. By keeping communication open, children can share their ideas and desires, all while you as the parent can help them to avoid meltdowns! Happy playing, friends!
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