Winter Week 5

New year 2018

Winter Week 5: January 1-5

Art

Choose a Craft

It’s a very busy time of year. Take this art day to choose a craft that your child loves to do, but it doesn’t seem like you ever have time to do it. Maybe they looove playing with play dough, but you just never get it out. For us, it’s finger painting. I don’t know why, but I don’t ever just get out the finger paint and let them go. I just don’t think of it, but they love it when finger paint activities come up in our activity plan!

Fine Motor

Homemade Snow

Shaving cream apparently has about a million uses, including several fine motor and sensory activities for young children. It really is a great medium that kids will have a ton of fun with. Mix a box (or a half box depending on how much you want to make) of cornstarch with a can of shaving cream in a large plastic container. Mix together to get a fluffy, snowy, moldable consistency. Let children dig in and play as they like, ask a lot of questions, and occasionally give new ideas for play (ie add toys, cars, containers, scoops, spoons, cookie cutters, etc).

Stuff to Have

1 box cornstarch

1 can of shaving cream

Large plastic container

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory, early science

Problem Solving

Snowball Transport

Set out cotton balls (or craft balls) in a large bowl along with the empty muffin tin or ice cube tray. Let your child experiment with different types of utensils (tongs, spoons, tweezers) to move the cotton balls from the larger bowl to the small compartments. Younger children will have an easier time using spoons, and older children might enjoy the challenge of tongs or tweezers.

Variation: If using colored craft balls make sure to talk about the colors. Older children might enjoy sorting by color adding an early math concept to this activity.

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or craft balls

Spoons, tongs, tweezers, etc

Muffin tin or ice cube tray

Developing Skills

Fine motor

Early Science & Math

Mitten Match

Adult prep, making the mittens: Grab 5-8 different colors of construction paper. Use your own hand, or your child’s hand to trace around. Make sure to keep all 4 fingers together and thumb sticking out to get the mitten look. Cut 2 mittens out of each color. Have children match the mittens based on color.

Variation: cut out 4 mittens from each color. Cut 2 small and 2 large. Children can not only match based on color, but also based on size.

Stuff to Have

5-8 pairs of construction paper mittens

Developing Skills

Early math, colors

Cooking & Baking

Marshmallow Snowflake

I saw this a while back for older kids, and I thought it would be something fun to do adapted for younger kids. The premise is to take the stick pretzels and stick into the marshmallows and connect into different shapes. Since it’s winter we are calling them snowflakes, but don’t worry if you end up with a line of pretzels and marshmallows. The key is to let your child work on their fine motor abilities with these fun new materials! I would definitely demonstrate along side to give your child new ideas and things to try. Talk about shapes, what you see your child doing, and describe what you are doing! I think kids young and old will enjoy getting involved in this activity!

Stuff to Have

Pretzel sticks

Mini marshmallows

Developing Skills

Fine motor, sensory


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! Since it is colder, getting large motor movement into the day is harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite winter books. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!

Advertisements

Winter Week 4

Winter Week 4: December 25-29

It always bugs me a little bit that Christmas Day arrives and the next day it just kind of disappears. I mean we’ve been building up to this day since October, it should at least stick around for the whole week. Our family has Christmas gatherings well into the weekend after, so I have no problem including Christmas activities throughout this week. This is a week to do activities if you have time for them, but it’s also a great week to lay low, snuggle, read books, watch movies together, and recover from the busy-ness. Do what works best for your family!

Art

Paint a Christmas Tree

Sometimes things just need to be simple. This is a simple craft for children to paint a Christmas tree however they want. Tape the construction paper tree to another piece of paper or newspaper to protect the work surface. Then let children use their creativity to paint their tree to their liking. It’s a great chance to enhance fine motor skills, creativity, and color recognition.

Stuff to Have

Construction paper Christmas tree

Paint

Paint brushes

Developing Skills

Fine motor, art

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Measure Snow

If you are lucky enough to have an accumulation of the white stuff by now, you can easily take some outside play-time to practice using different forms of measurement. You can do many things to measure snow, use plastic measuring cups of various sizes to scoop the snow and compare amounts. You can also use rulers to measure the amount of accumulation on the ground. Be creative with types of measurement, but also keep it simple. The point is to start early thinking about height, length, and volume and how these things can be different (more/less, big/small, long/short, etc). If you don’t have any snow, use anything inside or outside to start demonstrating these characteristics.

Stuff to Have

Plastic measuring cups

Ruler

Other measurement devices

Developing Skills

Early math, sensory

Cooking & Baking

Free

Choose one of your own favorite treats to make, or if you are tired of cooking and baking from all of the Christmas food and treats you have made, take a break and just enjoy being with your family!


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!

Winter Week 3

Winter Week 3: December 18-22

This is the plan for next week. I’m trying to get back on my schedule of posting weekly plans a couple of days early to give you some prep time. But there is always a list of activities and the December materials list on the Toddler Winter activities page if you want to look and prep ahead of time.

Winter Week 3

Art

Scrap Paper Glitter Star

glitter-starParent prep: First cut out construction paper into a medium sized star shape (keep in mind things that are too big can be overwhelming for kids to think about finishing). Once you have your star there is really no rhyme or reason to how to finish it. Let your child decide what they would like to do with a combo of the yellow scrap paper and glitter. Yes, it’ll get messy! Using the scrap paper it will give them a chance to work on their little hand and forearm fine motor muscles. They can tear pieces apart and glue them on to the star to fill it in. Then they can embellish it further by adding glitter all over to make it shine. Whatever they do, they’ll be learning and having fun!

Stuff to Have

Construction paper

Yellow scrap construction paper

Glitter

Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, gluing, art

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

img_1830This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Christmas Tree Sort

img_1888Make ahead: 5 to 10 Christmas trees… start with a large piece of construction paper, fold it in half lengthwise and draw half of a Christmas tree the whole length of the paper. Cut out the outer edge making sure to not cut down the middle. When you open the fold you will have your largest tree. Now repeat this making each tree smaller than the last until you have 5-10 Christmas trees for your child to sort by size.

When your trees are ready, demonstrate for your child how to put trees in order of size (especially the first time doing this activity, and for younger children). Then, let them work on putting them in order of smallest to largest. Be patient! Even if they aren’t sorting them they are processing and experimenting with the concept.

Stuff to Have

5-10 Construction paper trees all different sizes

Developing Skills

Early math

Cooking & Baking

Gingerbread House

My kids have been begging me to make a gingerbread house with gingerbread men! So this year we are going to do it. I found a pre-made gingerbread house kit, and if you can find one and you want to do this I recommend that! Or you could even make a simple house gluing graham cracker squares together with peanut butter or frosting! Maybe you could make some marshmallow snowmen… be creative =) Now, for the traditional style… I’m by no means qualified to tell you how to make a gingerbread house, but I will tell you how to have your child help…

I would ask them a lot of questions about what colors they want to use, let them pick out the candies to decorate, and tell you where and how to decorate on the house. I’m guessing you’re not entering this thing into a competition… so, let them do as much as they can smearing, placing candies, squeezing the frosting. It will be more fun and engaging for them if they can be more involved and enjoy seeing it take shape. Your child will be so proud of their accomplishment, and so excited to spend that time with you!

Stuff to Have

Gingerbread house parts (pre-made kit, homemade, or graham crackers)

Frosting

Candies, sprinkles, and other decorations, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, hand eye coordination, cooking, art, color recognition


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!

Winter Week 2

Winter Week 2: December 11-15

How about another week of fun Christmas activities! Now, I know it’s a busy, busy time of year. We all can attest to that! When I’m overly busy, like during the holiday season, I try to plan my day so that I get activities with the kids in first thing… well… first thing after coffee! If we don’t do things together right away, it won’t happen, all the other stuff will take over and push out our play time. So, putting our time together in the morning is really just prioritizing my day with the most important thing first, knowing all the other stuff will have a chance to get done later in the day!

With that said, enjoy these activities together!

Winter Week 2

Art

Santa Claus Beard

This is an activity that will be fun to make and play with in the end! Before you let your child start gluing on cotton balls, cut an oblong hole for the mouth about an inch below the straight edge of the paper plate. Now, let your child take over gluing and filling in the paper plate with the cotton balls. If your child is overwhelmed by the amount of space to fill in, break it down into smaller sections. Sometimes a big blank space to fill can seem like too much to conquer for toddlers and preschoolers. You can also consider pulling the cotton ball so that it is looser and takes up more space. When your child is finished, glue the popsicle stick to the round bottom of the plate for your child to hold the beard in front of their face. Once the glue has dried, have fun with a little pretend play!

Stuff to Have

Paper plate, cut in half

Large popsicle stick

25-50 cotton balls

Glue

Developing Skills

Fine motor, gluing, arts & crafts

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

If you don’t have any snow you can do the same with ice cubes. Feel them, talk about the cold and the texture, and then watch what happens over time. Sometimes, when I’m on top of things, I pull an ice cube out a little early so that we aren’t waiting forever to see it start to melt.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

img_1835This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Measure Snow

If you are lucky enough to have an accumulation of the white stuff by now, you can easily take some outside play-time to practice using different forms of measurement. You can do many things to measure snow, use plastic measuring cups of various sizes to scoop the snow and compare amounts. You can also use rulers to measure the amount of accumulation on the ground. Be creative with types of measurement, but also keep it simple. The point is to start early thinking about height, length, and volume and how these things can be different (more/less, big/small, long/short, etc). If you don’t have any snow, use anything inside or outside to start demonstrating these characteristics.

Stuff to Have

Plastic measuring cups

Ruler

Other measurement devices

Developing Skills

Early math, sensory

Cooking & Baking

Candy Cane Cookies

img_1982Pre-make your favorite sugar cookie dough, or buy refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Cut the dough in half. In one half mix in red or green food coloring, depending on the color of candy cane cookies that you want. At this time you could also mix in peppermint extract, to taste, if you want peppermint flavored cookies. Once the color and flavor are incorporated, lightly flour your work surface and roll about a tablespoon of colored dough into a rope. Then, do the same with a tablespoon of uncolored dough. Twist the colored dough with the uncolored dough, curve the top into the cane shape, and trim both of the ends. Repeat this process until all of the dough is used up. Chill on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes. Bake according to your cookie dough instructions and enjoy!

This is a great activity for kids to get their hands involved rolling and twisting the dough. Like everything, their cookies might not turn out picture perfect, but it is the experience and practice that is the important thing. Plus, they will have so much fun with this!

Stuff to Have

Premade or refrigerated sugar cookie dough

Red food coloring

Green food coloring

Peppermint extract, optional

Flour, for dusting

Developing Skills

Cooking & baking, early science, fine motor, sensory


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!

December Materials List

Ready or not December is here and I have a list of materials to help you be prepared… at least in this area of your life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help you get your Christmas gifts or grocery lists accomplished, sorry!

This is just a simple list of things that will be coming up. I find it’s nice to know if I should be saving toilet paper rolls or picking up cotton balls at the grocery store. I recommend looking at each activity and the materials to have on hand more specifically as they come up.

Dec Materials Color

December Materials B&W

December Materials List

Winter Week 1

Winter Week 1: December 4-9

I really love to plan things. Is there anyone else out there that just loves planning? I love laying out a new calendar… that I’ve made myself of course because there isn’t a calendar out there that works the way I want it to! I love thinking through what needs done in the next week or month and lining it out just so. I love making a list or plan for my day so that I know I can fit everything in…

But sometimes oftentimes  usually my plans stay on the paper and never ending up exactly the way I planned them. Sometimes it’s close to what I’ve had in mind, and sometimes, like the last three weeks, it ends up being more like I shook up all of those well laid plans, tossed them in the air, and they just landed all over the floor. And we proceeded to jump from task to task and event to event with no rhyme or reason.  Inevitably certain things get missed, like two weeks worth of blog plans, and the introduction to these new Winter activities! I’m happy to say we are getting back on track though and should have a new line up of Winter activities, December materials list, and lots of fun activity posts coming up in the next couple of weeks.

This week kicks off these Winter activities with Christmas trees, snow, and Christmas cookies. The winter activities are probably some of my favorites, so I hope you and your child enjoy them together as much as we do!

Winter Week 1 2017

Art

Foot Christmas Tree

With this craft you are going to help your child make a Christmas tree with the stamp of their foot, and then they can finger paint it to decorate. I find it easiest to brush the green paint onto the bottom of their foot, and then guide it to stamp onto the construction paper. It’s a Christmas tree, so the widest part of the foot should be towards the bottom of the paper, leaving room for the stump if you like. Let the paint dry, go do another activity, play in the snow, read some books… When it is dry your child can use their finger tips to dot Christmas balls onto the tree, add a stump if you want, and maybe Christmas stickers like a star at the top of the tree. Let them use their imagination. It’s ok if it doesn’t end up looking like a perfectly decorated Christmas tree!

Stuff to Have

1 sheet of construction paper

Green non-toxic paint plus other colors to decorate

Paint brush

Christmas stickers, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, color recognition, sensory

Sensory

Snow

Time to go play in the snow! If you don’t have any snow grab ice from the freezer to play with. Snow is a great sensory activity and kids always love it. Talk about the cold, the texture, what happens when it melts and ask lots of questions (ie. Does it stick together, can you make a ball?…). You can use bowls, spoons, cups, buckets, any container and scoops to experiment with moving the snow around.

Stuff to Have

Snow (or ice)

Buckets, bowls, spoons, etc.

Developing Skills

fine motor, sensory

Fine Motor/Problem Solving

Snowball Chute

This is a fun variation on the ping pong ball drop from last summer, but there are lot’s of ways to change it up. Start by gluing 2 magnets onto the back of an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, this is your chute. Stick this to the fridge. Now your child can drop snowballs through the chute. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog about this and I will give more ideas to add to this activity!

Stuff to Have

Cotton balls or white craft balls

Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

tongs, spoons, tweezers, etc, optional

Developing Skills

Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving

Early Science & Math

Christmas Tree Sort

Make ahead: 5 to 10 Christmas trees… start with a large piece of construction paper, fold it in half lengthwise and draw half of a Christmas tree the whole length of the paper. Cut out the outer edge making sure to not cut down the middle. When you open the fold you will have your largest tree. Now repeat this making each tree smaller than the last until you have 5-10 Christmas trees for your child to sort by size.

When your trees are ready, demonstrate for your child how to put trees in order of size (especially the first time doing this activity, and for younger children). Then, let them work on putting them in order of smallest to largest. Be patient! Even if they aren’t sorting them they are processing and experimenting with the concept.

Stuff to Have

5-10 Construction paper trees all different sizes

Developing Skills

Early math

Cooking & Baking

Christmas Cookies

One of our favorite things to do at Christmas time is to make all of our favorite delicious Christmas treats. Ours usually include cut out sugar cookies to decorate, gingerbread cookies, peanut butter cookies, and delicious breads and other caramel covered sweets… it seems like we add something new each year. Cooking and Baking is a great way to get kids involved with measuring (science & math), dumping, stirring, rolling, patting (fine motor), baking (science), and decorating (fine motor and art), among many other learning objectives. The kitchen is a fabulous place for learning and is rewarded by a delicious treat! Take this time to make some of your family’s favorite treats and have fun making memories together in the kitchen!

Check out my post on baking with young children if this seems particularly stressful!

Stuff to Have

Ingredients according to your favorite recipe

Developing Skills

Fine motor, following directions, early science and math


Don’t forget the ever important large motor, reading, and music & rhymes! All three of these have a huge developmental impact on our kids, and they happen to be super fun! As it starts to get colder getting large motor movement into the day gets harder and harder to do. Definitely take every chance you can to bundle up and get outside to run, jump, climb, and play! But on the days that you can’t, get creative. Try yoga for young children, keep a balloon up in the air, toss scarves up and try and catch them, or have a Christmas music dance party. Not only will your kids have fun, they will be learning and growing at the same time!

To keep reading fresh, head to the library or dig out your favorite Christmas and winter books. I love when it is time to pull out our favorite Christmas books and my kids love reading the “new” books over and over. Reading is such an important activity for building vocabulary and adding to that foundation for reading in the future. Not only are they getting so many learning benefits from reading, but you are getting special one on one time with them!

And finally, have fun looking for winter and Christmas themed music and rhymes! Hearing rhymes and the sing songiness of music is building a foundation of phonics for learning letters and reading in the future! But for now, just be expressive and silly and have fun with it!

Happy Playing!