Winter Week 5: January 1-5
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!
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
Fine motor, sensory, early science
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
Early Science & Math
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
Early math, colors
Cooking & Baking
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
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!