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!
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
Fine motor, gluing, arts & crafts
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.
fine motor, sensory
Fine Motor/Problem Solving
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
Fine motor, perceptual motor, problem solving
Early Science & Math
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
Other measurement devices
Early math, sensory
Cooking & Baking
Candy Cane Cookies
Pre-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
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!