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.
Parent 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
Yellow scrap construction paper
Fine motor, gluing, art
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.
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
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
Cooking & Baking
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)
Candies, sprinkles, and other decorations, optional
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!