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…
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!
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
Christmas stickers, optional
Fine motor, color recognition, sensory
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
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
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!