Wednesday, January 15, 2020

9 Things To Do With Snow (Besides Play In It!)

Let's be real, getting outside in the snow during the winter with kids can be a pain. First it takes what seems like hours to get them into the proper gear, then they get outside and within minutes someone is in tears because they're cold or they have to pee or snow got inside of their gloves or some other random reason that makes life seem like hell. I mean, stayed tuned for my sledding post that makes snowlife look like a ball, but to get that perfect fun I must go through hell on earth. Therefore, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I opt to bring the snow fun inside to us (so I can bypass the "is it warm enough to even go out?" and all that jazz). We've been having a lot of fun with our snow theme this month and now that there's snow on the ground with more to come, we'll do some of our favorites from years past. 

For all of you daycare providers, preschool teachers, parents, and caregivers who understand snowlife in winter, here are a few of our favorite ideas that can bring the fun into you:

1.) Paint with snow
It's exactly how it sounds. Grab a few cups of snow, use food coloring or actual paint (I prefer food coloring as it ends up looking like bright water colors when dried) to color the snow, and let kids paint away.

2.) Throw snowballs--INSIDE! 
I drew a bullseye on our tiled wall (tip: don't think you're using window crayons and actually use dry erase crayons or it won't come off as easily as you anticipate), grabbed some snow from the backyard, quickly made some snowballs while the kiddos put on their mittens, and then let them throw them at the bullseye. I laid towels down so it really wasn't messy at all!

3.) Make snow ice cream
I love setting out a giant bowl to catch fresh snow and then use this recipe to make a fun dairy-free snack for the kids.

4.) Practice color mixing. 
Put snow on a pan or in a container, use food coloring to color cups of water with your basic colors (I prefer red, blue, and yellow) and let kids pour or paint the water onto the snow (or you can use droppers like these to make the activity last longer). They'll be amazed at the colors they can make! I've even done this with school aged kiddos and they've loved it too. I've put the colored water into old soap bottles and they can write words or make designs in the snow.

5.) Snow experiments. 
Kids love pouring. Kids love trying something new. I've seriously had bowls of snow and Dixie cups filled with a variety of things (warm water, orange juice, salt, baking soda, etc.) and let the kids pour the cups onto the snow just to see what (if anything) happens.

6.) Snow animals. 
Sensory activities are a huge part of learning through play. Get a bin of snow and put animals who can live in snow in it (examples: polar bears, penguins, seals, wolves, etc.). I love these figurines for this bin.

7.) Find the hidden objects in the snow. 
Start by getting snow in a bin, bury toys or other random (water proof) objects in the snow and have kids dig them out. We use sand shovels for this and it worked great! Years ago, I formed snow balls around the toys and the kids used colored blue water and tooth brushes to melt the snow away.

8.) Make an igloo. 
Give each child a small bin of snow and have them make an igloo in the bin. Sure it melts, but they'll have plenty of time to build something and play with it. We added Little People to our snow igloos to live in.

9.) From snow to water table. 
Bring your water table (that thing that keeps your kid(s) busy on hot summer days) inside, fill it with snow, let kids play in it as it slowly melts. Usually by the time naps are done it's a water table, which brings about a whole new way to play with it! Then you can switch it over to playing with snow to summer in winter....
Similar to this one we did years ago: Polar Ice Table