Winter Activities for Children
Posted on December 13, 2017 by CHS
The winter months offer children unique learning experiences. For instance, it is the only time of year when they can see all the different forms that water can take: ice, snow, fog, steam, dew, and rain, simply by looking outside. Children also play differently in the winter. Inclement weather often means that children spend more time inside, and it is a good idea to plan some activities and projects that will keep them busy and support their learning. So turn off the television, computer, tablets, and smartphones because it is time to play!
Games and Movement Activities
Try some indoor movement activities to help children release pent up energy and develop their muscles, balance, and coordination.
- Snowflake Dancing: Use white crepe paper streamers and invite your child to dance like a snowflake with you. If you want to introduce your child to ballet, take a look at this video of waltzing snowflakes from “The Nutcracker Suite” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
- Winter Musical Chairs: If you have several children you can play musical chairs. You may choose holiday music or rainstorm sounds for an added winter touch.
- Snowball Fight: Crumple white paper into balls, or roll white socks together to make a ball, and have an indoor snowball fight.
- Icy Hand Dancing: This is just like playing Hot Potato, but instead of a potato you pass a large ice cube. Freeze water in a paper bowl, or empty plastic container so it is large enough to pass without melting right away. Children can count how long they can hold it before it feels too cold and needs to be passed. Discuss how cold it is, how the shape of it changes because of the heat from their hands, etc.
- Snowman Snowball Toss: Ask your child to help you use markers to decorate white Styrofoam cups, or plastic cups, to look like snowmen (open end is the top). Position the cups open end up so that they form a triangle. Give your child cotton balls she can toss. The object is to toss the cotton balls so they land inside the cup. Once she is able to do it, have her back up, and try it from further away.
- Drip, Drip, Drop: This is a rainy day version of Duck, Duck, Goose. Instead of saying, “Duck, Duck, Goose,” you mimic the rain by saying, “Drip, Drip, Drop.”
- Freeze-Snow Dancing: Play holiday music and invite your child to dance with you. Every couple of minutes stop the music and shout, “Freeze!” Once everyone has frozen in their positions, start the music again and shout, “Snow!” Repeat for as long as you want. Activities that require children to stop and go are great for helping them learn to control their bodies.
- Indoor Ice Skating: Collect empty boxes (cereal boxes are the perfect size). Cut the box so that it lays flat. Cut out rectangle shapes. If you are using cereal boxes just cut out the two large sides. Lay the two pieces of cardboard on the floor, stand with one foot on each piece, bend your knees slightly, press down with your feet, and slide them to move. The object is to keep the cardboard under your feet while you move. This creates a feeling of skating.
Creative Art and Learning Projects
The following activities will inspire your child’s creativity and curiosity. Please consider your child’s age and ability before using scissors, or beginning science and cooking projects. Craft, science, and cooking projects should always include adult participation and supervision.
- Rain Stick: The sound of rain can be very soothing. Children can explore the sound of rain by making their own rain sticks out of few kitchen materials. Follow the step-by-step directions here.
- Rain Gauge: Children can learn about rain with this Rainfall Song. Then they can make this Rain Gauge out of an empty plastic bottle to keep track of rainfall.
- Recycled Gingerbread Village: Save cardboard boxes of various sizes and you and your child can decorate them and create your own Gingerbread Village.
- Trash Bag Snowman: You will need three white trash bags, old newspapers, some construction paper, and tape. Your child can crumple up the newspapers and stuff them in each bag to make the balls for their snowman. Discuss different ideas for stacking and attaching the bags so they will stand up. Cut out eyes, nose, mouth, a hat, and button shapes from the construction paper and tape them on where your child believes they should go. Click here for directions.
- Fun with Mittens: Cut mittens out of white paper and ask your child to decorate them. As he decorates a mitten, you can decorate one to match it. You can use these mittens as a sorting activity by asking him to put the mittens in pairs, or flip them upside down and use them to play a winter version of the game Concentration.
- Holiday Playdough: Playdough is a wonderful way for your child to practice developing the small muscles in his fingers and hands. Make Gingerbread Playdough with your child. Add cookie cutters, craft sticks, and a rolling pin for even more fun.
- Cool Ice Towers: Have a camera ready to take pictures of these creations. Children will use ice to create sculptures. Click here.
- Overnight Crystal Garden: Children will find this science experiment interesting. The crystals look like icicles, but the shapes, sizes, and texture are different. Try this easy recipe for making a crystal garden from Babble Dabble Do.
- Pine Needle Discovery Bottles: These sensory bottles are great for infants and toddlers. Take an empty plastic bottle, place a twig of pine needles inside, fill it with water, and glue on the lid. Children will see the needles magnified with the water. For detailed instructions click here.
- Stormy Art: This is a fun activity for all ages. Gather together white, black, and dark blue construction paper. You will also need to purchase finger paint or make your own edible finger paint. Set up the materials and invite your child to listen to the sounds of a thunderstorm. You can use this video from YouTube. Ask your child to make a picture about how he feels when he hears the thunderstorm sounds. This is a wonderful activity for building your child’s emotional literacy.
- String Cheese Snowmen: These are easy to put together and make a fun snack for holiday parties. All you need are string cheese packets, markers, black construction paper, tape, and ribbons. Click here to see a photo and directions.
- Rock Candy: Explore the science of cooking with this recipe for Rock Candy. You can also try this recipe for Peppermint Sugar Crystals.
If you’re looking for more ways to learn about winter, or want to find more holiday crafts, visit Preschool Plan It, PBS Parents, Happy Hooligans, or Hands On As We Grow. You can also read our blog on Holiday Homemade Gift Ideas.
The PBS Parents website also has ideas for easy sweet snacks and healthy treats that kids can help prepare for holiday parties or gifts. Remember to shop for fruits and vegetables that are harvested during winter. Seasonal vegetables are usually lower in cost and it’s fun to try something new!