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Exploring Cold Weather: Winter Activities & Books for Young Children

Jan 15, 2021    |   Children’s BooksOutdoor & Sensory PlayWinter

The winter months allow for fun activities that allow children to explore the cold weather. In this article, we share winter activities that can be enjoyed outdoors and individually to ensure safety and social distancing.

You’ll also find children’s books on winter topics that are great options for educators to share with young children during virtual meetings.

Winter Activities for Young Children

Ice Painting for Toddlers and Young Preschoolers

Photo and activity from Messy Little Monster.

It may not snow in California, but we can bring the ice indoors with a fun ice painting art project.

For this project, you will need small cups for making ice cubes (such as yogurt cups), food coloring, water, craft sticks, and construction paper. This activity is especially great for curious toddlers who are often interested in putting materials into their mouths, as the ice is fully safe for eating. This project can be set up on individual trays with children at a distance to maintain social distancing and to avoid sharing materials.

The melting ice will leave a colorful watercolor-like consistency on the paper as children rub the ice and it melts into the paper. Try with different colors, and with different size ice cubes for more variety!

Click here to find more detailed instructions to set up this project. As a bonus activity, if you have leftover larger ice cubes, the children might enjoy using them to make colored ice sculptures.

Snowy Window

Photo and activity idea from
No Time for Flashcards.

Another fun way to bring the snow to your classroom is to create a snowy window using contact paper, cotton balls, and other soft materials.

This project is a great way for children to practice fine motor skills as they stick small items on clear contact paper while creating a beautiful and wintery window display. Children can make snowflakes with q-tips and snowmen with round cotton swabs. You can also use any other objects that fit in with a snowy scene (such as tissue paper pieces, pom-poms, small buttons, pieces of felt, etc.). This project might be especially fun when paired with a book about snowy weather or animals that live in the snow. If you have Anna and Elsa fans in your classroom, the children also might enjoy creating their snowy scene while listening to music from Frozen.

Click here for more details about how to set up this project.

Exploring Natural Materials: Making Mud Pies

We are all more aware than ever that planning curriculum around outdoor activities is a good way to avoid spreading germs. In California, playing outside during the cold months comes with plenty of dirt and mud. Mud creates a wonderful environment for exploration, creation, and messy play. And, best of all, it’s free! Toddlers and younger preschoolers will enjoy the sensory experience of squishy mud between their fingers while making mud pies,  while older preschoolers might see this  project as a dramatic play opportunity to create in a pretend kitchen.

All you need to make mud pies are disposable tins or old baking trays for children to create with. You can also use flowers or leaves that are found around the yard. You might have a muddy area in your yard that children can create in, or you can simply mix water and dirt to create muddy fun. As a note, you will want to ensure that children have a change of clothes beforehand, as mud is messy!

Click here to find more details about how to set up this activity. If the children are looking for more ways to play with mud, they might also enjoy trying a mud painting activity.

More Activities

For more winter activity ideas, check out this previous Good2Know Network article, Winter Curriculum Ideas, that featured a sculpting activity and a sparkly winter wonderland art project using pipettes.

Children’s Winter Books

These books are entertaining on their own, or they can be coupled with a  circle time topic such as, “Where do animals go during the winter?”

For more winter children’s books, check out the article, Winter Children’s Books, from Good2Know Network.

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