Winter has arrived! Are you ready? Be sure to use at least one of the five fun activities below to celebrate the arrival of winter with the children in your care!

1. Welcome Winter

Materials:

  • Several large sheets of paper
  • Index cards
  • Markers

What to Do:

  1. Introduce the first day of winter with your favorite winter children’s book.
  2. Write the word “winter” in the center of a large sheet of paper and circle it. Ask the children to name some things that relate to winter, such as snow, cold, ice, ski, hot chocolate, mittens, boots, sled, snowman, and so on. Write their ideas on the paper outside the circle as they say them.
  3. Depending on the attention span of your group, you can end the activity and post the list, end the activity and come back to it later for extension activities, or continue the activity by making a winter word wall. (A word wall is a bulletin board display of the alphabet that the children can add words to so they can refer to them for various activities.)
  4. To continue, let each child choose a word to copy. Ask them to draw a picture of the word on an index card.
  5. Write their word on the card and have them add the card in the correct location on a winter word wall.

Source: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities

2. Snowman’s Face

Materials:

  • Baby carrots
  • Cream cheese, plain, in a tub
  • Large round rice cakes
  • Plastic knives
  • Raisins
  • Small paper plates

What to Do:

  1. Provide a sufficient quantity so each child has all the ingredients he or she needs.
  2. Ask the children to wash their hands before they come to the table.
  3. Give each child one large rice cake on an individual paper plate.
  4. Provide a small container of cream cheese and a plastic knife for each child. Each child spreads the cream cheese onto the rice cake.
  5. Ask each child to create a snowman’s face, using the raisins for the eyes and a mouth and a baby carrot for the nose.
  6. Ask the children if they are making a sad or a happy snowman’s face.
  7. Enjoy eating the snowman face!

Source: Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities

3. Jack Frost Pictures

Materials:

  • Dark construction paper
  • Epsom salt
  • Jar
  • Paint cup
  • Paintbrushes
  • Warm water

What to Do:

  1. Put equal amounts of warm water and Epsom salt into a jar, and then stir the mixture until the Epsom salt dissolves.
  2. Pour the mixture into a paint cup. (You may need adult help or guidance with this step.)
  3. Paint a design on the dark paper with the Epsom-salt solution. What are you painting? Is it an object or a scene? Something you saw or something from your imagination? Can you make up a story about your painting?
  4. Watch the paper as it dries. The design will whiten and begin to crystalize.

Try This: Use wax crayons to draw a picture or design on dark paper (press heavily). Paint the Epsom-salt solution over the crayon design. As the solution dries, crystals will form on the paper wherever there is no crayon. This looks good with crayon drawings of winter scenes.

Source: The Budding Artist

4. Ice Crystals

Materials:

  • Deep buckets or plastic tubs
  • Hot water (adults only)
  • Several containers with tight-fitting lids

What to Do:

  1. Fill several containers ¾ full with hot water (ask an adult for help).
  2. Put tight-fitting lids on the containers, and place them in a freezer overnight. Condensation of the water vapor from the hot water will coat the underside of the lids. This will freeze as delicate crystals, while the water in the container will form a solid block of ice.
  3. Take the containers out of the freezer. Carefully remove the lids and examine the crystals. They will melt very quickly, so it is helpful to freeze several containers and open just one or two at a time.
  4. Compare these crystals with snowflakes. How are they alike? How are they different?

Try This: Make ice crystals outdoors. Fill deep buckets or plastic tubs with water. Place outside in subfreezing temperatures. When the water has partly frozen, carefully remove the thick cap of ice from the top of the container. (This may take half a day to two days, depending on the outside temperature and the size and shape of the container.) Observe the ice crystals hanging from the underside of this ice block. (These will be larger than the ice crystals formed in the freezer.)

Source: The Budding Scientist

5. Sock Snowmen

Materials:

  • Children’s white socks
  • Pillow stuffing
  • Rubber bands
  • Pens
  • Buttons
  • White glue

What to Do:

  1. Give each child one white sock.
  2. Show the children how to stuff the sock with pillow stuffing.
  3. Help the children put rubber bands in the middle and the top of their socks, making a snowman with two balls of “snow” (instead of three). Leave about 1” –2” above the top rubber band.
  4. Let the children use pens to make faces for the snowmen.
  5. Show the children how to color in the 1”–2” part of the sock above the top rubber band with a black pen and turn the hat down like a stocking hat.
  6. Let the children glue buttons down the front of the snowmen.

Source: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities

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