It’s winter! The days are drawing in; it takes 15 minutes to scrape a heavy coating of ice off your windscreen in the morning; and you start to wonder if you’ll ever see the sun again! But don’t despair! And don’t let the winter blues get you down. There are plenty of fun and exciting activities to share with your children in these colder climes, which will leave you invigorated, rejuvenated and celebrating the winter months with glee!
We’ve put together some of our favourite ideas for inside and outside, when there’s snow and when there’s not! So, read through the list and make the most of these special winter months.
Outside – snow
Love it or hate it, there’s no mistaking that kids love snow! And if you’re lucky enough to get some snow this year, get outside and have some fun using the ideas below. Just make sure you wrap up warm with coats, gloves, hats and scarves!
- Write letters in the snow – get the children to practice their mark-making using the snow. You could use sticks, fingers, feet or make some spray bottles using coloured water and see just how creative children can be.
- Build a snowball tower – making snowballs is fun. Whether you allow the children to throw them is up to you, but you can always make a snowball tower and see how tall you can make it. Why not build it using different geometric shapes at the base, to see which is the most stable?
- Snow angels – if you are lucky and can find some pristine snow, then making snow angels is a must. Try making some interesting patterns too by getting the children to face in different directions or line up in height order.
- Build a snowman, snowwoman or snow dog! This is a great way to introduce some new stories to your classes too, such as “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs. You could read the story and then make your own snow family. Just don’t be alarmed if they move in the night!
- Do some science – leave some bottles outside that are filled with different liquids to see which ones freeze in the snow. Try plain water, salt-water, and fizzy pop for starters.
- Build a snow house or mini igloo – ever wondered how Eskimos keep warm? Try building a simple shelter in the snow to find out.
- Make some home-made sledges – experiment with using some household items to see what slides well on the snow – perhaps a tray, a bin bag or a large piece of cardboard? Help your children explore and come up with some answers for themselves.
Outside – no snow
Even if you don’t get any snow this winter, there’s still lots of fun to be had exploring the great outdoors with some warm clothes and some wellies!
- Natural winter art – collect some colourful items such as leaves, twigs, pinecones, conkers etc. and use them to make some artwork. You could create animals, environments or anything else using these natural resources.
- Go on a festive walk – increase the physical activity of the children by taking them on a winter walk. You could make it a treasure hunt or look out for local landmarks. And remember to jump through the leaves and in muddy puddles too!
- Deliver some winter food parcels – winter can be difficult for some people, especially if they are elderly, homeless or infirm. Why not organise a collection of non-perishable food items, decorate some boxes and then deliver them in your local area?
- Track animals – you can often see animal footprints more easily in winter than summer due to the muddy conditions. Go on a hunt for some common British wildlife and see if you can spot and identify the signs of hedgehogs, birds, badgers, foxes or rabbits – or anything else that lives in and around your setting.
- Plant some winter flowers – winter does not need to be a time without gardening. There are some wonderful winter pansies, cyclamen and spring bulbs to plant that will keep your garden full of colour.
- Make a bug hotel – your local wildlife will appreciate a bit of care this winter too, especially if you give them somewhere to hibernate. Use rotting leaves, twigs, straw, old tiles and stones to create a layered ‘hotel’ for our insect friends.
- Visit your local library – encourage a love of reading early on by taking a trip to your local library. Many offer storytime sessions for toddlers too or you could check your ‘What’s On’ listings to see if there are some festive events you could attend.
Inside – toasty warm!
If it’s too cold, wet or windy to go outside, then let the winter winds blow and try some indoor activities to celebrate winter instead.
- Decorate windows – make some paper snowflakes, snowmen or Christmas trees to decorate your windows. If you use coloured tissue paper, they create colourful patterns when the sun shines.
- Make some marshmallow or cotton wool snowmen – this is the warmer version of the real thing but can be just as much fun. You can use spaghetti or sticks to hold them together.
- Feed the birds – make some winter feeders using old plastic bottles, nuts, seeds and berries.
- Have an indoor snowball fight – make some pompoms using wool or use softballs to either play catch or have a ‘dodge the snowball’ competition!
- Create a winter weather mobile – make snowflakes, clouds and sun shapes to hang around the setting to show the different weathers you can get in winter.
- Decorate some biscuits with winter themes – make some biscuits and cut them into winter shapes, then decorate them with some festive ideas. Think about usual ideas such as bobble hats, gloves and reindeer.
- Learn some new winter-themed songs – how about “Here we go round the mulberry bush”, “The north wind doth blow” and “Look out, look out, Jack Frost is about” for starters?