Updated January, 2013
Just like sand, snow is wet and dense--and can be formed into shapes. When you go outside...take out the sandbox toys, buckets, containers and molds. Create a snow castle (instead of sand castle) -- Create and have fun!
BUILD A LARGE SNOW WORM (or Caterpillar) Great for kids-no lifting heavy snow!
Materials: Food coloring, snow, sticks, fruit or vegetables (oranges, carrot)
- Make several large snow balls. (One bigger than the rest for the head.)
- Use the fruit or vegetables to make eyes and a nose. Like you would with a regular snowman.
- Mix the food coloring in with some water and fill up a spray bottle to spray your worm with whatever color you want. (or not) A fun winter "Earth Activity"!
JELL-O IN THE SNOW
Make Jell-O according to directions on package. Pour into clean baby food jars-one for each child. Place containers in large tub and fill the tub with snow. When Jell-O is set--enjoy!
OR...MAKE IGLOO BLOCKS (OUTSIDE POPSICLE STICKS) A fun activity during winter. Have children pick their favorite drink (fruit punch, apple juice, etc) and then pour this into an ice cube tray. Have kids write their name on a popsicle stick and place it in the tray. Put this outside and let it freeze (if it is not cold enough you can put it in the freezer) The children then have an igloo block for snack.
CREATE A BIRDSEED SNOW ANGEL
This angel is easiest made together. One partner lies down to make a snow angel while the other partner stands by to help the maker get up without messing up the imprint. After the imprint is formed, pour cups of birdseed into the angel, filling the head and body with bands of variously colored seed. For a finishing touch, add pine boughs for the angel's spreading wings.
Extension Science Idea:
Watch this spot daily and record your observations in a journal. The journal can be made with paper and a construction paper cover. At the same time every day, write down what the weather is like, including temperature, how the sky looks, if it is snowy or sunny and what animals you see, and how they look to you. Are they feeding? This can be a fun spectator activity!
SNOWMAN BUILDING RACE (A game-but primarily building a snowman!)
Here's how you play.
1. Pick 2 teams. The 2 teams make a snowman bottom.
2. Someone yells GO!
3. The 2 teams start to finish the rest of the snowman---The body, hat, nose, etc.
Fill three balloons with water (one big, one medium, and one small). Let freeze overnight. Peel the balloon off and stack the balls (use salt between to help them melt and stick together. Have kids clothe him, put a carrot nose, stick arms, etc.
SNOW TREASURE HUNT
Hide a chest full of 'fun' in the snow, then watch kids track it down clue by clue.
- Pack a cooler full of treats and then hide the "treasure chest."
- Create a series of clues leading to the chest. Use either pictures from magazines or create your own with markers and paper.
- Place each clue in a plastic bag and hide it in the snow.
- Begin the hunt by handing the players their first clue.
For more sophisticated players, give them their clues in riddles or use rebuses.
Look around the yard for good clue hiding places and plot them on paper. Then create the picture clues for each spot and hide them in order (keep the master list just in case a clue gets lost). Source: familyfun.go.com
This is a good science lesson...
- When the temperature dips below the freezing point, many changes occur in our environment: water turns to ice, and rain turns to snow. The bubble activity demonstrates this.
- It's a good idea to first chill the containers of bubble solution in the refrigerator; outside it has to be below freezing temp.
- Have children observe the bubbles closely as they blow. They will notice ice crystals forming on the surface of the bubbles.
- What happens when the bubbles pop? They shatter.
- If the outside weather is below 32 degrees, you can make bubbles outdoors. Blow a bubble and catch it on the wand. Wait and watch as it freezes. It will turn into a crystal ball and then shatter like glass; you'll see ice crystals form. You'll also notice the vibrant colors!
SNOW SQUIRT ART
Give children squirt bottles filled with colored water and let them color the snow. Consider also using dish detergent bottles, filled with water and food coloring; they work more easiely with mittens on. (Having done this with children, using small squirt bottles is difficult for kids to press. If using 'squirt' bottles---use those with larger nozzles) TIP: Get a supply of old-used mittens as to not soil childrens' gloves. Image of 'Colored Snow AND Winter Bubbles' by KidActivities
Create a SNOWY SELF PORTRAIT that doubles as a tasty treat for animals who might stop by to admire and sample your work.
Birdseed (such as sunflower seeds and cracked corn)
Fruits and vegetables (like apples, kale and carrots)
Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. Start by prepping your art materials; fill the pump bottles with different hues of food-color-tinted water and cut up various fruits and vegetables. Then take the materials outside.
2. Next, start your masterpiece by lying back in the snow to make a body print. Gently rock your body to pack the print, then carefully get up (you may need a friend's help).
3. Create a portrait by filling in the shape with the seeds and vegetable pieces and adding details with the colored water.
Younger kids may find it easier to work with fewer materials and to use cups or small pitchers (instead of their hands) to pour lines of seed. Remember to have the artists sign their initials somewhere, too! Source: familyfun.go.com
ICE BLOCK DESIGNS
Younger children can observe how salt melts ice while creating colorful designs in large blocks of ice.
Need: Large blocks of ice, Coarse salt, Food coloring, Eye droppers This is science, art, and outside winter play!
- Freeze water in empty one gallon milk containers. Remove the cardboard when water is frozen.
- Place ice blocks on trays covered with several layers of newspaper.
- Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the ice blocks.
- Drip various colors of food coloring on top of the ice block--tunnels of color are created as the salt melts through the ice block.
- Put the colorful ice blocks outside. If cold enough- they should stay frozen for several days.
- Children can continue to examine the melting process during outdoor play. If possible-(and if they are interested) give kids their own block of ice.
- If you have a large group do this activity over a few days. Children will enjoy watching the changes that occur as the blocks melt away!(Image by KidActivities.net)
Idea dapted from Marjorie E. in KinderArt.com NOTE: When salt goes over the side of the ice block-it will quickly melt grooves into the sides. The color will travel down the grooves. KA placed the ice block in a tin pie pan with lots of paper to soak up excess colored water. The ice stayed solid (outdoors) for about a week. (It melted when we had a freakish 65 degree Michigan winter day in January!)
WINTER SUN CATCHER
(For Preschool and up)
Ribbon or yarn (at least 12 inches long)
Aluminum pie plate, or other metal dish
Food coloring or crayon shavings
Flower petals, berries, leaves, or other materials
- Make a loop with the ribbon and place it in the pie plate. Leave at least 5 inches of the looped end hanging over the edge. Fill the plate with water.
- If you'd like your sun catcher to be colored, add a few drops of food coloring to the water and mix it around.
- Add the crayon shavings, berries, or other materials for your sun catcher to the water.
- Let the materials fall into place, or arrange them in a design. (Keep in mind that the materials may move around on their own.)
- Put the plate in the freezer, or if it's cold enough, leave it outside to freeze.
- Let the plate sit for at least one day. If it's outside, you may need to let it sit longer.
- When the water is completely frozen, carefully remove the ice from the tin. (Mine popped out easily)
Hang the sun catcher outside from a tree or windowsill for friends and neighbors to admire. You can also try using cupcake tins and shorter ribbon (6 inches)to make several small sun catchers.
Note: I made the above samples as an example. The one with berries is made without 'food coloring or crayon shavings'. Next time I would add the color and spread out the materials. The other image is made the same way but with 'paper snowflakes' placed in it. Barb
What you'll need:
Viewing platform: black velvet, dark cloth, or black construction paper
- Snowflakes are delicate creatures and their fine crystalline shape can vanish at the touch of warmth.
- You'll need to freeze your viewing surface (keep it in the fridge or outside in a cold dry area).
- If the snow is falling, just hold your platform aloft to catch a few flakes and view with your magnifying glass.
- You may need to wear a scarf over the mouth and nose to avoid melting the flakes with a warm breath.
Place a black sheet of paper into a freezer until cold. Take outdoors and use a magnifying glass to view snowflakes that land on the paper.
TRY MAKING YOUR OWN ICICLE!
Puncture a VERY SMALL hole into a hanging container, fill it with water and then leave it slowly dripping over-night. The next day you should have your own icicle.
SNOW SHOES See if you can pick some up for a good deal-or rent them for a day. The kids will have a ball walking on the snow without them--and then walking with them. Fun to watch and fun to do!
OLD MARKERS DRYING OUT?
Take them outside and color the snow!
THINK ABOUT AN OUTSIDE WINTER PICNIC!
Consider this for one of those all day or half day programs.
- You need a clear winter day.
- Children provide packed lunches-- a hot one if they have an insulated bag. Program can provide warm drinks in thermoses.
- Pre-choose your picnic site. Be sure to bring blanket to sit on!
- When you arrive, first play a warming game like leapfrog ... have your warm lunches ...followed by playing more active games! This would be a great time to play relay and planned games!
Weather not cooperating on the planned day? Do the same but inside!!!
DON'T FORGET ABOUT~
• Looking for animal footprints...
• Making snow angels...
• Older kids puling the younger on sleds...
• Taking thermoses of hot chocolate outside...
• Winter time nature scavenger hunt...
• Build houses, igloos and forts...
• Don't just make snowmen-Make snow-women, animals, animals and super heroes!
'MAPLE SYRUP' SNOW CANDY
SNOW CANDY #1 Ingredients:
2 cups of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup water.
Bring water with other ingredients to a rolling boil. (Boil for about 10 minutes)
Have children make a smooth place in clean snow - pour the snow candy on it. You can pour in any desired design or pictures. Don't touch until it has cooled.
IF THE SNOW ON THE GROUND BOTHERS YOU ---scoop up some clean snow and place it in a bowl or dish---you can also take the snow inside and make your candy there!
SNOW CANDY #2
If you use real Maple Syrup and boil it the same way, you get an all natural treat that doesn't require any measuring or mixing of ingredients. Fans of Laura Ingall Wilder may remember the author’s vivid descriptions of this candy: It is warm, buttery in flavor, gooey, and delicious when eaten outside while making a snow fort with your daddy.
NOTES: KIdActivities made two versions of the snow candy recipe. The first used an 'off the shelf imitation' maple syrup. The second used a 'pure maple syrup'. Although the imitation maple flavored syrup set up quickly--it began to melt immediately. The true maple syrup had much better results.
When first brought in from the cold--the 'candy is very hard' and difficult to bite. In a minute or two however, it does begin to become watery/melt. Although you can bite on it at this point--it is very chewy and has the consistency/chewiness of taffy. It DOES have a nice taste--but is made more for the fun and novelty than to eat it. One tiny bite is all you need--but it is a fun activity to try with your kids! (Image by KidActivities.net)
FOR THE ANIMALS!
A TREE FOR THE ANIMALS
Decorate a tree for the animals in the woods or around your home or program propert. Use fruit, vegetables, nuts and peanut butter on pinecones so the animals will have food to eat when while it's cold.
WINTER NECKLACE AND ANIMAL FEEDER
String or fishing line
Dried fruit; raisins, cranberries, apple and apricot
Pieces of orange peel (optional )
Measure the length of line that you need to fit the necklace over a child's head. Don't forget to leave enough for tying off. Thread the needle and string the popcorn and other items alternately.
Children can wear their necklace for a while and then hang the necklace onto a tree or shrub for the local wildlife.
Tip: The orange peel adds a very pleasant scent. Put a bit of all natural peanut butter on the necklace before placing it outside. The oils and protein are great for the birds!
OUTDOOOR CREATURE POPCORN WREATH
Cut wreath shapes out of cardboard. Give each child a wreath and a plastic knife to spread peanut butter over the wreath shape. Put birdseed over the peanut butter covered wreath. Use spots of peanut butter to "glue" pieces of popcorn onto the wreath in a bow shape. Hang the wreaths outside where they will be seen---good for birds and other outdoor creatures...
Materials: Lard, String, Pine cone, Birdseed
Tie a piece of string around the widest part of the cone.
Mix the lard and seed together, then press the mixture into the branches of the cone.
Use the string to tie the cone up in a tree or bush for the birds to enjoy.
FEED AND OSERVE WINTER BIRDS
What you need: An empty plastic milk or water bottle, or a milk carton, scissors, string, bird seed
(1) Wash the bottle or carton and rinse it well. Cut several small (2-3") holes in the sides, about 2" from the bottom. Cut or poke two small holes near the top and thread a long piece of string through them.
(2) Fill the bird feeder with seeds and hang from a tree or shrub. Scattering some seeds on the ground can help the birds find the feeder. Watch the birds. Be patient. Try different types of seeds and different locations. Record your observations.
There are 17 Bird Feeder Ideas in the Bird Theme! Click Here...
HAVE FUN WITH ALL THE WINTER PAGES!