Winter wonderland of fun

Winter is a great time to explore and have fun outside!

January 3, 2018 - Author: Kendra Moyses, Michigan State University Extension

Winter is a great time to bundle kids up and take them outside to explore. Remember, kids can get colder quicker than adults, so be sure to watch how long you are outdoors. Ensure kids have on appropriate winter clothes such as hats, gloves, mittens, boots and scarves and that coats and pants can handle wetter conditions from snow and ice.

Try these fun activities on your next snow adventure!

  • Snow painting: Use water with drops of food coloring in squeeze bottles and paint pictures on the snow.
  • Snowman painting: Use water with drops of food coloring in spray bottles to decorate your snowman or other snow-made art.
  • Freezing bubbles: When it’s below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, use leftover bubble solution to make freezing bubbles! Blow bubbles and catch them on the bubble wand. Wait a few seconds for them to start to freeze and watch them turn into crystal bubbles before they pop.
  • Balloon building: Fill balloons with water and food coloring, tie them off and set them outside to freeze. After they are frozen, peel off the balloon and use the colored shapes to build sculptures outdoors.
  • Outdoor building blocks: Fill ice cube trays or other containers with water and food coloring. Set them outside to freeze. After they are frozen, pop the ice out of containers and use the colored shapes for outdoor building blocks.
  • Treasure/scavenger hunt: Have an outdoor treasure or scavenger hunt with items from the outdoors.
  • Animal tracks: Look for animal tracks in the snow. Take a picture of the tracks or draw their shape. Take the drawing or picture back inside and try to identify what animal made the tracks be searching in books or on the Internet.
  • Melting snow: Run an experiment with snow and ice! Predict which will melt faster inside: an ice cube from the freezer, a tightly packed snowball or a pile of fluffy snow. Put an ice cube from the freezer in a bowl, a tightly packed snowball about the size of an ice cube in a bowl and a pile of fluffy snow in a bowl and see which one melts first.
  • Freezing liquids: Run an experiment with different liquids to see which one freezes first when put outside. Choose three different liquids (you could use water, juice, milk or anything else) and put them each in a bowl or cup. Predict which liquid will freeze first outside. Take the bowls outside and check on them to see which liquid froze first.
  • Measure snow fall: Using a ruler, piece of wood or plastic to measure snow fall can be a fun winter experiment. Stick the measuring tool in the ground and each time it snows, draw a line for how much it snowed and write the date on top of the line. You can measure the snowfall throughout the winter.
  • Read a book: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is about a little boy who wakes up one morning to discover the ground covered in snow. Use the MI Strong Family Book Sheet for more fun hands-on activities based around this book.

Don’t let cold weather keep kids indoors! Get out and explore the winter wonderland in your own backyard! For more ideas on activities to do with kids in the winter, visit the eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care’s Hands-On Activities Database. Be sure to check out the Build an Igloo activity from the database!

For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

To learn about the positive impact children and families are experience due to MSU Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Report. Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

Tags: approaches to learning, cognition and general knowledge, early childhood development, environmental & outdoor education, family, healthy youth, msu extension, rest time refreshers, science & engineering


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