Like most things that we do here, today’s activity is really simple to set up, but it provides lots of fun and the opportunity for your little one to explore some simple, natural elements while playing in the snow.
I gathered up a few things that I had on hand here: beach rocks, seashells and chestnuts, and I set them out in a couple of baskets, and then I gathered a few twigs and pieces of vine from around the yard.
A large snowball that we’d rolled a week ago provided the perfect surface for experimenting with our collection of items.
The hooligans poked and pushed the nuts and stones into the giant snowball, and speared it with the twigs and sticks.
This activity lasted for a few days. Each day, the hooligans would decorate the snowball, and by the next day, enough melting would have taken place that the nuts and stones and shells would have fallen off, and be laying on the ground. The kids would simply pick the bits and pieces back up, and stick them all back in again.
Fun, easy and experimental. This was a great way for the hooligans to experiment with the last of the winter’s snow.
We we tried something entirely new today: Potato Heads in the snow!
On the way out to the back yard this morning, I grabbed our Fisher Price farm, a bucket of animals and our potato head basket. I intended to set up some toys in the sunshine on the deck to keep the littlest hooligans happy while the bigs played in the snow.
The sun was really strong, and the snow was getting soft and sticky, and that was when the idea came to me. I took the potato head bucket out into the snow, formed two large snowballs, and tested my idea.
After testing things out myself, I called the hooligans over to give it a whirl.It was perfect. I was able to pack the snow tight enough that Mr. Potato Head’s parts held well in the snowballs.
I tried rolling a snowman, thinking we could have some fun with that, but the snow was too wet to make anything bigger than the snowballs that you see here.
How cute are these?
Don’t you just love putting a new spin on an old favourite?
When the weather gets nasty, set up a snowy sensory bin inside…
This is something that we usually do at least once every winter at our house. When it’s too cold to get outdoors, or when someone isn’t feeling well enough to get outside and play, I bring a large, plastic container of snow into the house, and we set up a snowy sensory bin.
In the past we’ve made an ice cream shop or created a snowy world for the Polly Pockets to enjoy, but Friday, I decided to turn our snowy bin into a construction zone.
Because the weather has been quite cold, the snow in the yard was very hard and crunchy, so I let the bin sit on the counter for about 15 minutes after bringing it inside, to soften it up a bit.
Then I added an assortment of Little People vehicles, road signs and construction workers. I also grabbed a few other construction vehicles from our car bucket.
To keep your play area dry:
To keep the floor from becoming wet, I spread out a large quilt for the children to play on, as well as a couple of folded towels for the children to set their toys on as they took them in and out of the bin. A vinyl table cloth would also do the trick, either on its own, or under the blanket as an extra layer of protection.
Suffice it to say, the bin was a hit with the hooligans.
They played at most of the day, using the vehicles and people that I’d placed in the bin, and adding other assorted items that they collected from around the playroom.
We even created a snow-slide by setting our Fisher Price car ramp on a stool beside the bin.Of course, the youngest ones had to sample the snow – just as they do when we’re outside.The longer the children play with the bin, the softer the snow gets, and it’s great for the children to observe how its properties change. They would never see that happen this quickly when we’re playing outside.
It becomes softer and then heavier and wetter, and eventually things turn quite slushy, but it doesn’t loose it’s interest. We set the bin up mid morning, and the hooligans continued to play with out all throughout the afternoon.
When I finally dumped it outside at home-time, late in the afternoon, it resembled a slushy swimming pool.
Not bad. A full day of play for the “price” of a bucket of snow!
I don’t know about you, but we’ve had enough of winter here, and we’re missing all the warm weather activities that we’ve gone without for months, so last night I put together this easy indoor cardboard hopscotch for the hooligans!
Start saving your frozen pizza boxes, jumbo cereal boxes, or any other good-sized pieces of thin cardboard that you come across because this is super-simple to make and your kids are going to love it!
I used the front and back panels of some pizza boxes for several of my squares, and the rest I cut from a large sheet of white cardboard that I had on hand. My squares are probably about 12″ x 12″.
I cut 9 squares and one large semi-circle to sit at the top of the hopscotch.
Then I drew on my numbers and painted them with acrylic craft paints. I went freehand, but I’m sure there are plenty of number templates online that you can use if you’d rather trace your numbers.
And that, my friends, is all there is to it!
Arrange your squares on the floor and get hopping! Having your child arrange the hopscotch is a great way to work on counting skills and number recognition.
We used our hopscotch on carpet downstairs, and on the mat that you see here on the main floor, and the squares didn’t slide around too much. If you’re going to try this on a wood floor, make sure you test first to see how slippery this might be. I would advise running a few lines of puffy paint along the back of the squares if you’re concerned about the cardboard sliding. I know several moms who use this method to “slip-proof” their children’s socks.