Wondering what to do with the kids when it’s too cold to go outside? Bring the snow INside with this snow sensory bin! This snowy sensory bin is a great way for toddlers and preschoolers to play with real snow when it’s too cold to go outdoors.
My daycare kids love playing in the snow. We get outside to play most days in the winter time, even when the temperatures are well below freezing. Once in a while though, the temps drop so low and the wind-chill gets up, and it’s simply too cold to play outdoors
On those days, I like to bring a big plastic container of snow inside, and I turn it into a snow sensory bin for the hooligans to play with.
A snow sensory bin will keep the hooligans busy for ages! They love being able to play with snow comfortably without all the layers of winter clothing getting in their way and without their fingers, noses and toes freezing like they do when we’re outside on a cold day.
For our snow sensory bin today, I heaped our container full of snow and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to let it soften up. Normally, I don’t need to do that but the snow in our yard is hard and crunchy, right now, so letting it warm a little made the snow lovely and soft to play with.
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What to add to a snow sensory bin:
In the past we’ve turned our snow bin into an ice cream shop or or a wintery small world for the Polly Pockets. Today I decided our snow bin would be a construction zone. I added an assortment of Little People and their road signs and construction workers. I also grabbed a few other construction vehicles from our car bucket.
To keep your play area dry:
To protect the floor from spills, I spread out a large quilt as well as a couple of folded towels. These extended well beyond the bin so the kids could set their snowy toys on them while playing. A vinyl table cloth would also do the trick, either on its own, or under the blanket as an extra layer of protection.
This activity was a huge hit with the hooligans.
We even created a snow-slide by setting our Fisher Price garage with the ramp on a stool beside the bin.
Of course, the youngest ones had to sample the snow just like they do when we’re outside.
The longer the children play with the bin, the softer the snow gets. It’s great for the children to observe how its properties change. They would never see it happen this quickly when we’re playing outside.
It becomes softer and then heavier and wetter, and eventually things turn quite slushy, but the kids don’t lose interest in the bin. I set up the activity this morning, and they continued to play right through to the end of the afternoon. throughout the afternoon.
When I finally dumped it outside at home-time, it resembled a slushy swimming pool. A snow activity bin is always a great way to entertain kids when you can’t get outside. Not bad. A full day of play for the “price” of a bucket of snow!
For a few more creative ways to play with snow be sure to check out:
Colouring Snow with Liquid Watercolours (indoors)
Painting the Snow with Tempra Paints (outdoors)
and our magnificent Coloured Ice Sculptures in the Snow
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.