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Well, winter has finally arrived here in Ohio with 8 to 12 inches of snow and blizzard-like conditions predicted this weekend. My 3-year-old couldn't be more excited! This is the first year he is old enough to go out and sled with his older siblings. He received a new sled on Christmas day and has been asking to use it every single day. He finally got his chance this week.
On a side note: This is our lovely driveway in January. It never fails: Rachel and her humongous 12-passenger van get stuck and my husband has to plow her out at least once a year.
Look at that face. Can you remember the last time you were that excited about something?
This little guy's love for all things snow (and the fact that I am constantly trying to find ways to keep this firecracker busy during school time) is what inspired me to create some fun winter-themed learning activities for him. Speaking of keeping toddlers happy and busy.......
>>>Check out our Preschool Board on Pinterest for more great ideas!<<<
1. Arctic Sensory Bin
This was so amazingly simple! It took me less than 10 minutes to assemble. The base of the bin is Epsom salt, which I think looks so much like snow. I love how it sparkles.
We happened to have an old Arctic Playmobil set that I used for my polar bear family and penguins. I try to create my sensory bins with toys and crafts I have on hand as much as possible. If you don't have arctic animals on hand, Amazon has this set (free shipping!).
We included these arctic books in our fun:
By the way, if you've never read the delightful book Tacky the Penguin to your kiddos, please do! You will fall in love with this adorable "misfit" and his tacky ways. My kids and I can quote this book to each other we've read it so many times. And speaking of Tacky the Penguin, check out this ADORABLE Tacky the Penguin sensory bin from Stir the Wonder.
Here's another great idea for an Arctic Animal sensory bin from The Teaching Mama. I thought her idea of using ice, snow and cold water was such a great idea for sensory input and for creating more realistic play.
2. "Snow Dough" Indoor Snow Man
For this winter fun activity, I used a play dough recipe from Buggy and Buddy called Snow Dough. Her recipe uses a baking soda base which results in a dough that can be shaped and molded, but also feels crumbly like snow. (Pretty cool!)
I gathered a bowl of items that the kids could use to decorate a snowman (buttons, piper cleaners, scrap of flannel for scarf) and created a snowman building tray activity. You can see in the photo below how the dough can be crumbled to look like snow. Again, this activity took me less than 15 minutes to assemble.
This kids loves any opportunity to get his picture taken.
You can visit Buggy and Buddy's site to get her Snow Dough recipe by clicking on the image below. (She has several other great winter/polar activities you will want to check out as well!)
We also included these books in our snowman building fun.
3. Snow Sensory Play
After the snowstorm last weekend, we've had about a week of frigid temperatures with windchill below zero at times. There were several days it was too cold for Hudson to go outside in the snow, so I had the idea to bring the snow to him! I filled a small tote with clean, white snow (emphasis on clean, since we all know he's going to eat much of it!!).
If you don't live in a cold climate, you can still make a "snow" sensory bin by using a combination of crushed ice, ice cubes and cold water, similar to the arctic animals bin by Teaching Mama.
Then I gave him toys that I keep on hand for sensory play. Some of the sensory tools Hudson enjoys include: squishy funnel, small colander, mini rubber spoon, twisty dropper, tweezers, and silicone measuring cup with spout. Sensory toys can be expensive, so it's best to find items at the Dollar Store or kitchen department at Walmart if you'd like to start your own collection. There is one sensory tool set, though, I highly recommend investing in: The Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set from Learning Resources
You can see Hudson's twisty dropper in the above picture. These tools are perfect for building fine motor skills and strengthening little hands for writing. They can be used in a hundred or more ways!
Recently we used his tweezers with hisI Spy sensory bin.
4. Winter Fun Math Worksheets
And finally we have these FREE winter fun math worksheets for toddlers.
These worksheets are a FREE instant download. You can download by clicking on the image below.
I hope you've been inspired today to make the most of these long, cold winter days. After all, when you're a toddler, there is fun learning and adventure waiting everyday!
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