We’ve been having a spectacular Winter around here, full of exploration, observation, and SNOW! While most of our learning has taken place outside, we’ve worked on a few winter projects and activities indoors as well. Here’s all the fun we’ve been having in this beautiful season.
We have several books in our collection perfect for a winter theme we’ve been enjoying. We’ve read several pages from the Winter section of Nicola Davies’ Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature. I’ve written about this book before, but I don’t think I could ever say enough about how beautiful this book is illustrated. We’ve used it for several topics and themes now and it’s one of our favorites to keep on our coffee table in the living room. Secrets of Winter: A Shine-A-Light Book by Carron Brown has been a favorite of ours for a few years now. In addition to it’s factual information about winter and animals seen (and not seen) during the winter months, this book becomes interactive for little ones as they have to use a flashlight to reveal the hidden images on each page. Grace LOVES this book. We have several Shine-A-Light books, and this one is by far our favorite. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats was a perfect title to read with our recent bout of winter weather. The book follows a little boy during a snow day and chronicles all the things he does in the snow. Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner was gifted to us a while back and is such a cute story for little ones. It’s a fantastical tale about why snowmen may look different the day after they’ve been made, and such a fun read aloud. Lastly, we started reading The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh. While not a picture book, this title was perfect for one of our first forays into chapter books. Sometimes I would read this book aloud while Grace was playing, other times while enjoying tea time together, and sometimes before bed.
We also enjoyed a few YouTube videos for our Winter theme. Super Simple Song’s I’m a Little Snowman is always a hit. We also enjoyed watching The Treetop Family’s First Snow episode by Super Simple as well. We watched a few sceince videos made for kids including: Snowflakes by Binocs, Where do Icicles Come From by SciShow Kids, and Wild Kratts’ Exploring the American Wildlife in the Winter. You can view these videos in our Winter YouTube playlist by clicking on the photo above.
We were fortunate enough to experience some winter precipitation during our winter theme. Grace woke up to a good amount of snow with sleet mixed in one morning, making for the perfect sledding conditions. In addition to sledding all day long, Grace loved simply sitting in the snow and eating handfuls at a time.
Of course, I set out a bowl to collect some snow to make a big bowl of snow cream. I’m not sure if it was the sleet mixed in, but this was the absolute best batch of snow cream I’ve ever made. It actually had the texture of ice cream. While there’s several different versions of this snowy treat, I’ve always made snow cream by adding milk, sugar, and vanilla until it tastes just right. It was the perfect midday treat after a lunch break before bundling back up for more snow fun!
We went for a nice walk on one of our snow days back behind our home to look for animal tracks. Once Grace caught on to what we were looking for, she was finding tracks faster than her Daddy and I could spot them. We were able to identify deer tracks, fox tracks, rabbit tracks, racoon tracks, and a neighborhood feline’s tracks in the snow. And thanks to Grace’s Daddy, I didn’t have to bring along any books to help us identify those tracks. Every subsequent adventure in the snow has so far required a walk around for Grace to look for more animal tracks, and she’s pretty good at spotting them!
Grace made a snowstorm in a jar for fun winter science experiment one evening. This activity was super simple and Grace loved watching the “snowstorm” in the jar from the chemical reaction. The only supplies needed for this activity were a glass jar, white paint, water, baby oil, iridescent glitter (optional), and an Alka-Seltzer tablet. We found the instructions for this activity via One Little Project at a Time. This little experiment became a great opportunity to explain why the water & paint stays at the bottom while the oil sits on top, and the chemical reaction that occurs when the Alka-Seltzer hit the liquid.
Our little experiment worked perfectly, and Grace loved watching the snow dance around in the jar after dropping Alka-Seltzer pieces into the jar one after the other. What made this experiment even more magical though, was Grace waking up the next morning to see more snow had arrived! This might have to be a snow day eve tradition.
Grace discovered icicles for the first time, and LOVED eating them just like popsicles. She of course had ALL the questions. We talked about how icicles are formed and watched a short YouTube video from SciShow Kids about icicles as well. Icicles weren’t initially a part of my plans for this winter theme, but I truly do love adjusting plans and adding in topics that Grace is curious about. That’s the beauty of learning at home. Things don’t always work out as planned, and natural curiosities spur some of the best learning opportunities. When little ones are are genuinely interested in what they are learning about, they tend to retain that information better too.
Grace and I had a blast making coffee filter snowflakes together. These guys are so easy to make and are absolutely beautiful! All that’s needed for this winter craft are coffee filters, markers, water, a pipette/spoon, a cookie sheet, and scissors. First, we colored the coffee filters with markers. We colored our filters on a cookie sheet so the markers wouldn’t bleed through onto our surface. We choose just a few colors to work with but any colors will do. What is actually colored onto the filters doesn’t matter, as once water is added the colors will run together. Adding more color equals more vibrant snowflakes, and less color equals more of a pastel effect. After coloring the filters, it was time to drop water on them either via a pipette or spoon. Grace used a pipette to drop water over each of our colored coffee filters on a cookie sheet, so I could easily drain off the excess water into our sink. After adding water, the color starts to run, making beautiful watercolor-like designs . After clearing off excess water, you can either leave them to dry overnight or pop them in the oven on the lowest temp to dry for a few minutes. We choose to speed up the process and dried ours in the oven. It literally only took 5-7 minutes for each one to dry this way. Just make sure you stay with them and keep check so they don’t start to burn.
Once the coffee filters were dry, it was time to fold them and cut them into snowflakes! I’ve photographed the folding process above for reference. Once the coffee filters were folded up, I began cutting different shapes (triangles, half circles, half heart, etc.) on the sides, tops, and bottoms. We even scalloped a few of our tops. If the point is cut off, there will be a hole in the middle of the snowflake. I cut a triangle into one of our points and it made a super cute star pattern in the center of that snowflake. Once I made all the cuts on one snowflake, I slowly folded each one back open, being careful not to rip the coffee filter.
We were so pleased with how these snowflakes turned out. They are not only gorgeous, but so easy and fun to make. I do believe we will be making these beauties for many more winters to come!
We chose to display our snowflakes in the dining room along a strand of garland. These snowflakes would also make a super cute winter mobile when attached with thread to a branch or something similar, especially hanging in front of a window for light to filter through. Just be mindful when threading as these snowflakes are quite delicate.
Grace worked on those pre-writing skills and upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet with a tray of snow dough and tactile alphabet flash cards. We made a batch of snow dough back in the summer during a mini weather unit. This 2 ingredient dough is easy to make, feels cool to the touch, and is even great for making mini snowmen. Simply combine one 10oz bottle of white hair conditioner (any brand) with 64oz of baking soda. Seriously, that’s it! It keeps pretty well too. I just had to break up some clumping to reuse the same batch for this activity.
I placed 3 letters at a time above a snow dough filled cookie sheet for Grace to view, and she traced each letter in the snow. Grace really enjoyed this activity. I had initially just planned for her to write only uppercase letters, but after finishing the alphabet she wanted to do the lowercase letters as well. After tracing her upper and lowercase letters, Grace enjoyed making her own snow creations in the snow dough. Just prepare for a bit of a mess when playing with snow dough. It’s easy to clean up, but little hands will have “snow” much fun it’s bound to get everywhere.
Our next winter themed activity involved number recognition and some counting practice: Snowball Painting. Using a white pom pom as a snowball clipped to a clothespin and some white paint, Grace stamped the number of snowballs for each number I had wrote on a piece of card stock. Simple right?!
This activity was super cute. The only thing I would do different next time, would be splitting it onto 2 sheets of paper. By the time Grace got to numbers 6-10, there wasn’t as much room for her to stamp and those snowballs started running into other numbers making it more difficult for Grace to keep track of counting. Overall, Grace loved this simple little math activity, and we plan to do more pom pom painting activities in the future.
We’ve had so much fun exploring and observing the magic of winter this year. And this season is not over yet! Grace has exclaimed Winter is her favorite season, and I’d have to agree it’s my favorite too. Here’s wishing for a few more snow days before this season comes to an end. ❄️