Winter storms getting you down (and giving your kids the “crazies”?) Here are some great ways to stay entertained indoors – and outdoors – when the snow starts to fall:
Embrace the Snow!
When the snow starts to fall, you may not necessarily need to stay indoors! As long as it’s safe (and not TOO cold outside), bundle the kids up for some snow and ice sensory fun.
1. Create a Snow & Ice Sensory Bin. Sensory bins are a great way to help focus and calm children, and let them truly explore their senses. To create your bin, go outside and gather snow into large plastic, see-through tubs. Fill the bins halfway with fresh snow, and add some scooping, measuring and pouring tools (raid those kitchen drawers!) Then, add some of your children’s favorite plastic action figures and animals and pretend you’re on a frozen exhibition! Just remember to keep extra gloves around: little hands can get cold easily when playing in the snow!
For more information on how to create an ice and snow sensory bin, click here.
2. Use Summer Toys for Winter Play! Another way to embrace snow is by taking your favorite beach or pool toys out into the snow! Have a sand cupcake or ice cream set? Substitute the sand with some snow and open up a “Sweet Snow Shop”!
Other outside toys that can be used for snow play? Here are a few:
– Your sand bucket and shovel (Dig around to see what’s hidden underneath the freshly fallen snow! Gather snow to create a large “mountain” to jump in!)
– Grab a pair of binoculars and check out how neat the snow looks on the trees or other homes in your neighborhood. Ask your child to describe what’s different about their surroundings.
– Play “Snow Kickball”! Running in the snow can be a challenge, but lead to lots of laughs! Grab a ball and start to kick, or throw it, around the yard! Try not to giggle when everyone starts to tumble in the fresh, soft snow!
Stay Warm Indoors!
3. Pretend Snow Sensory Fun
No snow by you? Too cold to go outside? Try this texturally interesting sensory “snow” bin to stay warm while bringing the excitement of snow play inside! Simply pour mashed potato flakes or dry oatmeal onto a baking pan or cookie sheet! Now that you have “snow,” add blocks as buildings (Woah – the town is blanketed in snow!), a few vehicles, and some people. To simulate snow falling pour some “snow” through a sifter!
4. Color a winter scene! Gather up your arts and crafts supplies (the more the merrier) and set-up a “creative station”. Using coloring sheets like the ones below, ask your child to decorate a winter scene! For more winter-themed printables, click here.
5. Make some sweet “Hot Chocolate”
While you’re warming up some real hot chocolate for the kids, have them create a sweet treat of their own using this Hot Chocolate sensory craft! All you need is this printable, Hot Chocolate Mix, some glue, cotton balls and child-safe scissors! Let you child “top” the hot chocolate using the pretend marshmallows, and prepare to gobble up some “real” ones, too!
Get instructions for the hot chocolate printable here.