December 20, 2018
Cold Weather Outside, Bold Learning Inside!
Easy winter weather activities for family time learning.
From freezing rain to super-chilly days, many kids don’t spend as much time outdoors during Indiana winters. But there’s still plenty of ways to use the plunging temperatures outdoors to build children’s skills and understanding — all while enjoying the coziness of being indoors.
Want to help your little learner explore science and language arts in the winter? Try these ice cube-inspired activities:
You already know that talking is teaching, especially with young infants. Add to the emergent vocabulary by talking about temperatures throughout the day.
- “Oh, this bottle is warm. When you gobble it up, I know it’s just right.”
- “Are those toes cold. Let’s put that sock back on!”
Older Babies & Young Toddlers
As you baby grows, they are still learning how to use their hands and fine-tuning their motor skills. Give them a little bit of snow or tiny pieces of ice and watch them play with them. Tell them it feels cold and that when your warm hand touches the cold, it melts. Their little hands can get cold quickly, have a rag around to warm up their hands. Mittens can also come in handy for these explorations. Make sure the ice pieces aren’t a choking hazard, in case children try to put it in their mouth. Don’t have an ice maker? Try putting cups in the freezer with a little bit of water, and they can explore the cold cups.
Make a tray of ice. Once your ice cubes are ready, place them in a bowl and let your little scientist explore what happens when the ice cube melts in a bowl of water or on a piece of paper. Ask them which ice cubes melt faster and why they think that happens. Some fun ways to extend this activity:
- Put out cups of nontoxic paint and paintbrushes (or water droppers to build their pincer grasp) and show them how to paint with the ice.
- Place some ice in a sensory bin with water and have your child scoop out the ice with ladles.
Preschool and Pre-K Learners
Older kids can understand more complex science concepts like measuring and mixing. Make a tray of ice with a little bit of food coloring and water with different colors. Have the kids sort the colors into different bowls. “What happens if you mix one red ice cube and one yellow ice cube?” Have them try different combinations, “What happens when you mix two red ice cubes and one blue ice cube?” You can also use spoons and cups to tach measuring terms. Bonus explorations to add:
- Paint with the colorful ice cubes. This can be a bit easier, and gentler on little hands, if you freeze them with tongue depressors or spoons in the middle of each cube.
Build Your Child’s Brighter Future!
Want to dive deeper into science learning with your one? Check out our science play & learning guidance for:
- Babies — Ask him where his ear is and watch him demonstrate how much he knows!
- One-year-olds — When it’s bath time, give your toddler some different-sized plastic containers. Then, watch her work her magic.
- Two-year-olds — Soft. Hard. Cold. Hot. Messy. Fast. These are just a few of the words your toddler might use to describe how things look, feel and react.
- Three-year-olds — He may pretend to “run away from his shadow” or hand you “hot rocks” from a sunlit pathway.
- Pre-K learners — Why is a noodle stiff at first, then floppy later? The little scientist in your house is asking new questions about the world around him.