It is that time of year again. That time of year where we dream of warmer weather, flowers growing, kids running and playing outside, campfires, hot days by the pool, s'mores, lawn games, vacations...I could go on! However, currently it's Winter. That time of year where most of us are stuck inside avoiding the frigid temperatures and only wishing we could step outside without 4 layers on. We watch the sun go down at 5:15 and have a countdown on the calendar until Spring/Summer....How's a mom to survive the Winter?
For the past 8 years I have been involved in different avenues of childcare. I worked from the world of daycare to being an assistant teacher in a public school. During my time in these places I was able to create a lot of fun lesson plans for my kids. There were countless Pennsylvania winter storms that kept me inside with 8 school age boys, who just wanted to go outside and play, many afternoons with my little babies where I couldn't come to terms with reading another Dr. Seuss book, to the headaches of hearing preschoolers stealing toy trucks from one another...I had to do something! So today I'm digging down deep into my lesson plans to hopefully help you brave another winter day with your kiddos. These are just some fun activities and crafts that I found to be fun with the kids I worked with and a few I've gotten to do with my daughter. Some cost not a single penny, while a few may require a small trip to the dollar store, it really depends on what you have on hand.
Each age will have an activity and a craft! So here we go!
Infant (0-12 months)
Sensory tables/ bags are the best for little ones to explore different objects. What I love about this project is that it's no mess and I don't have to worry about Eleanor (6 months) putting stuff in her mouth. You can use what the website says in your bag or use whatever you have at home. Personally I am going to use hair gel, marshmallows, glitter and some sprinkles! Use whatever you have, you don't necessarily have to go out and buy things!
Getting babies to do crafts can be a bit challenging but it doesn't mean it can't be fun. I love doing little crafts like this with Eleanor because it shows her growth. Doing footprints is a lot easier than handprint activities with ones this little because it's easier to control little feet with paint better than little hands with paint. This project is simple and all you need is construction paper and paint. It's always fun to paint their feet and get a little giggle out of them too.
A little tip: When painting baby's feet make sure to have a book nearby to place the paper on. it makes it a little easier by having a hard surface behind the paper when getting their footprint. Oh, be sure to have some wipes or soapy water nearby to quickly wipe their feet and avoid white paint from getting everywhere!
Toddler (12 months-2)
This activity allows your toddler to help make and create with their hands. They can help you measure out the ingredients and place them in the bowl. To make the play dough you only need three ingredients which is pretty great! ( one of them is essential oils; I'm no pro in this area but you should definitely talk to Alicia about getting some doTERRA peppermint for this project ;) )
This is a cute project to do with your little ones. An adult will have to do the cutting but it is fun to see the kiddos put together a cute little penguin. Of course most penguins won't look like the image above but that's the fun of letting them place the pieces of paper where they want. It creates a unique penguin they made on their own.
This is a great set of worksheets for preschoolers learning their letters, working on tracing and using scissors. They can also have fun by coloring the sheets and they can work on learning their phone number. Best of all it's FREE! All you have to do is print it out.
This craft was always a hit with my kids. It is great because it allows the kids to work on fine motor skills while having a fun time. It can get a little messy, but it's worth it in the end.
FOR EVEN MORE FUN: Make the snowman with Cool Whip or Shaving Cream! All you have to do is get yourself a container of cool whip or shaving cream and add some Elmer's glue. It creates a fun puffy consistency.
School Age (6-12)
This is a great activity that uses imagination and creativity. It allows children to work on writing skills or if they can't write have them draw a picture and tell you their story and of course the printable is FREE, which is awesome.
You don't need snow for a snowball fight! Grab some extra paper you have around the house, and crumble it up to make some snowballs. Place your "snowballs" in a basket. Create boundaries with a halfway mark. Get two teams together (e.g. brother vs. sister, mom vs. kids, Dad vs. everyone etc...) and start throwing those snowballs. Make sure you set a timer, once it goes off everyone stops and they count their snowballs on their side. Whoever has the least amount wins! It's a fun way to burn some energy inside and have fun with the whole family!
I hope some of these activities sparked your interest or gave you ideas to go out and look for more on your own! Creating and learning together with your kids is some of the best fun you can have!
Sincerely, Sarah :)