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Here we are, right smack in the middle of winter, the season during which we are sure to face stormy weather now and then. I must admit that I enjoy a good winter storm if I have nowhere to go. However, storm days can make going outside with your group difficult, especially if cold weather, abundant snowfall, and high winds are involved. Why not prepare a "winter storm" theme that can be enjoyed indoors on days when bad weather makes going outside next to impossible? Here are a few suggestions that require very little preparation and may make your next storm day much more enjoyable. Pyjama Day
Wearing my pyjamas all day might just be what I like most about winter storms. You can simply call parents in the morning to ask them to bring their child to daycare in his/her pyjamas. If you prefer, inform parents at the beginning of winter that storm days=pyjama days. It's a great way to simplify their morning routine on days when their morning commute may be more complicated!
A storm in a bottleWith the children in your group, have fun creating winter storms in personalized plastic bottles. Have them fill empty plastic bottles with water, glitter, and tiny snowflake-shaped confetti. Seal the cap of each bottle with hot glue and encourage children to shake them. They will love observing their snowstorm in a bottle.
Black and white craftA storm day represents the ideal opportunity to explore a less popular arts & crafts material: black construction paper. Here are a few ideas:
Paper ball fightA paper ball fight doesn't require snow, making it the perfect activity to get children moving indoors. What's more, unlike an actual snowball fight, a paper ball fight is safe since you don't have to worry about packed snow hurting children. Encourage children to help you crumple pieces of paper from your recycling bin to form lots and lots of paper balls. Deposit the balls of paper in a large plastic bin. When you are ready, let children throw the balls of paper at each other. Once the bin is empty, simply collect the paper balls and repeat.
Indoor snow binFill several plastic bins with snow. Add shovels, buckets, and figurines. Encourage children to manipulate the snow with their hands. Mittens may be required if children play in the snow for longer periods of time.
Hot tubsFor this activity, you must be prepared for all eventualities! Bring the plastic kiddie pools you use outdoors during summer inside and fill them with warm water. Help children put their bathing suits on and invite them to relax in your hot tubs. You may have puddles of water to mop up, but children will really appreciate this activity!
Salt dough snowmenIf you can't build snowmen outside, why not make salt dough snowmen indoors? Click here for a simple salt dough recipe: http://www.educatall.com/page/268/Salt-Dough--1.html.
Use the dough to create adorable snowmen and set them out to dry. Children can paint their creations if they wish.
At the moviesGather blankets and cushions and prepare popcorn and hot chocolate. Cozy up and watch a movie! Of course, we don't usually watch television or movies at daycare, but that's precisely why this activity will feel extra special for little ones.
Melting ice blocksIn the morning, prepare several blocks of ice with your group by filling a variety of containers with water. Encourage children to insert tiny items in the containers before placing them in the freezer to set. Once the ice is hard, deposit the blocks in a large container and let children manipulate them. Have them wear their mittens. They will enjoy pressing the blocks of ice in their hands to melt them until they can retrieve the items they contain.
A storm in the windowBeware! This activity can be messy! Invite children to represent a snowstorm on a large window by pressing their hands in white poster paint and then on the glass surface. If you prefer, you may hang large pieces of black paper on a wall and help children press their paint-covered hands all over the surface to represent snow.
Enjoy your next winter storm!
Maude Dubé, Specialized educator
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