Activities for toddlers and babies
Use white feathers to represent snowflakes that can be admired indoors. Attach each feather to the end of a long piece of clear thread and hang them from the ceiling. Gently blow on the feathers to create a soft movement that children will love to admire.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
With parents' permission, add a little hot chocolate to each toddler's milk bottle or cup. Simply serve warm milk to younger children. After a cold outing, children will appreciate their lukewarm drink. If you prefer, serve chocolate milk in tiny cups, just for fun.
Light at the end of the day
During winter months, it is often dark and dreary outside by the end of the day. Fill a large container with luminous objects that can safely be manipulated by little hands such as toys that light up, flashlights, toys that can be used to project light on walls, etc. As you wait for parents to arrive, dim the lights in your daycare and let children explore the contents of your bin.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)
Fill plastic containers with water and set them outside or in the freezer until the water turns to ice. Remove the blocks of ice from the containers and encourage toddlers to manipulate them with their fingers (supervision required). After a while, have children wear their mittens to avoid frostbitten fingers. Help children realize that ice is very cold. Remove any smaller ice pieces promptly for safety reasons.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Gather larger plastic toys and bring them outside. For example, children will enjoy playing with plastic animals in the snow. Form large snowballs and hide a different toy inside each one. Allow babies and toddlers to manipulate the snowballs so they can discover the hidden items.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Snow-covered pine tree
Cut a large triangle out of green cardboard to represent a pine tree. Display it on a wall. With supervision, let toddlers glue cotton balls on the pine tree to represent snow.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Summer in the middle of winter
For a break from the monotony of winter, organize a summer-themed day. Invite parents to send summer clothing items, their child's sunhat, and his/her sunglasses. Serve Popsicles and ice cream as snacks.
During winter months, birds need a little help to survive. Hang a birdfeeder in your yard. Enjoy filling it with your group and observing the birds when they visit. If you wish, make unique birdfeeders out of empty milk cartons with babies and toddlers. Caution: Keep birdseed away from little hands (allergies).
All the same
Purchase the same clothing item for each child in your group. For example, purchase the same hat for each child at the dollar store. Encourage children to wear their hat on their head. Help them notice that they are all wearing the same hat. Name the color of the hats as well as any designs or special characteristics.
Winter clothing match (variation)
At the dollar store, purchase pairs of identical hats, mittens, and scarves. Set them on the floor, in front of your group. Have fun finding matching items. Children will also enjoy wearing them, just for fun.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Print pictures and illustrations representing winter sports and activities such as skating, sledding, hockey, skiing, etc. Look at the pictures and illustrations with the children in your group and name the different sports and activities. Invite toddlers to pretend they are taking part in the different activities by acting them out.
You will need two identical tissue boxes for each child. Help older toddlers slide them over their feet to represent snowshoes. With your help, let them try to walk with these improvised snowshoes.
Collect several winter-themed animal pictures: a bird on a snowy branch, a cat walking in the snow, a dog pulling a sled, etc. Laminate the pictures and use them to create a picture book. You may also add a polar bear playing in the snow, a penguin sliding into the icy sea, etc. Older children will appreciate having more pictures to observe. Admire the pictures with your group and comment each one.
Early childhood educator