Brrr Lo Di O doh!
Another freezing morning in Napa! Can’t go outside?
As adults we may be thinking cozy up by the fire or read a good book with a blanket and tea, but how will we get our children to sit still inside for hours!? Although they would like those and many indoor activities with you, it just won’t usually be for hours!
Send them outside for lots of science fun and creativity!
First, let me remind all that children do not get sick from going outside in the cold.
It is virus germs and bugs that breed so nicely in a warm indoor environment that gets us ill! Children do need to dress appropriately so as not to have to fight off a chill, but again, this is not where the illness comes from. There is not bad weather, just inappropriate clothing and there isn’t a better place to explore than outside in nature! I’ve read great reviews of some schools that are held entirely outdoors, even one of our own California Council of Coop nursery schools is held entirely outdoors in Southern California.
So bundle up and go out to play!
During a recent class, one working daddy was telling me great stories of some of his own winter memories as a child. He lived on a farm and even on frozen mornings, there were chores to be done and animals that needed feeding. This daddy recalled many mornings anxious to get out into the yard just to check/break/and play with all of the frozen feeding troughs! Oh the senses and sounds on a cold quiet morning!
Our winter temperatures recently have made for some great play in our school backyard and there are so many simple ideas for outdoor winter fun at your home too.
One of our classes discussed some of their ice ideas for class:
“We could wear socks if we didn’t have gloves.”
We could play “ice bowling if we froze water in a balloon for a ball and water in coffee cups for bowling pins”……although this child’s idea does not understand all facts of the ice as of yet, his ‘creativity is flowing’ and he’s not far off!
We HAVE frozen a nice round tub of water to be a ‘hockey puck’ and we played ice hokey with small brooms and rakes.
Recently, we placed many, many, shallow pie pans of water in the yard for morning exploring. We froze the water in the birdbath and froze small cups of colored water as well. In the morning, many science minds were turning as the children poked, cracked ice, and lifted ice in small sheets like thin glass. Many were enjoying the sound of ‘breaking glass’ as they threw their ice sheets. Some children floated items on top of small ‘icebergs’ in the water play tables. And of course as sensory learners, licking of the ice was also a part. (You may wish to freeze juice or clean cups of water for this, we didn’t. ) Some of the children played till their fingers “burned or stung” as they said, and it was a great way to talk about freeze burns and not just heat burns. (We also provided warm water play and warm melting tray experiences inside for the children to warm their hands when done playing.) At home, just send them into the bath or be ready for soup or warm cider for breakfast!
At home, with just a small amount of prep, you too could send your children out to play and explore. Here’s a few ideas:
Ice Hockey or ice bowling (be creative for things to knock over with your ice or goal posts)
Fill many small containers with shallow water
Fill ice cube trays with water or juice
Fill containers and ‘freeze’ some of your childs small toys inside for ‘cracking out’
Let your children use there hands or an ice scraper on your car to draw on the windows (you were just planning on rinsing off later anyway)
OR make frost on a coffee can and scratch away! (Experiment to follow)
Look at frost and ice with a magnifying glass
Build with ice cubes and ice blocks outside in the morning. (use with salt too to assist building with the pitted melting ice)
Color or ‘paint’ the ice! Watercolors work very well!
Take a walk across your frozen lawn and follow ‘footsteps’. Better yet, go to the neighboring park lawn!
Beyond ice and frost:
Take a walk outside and see your breathe’ in the early morning! … A new bit of science and power of our heat!
Also, due to bare trees, while taking a walk, look for nests in bare trees. Nests, ready for the return and usually so usually elusive due to leaf, now visible!
I know, Napa is not the ‘big winter picture’ like some states, but short of going to Tahoe for the weekend, I’m sure your children will help you with many more icy cold ideas for good winter fun….outside!
Rain?! OH my, that’s another science adventure!
Bundle up and have fun!
Can Frost is an easy science project that teaches kids about condensation. Frost forms because of a change in temperature.
What You’ll Need:
Small metal can
Learn about Can Frost
Fill a small metal can 1/4 of the way with water.
Stir 4 tablespoons of salt into the water.
Add enough crushed ice to fill the cup, and stir the solution.
Observe what happens on the outside of the can.