Grand Play – The Children’s Museum of Denver
Winter brings us shorter days, slippery sidewalks and the drudgery of scraping our frost-bitten windshields. What makes it all worthwhile? SNOW! And especially, the combination of children and snow. There is nothing so magical as seeing your little one jump, tumble and frolic in the piles of powdery white stuff – their joy is enough to warm your heart (even if your toes are still a bit chilly!)
Here are a few creative, easy ideas for making the most of snowy days with the little ones in your life, from the early childhood play experts at the Children’s Museum of Denver.
Indoor Winter Wonderland
Grab an empty plastic storage bin or tub and venture outside just long enough to scoop it full of clean snow.
Back inside, collect an assortment of tools – plastic measuring cups, cookie cutters and small sand shovels are great for shaping and scooping snow. Silicone muffin cups and small bowls make for lovely snow cupcakes, or can be used to shape miniature castle walls.
Toy vehicles also make great snow play accessories. With your little one, go on a hunt around the house to collect all the plastic or sturdy metal cars, trucks and construction vehicles. Bring them back to your snow-filled bin and go off-roading, making tracks with their wheels, and sculpting hills for them to climb and roll down.
This colorful activity is best outdoors, where the snow-covered ground becomes an artistic canvas! First, prep your pigments by filling small spray bottles, squirt guns, or squeeze bottles with warm water. Add a few drops of food coloring (you can also use vibrantly colored drink-mix powder, like Kool-aid or Crystal Light, if you have it on hand instead).
Outdoors, help your little one squirt, squeeze or spray the colorful water onto clean, white snow, and watch the art take shape!
Fun for older kids: a snow ball challenge. Use a squeeze bottle filled with colored water to outline a large circle in the snow, with a smaller circle inside. This becomes the target. Several paces back from the edge of the outer circle, use the colored water to draw a straight line in the snow for kids to stand behind. From behind the line, make snowballs and toss them toward the target, aiming for a bullseye!
The beauty of this activity is in its simplicity, and the fact that you can play it again and again (and again and again!) It also promotes turn-taking and spatial reasoning.
Use a stick to draw a large tic-tac-toe grid in the snow. With your little one, collect some twigs (they’ll become the x’s) and some pinecones or snowballs (they’ll be the o’s). Let the games begin!