Monday, January 27, 2014

It is freezing outside! Help for cabin fever!

When school is closed and the weather is too too awful to go outside, it is often hard to keep young children busy and give you a few minutes to yourself.  Here are a few ideas that might least for a few minutes at a time. They can help make this a special time instead of a trying time and make some memories for "What we did when it was so cold they had to close all the schools".  

  1. Bring some snow in the house.  We do this at school too, we just get a shovel full of snow and put it in a plastic tub, on a large tray, or even in the kitchen sink.  You can put a large bath towel on the kitchen floor, add a plastic tub with a small amount of snow and give your child some kitchen utensils, measuring spoons, cups, etc.  Find some mittens and enjoy.  
  2. Snow science:  Bring in a bit of snow and do some experiments with it.  Put the same amount of snow in 3 or 4 cups and place them in various places and watch how long it takes it melt.  Put one near a window, one near a heater, one outside, maybe one in the refrigerator.  Have your child think of places to put them.  Set a timer (5 min), check them and record the results on paper.  Set the timer again and keep recording the results.You can also note how much water ends up in the cup vs how much snow was in there. Before you start, ask your child what they think will happen to the snow; make a prediction, then observe and record the results.  This is a very hands on way to teach some great science concepts.  
  3. More snow science;  Do a similar experiment with water, put one cup inside and one outside, see how long it takes to freeze.  Record your findings every 5 to 10 minutes. Again, have your child predict what they think will happen, then observe the results and record their answers.  
  4. Ice and Salt: Clean out an empty milk container (or any freezable container) and cut it in half.  Fill it with water and put it outside to freeze.  Bring it in and dump the ice out of the milk container into a large bowl.  Give your child an eye dropper or paint brush and a cup of salty, salty water (or salt in a shaker) and as the put it on the ice, it will melt.  You can add food color to the water too. 
  5. Rice- sensory play:  You can use rice, or beans in a tub with scoops, cups, etc for some great sensory play.  If you put a large sheet or towel down, it will contain the mess a bit. 
  6. Salt trays:  Put a layer of table salt on a small cookie sheet and let your child draw pictures or alphabet letters with their fingers in the salt.  
  7. Kitchen sink full of water:  Kids love water and one of the easiest ways (besides letting them play in the tub- maybe even in their bathing suit) is to fill the kitchen sink with soapy water and give them all kinds of plastic dishes to wash.  
  8. Cars and or balls, with  tubes or ramps:  If you have an old cardboard tube from wrapping paper, carpet rolls, or a mailing tube, it makes a fun activity for kids.  If not, make a ramp with anything flat, and lean it against the couch or a chair.  Roll cars or a balls through the tube or down the ramp.  Try various heights, and again, let your child make predictions of what will happen.  You can even measure how far each item goes and record which goes farther.  Will a lower ramp make the ball roll farther or will a higher ramp work better.  Is it better on carpet or a tile floor.  Think of different ways to try it.  
  9. Kids love forts:  Build a fort with couch cushions, or just throw a blanket over a table and kids love it.  
  10. Make home made play dough: (our recipe is on this BLOG, just search play dough).  Fresh warm play dough is the best!  If you don't have cream of tarter, it will still work, or try a different recipe. Again, use fun kitchen utensils with the play dough.
  11. Bake or cook:  Make some cookies, or some home made pizza
  12. Kids love to dress up, get out some old clothes, hats, fabric, etc.
  13. Check out this blog for a lot of the fun things we do at school that could work easily at home too.  You can search by typing in a topic or look at the labels on the side and find something that intrigues you.  
Good luck, spring is less than 2 months away!  

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