Happy 🎊 New Year and happy ❄️ January! I hope you had a wonderful 🎄Holiday Season full of family fun, cheer and crafty glitter all over (not to mention the ton of wrapping paper)! And to avoid the post-Christmas blues, we will be happily crafting, exploring, and learning hands-on during 🌬the cold winter months! I do hope you will follow along as I will be adding winter-related fun STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) educational activities which will keep you and your little one busy and excited (I hope)!
Name Recognition with Marshmallows
Here is a winter-inspired sensory bin filled with white rice, silver balls, and mini marshmallows. After having satisfied the sensory aspect of this invitation, I offered Adrian to spell his name with marshmallows. This is a very hands-on way to learn letter formation as well as the proper spelling of the child's name. We are using a traditional Montessori Movable Alphabet (you can also use it with this mat) as a reference. Lastly, I added our DIY magnetic letters to the rice sensory bin and offered a DIY magnetic wand to "fish" out the letters. (To make the DIY wooden circles letters, prime circles with clear nail polish and write vowel in blue and consonant in red with a Sharpie. To make a DIY "fishing rod" we used a straw and a pipe cleaner and we glued a small magnet to the end. Tape paper clips to your wooden letters and offer your child to fish the letters out!) I made these letters and a magnetic wand for 🎄Christmas Magnetic ABC Fishing Activity. Also, see a similar activity here ❤️💚Christmas Magnetic DIY 🌀Water Beads Sensory Bin.
Taste Safe❄️Winter 🌲Forest 🚂 Train Tracks🐿Sensory Bin
Sensory play is extremely important to children as it supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction. And this tray is very easy to set up with materials you already have at home! We wanted to create a winter scene, so as "snow" I am using Epsom salt (it is more coarse and is generally used for baths) and to make a frozen pond, I am using blue sugar crystals sprinkles. Adrian collected the train tracks (he had to figure out how many would make a circle) and he chose battery operated Action train to run on them. He also collected forest animals and some pond inhabitants we would meet during our nature walks. We discussed what animals hibernate in the winter, how some adapt and which ones migrate. Actually, Canadian geese migrate to North America, so that is why you see a duck and a goose on a frozen lake. As your child learns through play, s/he triggers multiple neurons when tactile, visual and language stimuli are sparked off!
• ❄️Winter Wonderland 💎Crystals SENSORY Bin•
It is small world play time and here, I am reusing taste safe filler I used for the train set up above, but this time adding a child-sized mini colander and a stainless steel flour sifter. (Since baking bread is not on a menu, at least Adrian can practice sieving salt, separating it from blue crystals.) A tip: use what you have: e.g. white sugar, baking soda, flour ... I am using a large round metal tray (buy 16" here or buy white here) filled with coarse salt (to resemble snow) and blue sugar crystals cake sprinkles. I also punched out a few snowflakes out of foam glitter paper for some extra sparkle. Offer your child spoons, scoops, jugs, transferring cups, along with a colander and a sifter to mine those 💎 gems! Please, always supervise your child while they are exploring through play. Despite the fact that the materials are taste safe, they are no edible. Although, scooping, transferring and sieving is suggested for children 2-4 +years old who have developed fine motor skill efficiency, your baby will enjoy the texture of salt and sugar while triggering multiple sensory stimuli despite being unable to sieve the gems. Exposing children early on to sensory play in any age appropriate, child driven environment is the key to building confidence, knowledge, and mastery.
Snow ❄️ Sensory ✍🏻️Tracing Tray
I am using a coarse salt to create a winter wonderland snowy tray to encourage tracing and sensory play! We are referencing Montessori Lower case cursive sandpaper letters. Smaller children can simply enjoy the texture of coarse salt while sensorially learning through play, while older can trace letters, numbers, shapes, pictures ... possibilities are endless! Holding a pine branch can resemble holding a pencil, thus promoting proper pincer grip, however, the tracing shows very thin so Adrian prefers to use this hands instead!
Animal 🐾Tracks in ❄️Play Dough
See here Identifying Animal 🐾Tracks in ❄️"Snow" Dough.
See here Observing 🐾 Animal Tracks in Real❄️ Snow!
Right on the tracks, Adrian wrote his name using nature's objects he found in our backyard: sticks, stones, and fern.
See here 🎅🏻 North vs 🇦🇶South 🌎Pole 🌬Frozen 🙌🏻Sensorial Invitation to❄️ Explore.
See here ❄️Polar 🌎Regions Unit Study • 🎅🏻 🇦🇶Land 🌊Water 🌬Air.
See here 🌬Frozen 🌀Hydrogels Icy Arctic ❄️Snowy Sensory Bin•☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study.
See here Rainbow 🌈Colorful Skittles💧 Kids Water Science Experiment •⚗️101 🎥 Series.
See here ❄️Snow Volcano 🌋Eruption ⚗️Science Experiment For 🏡Indoors &🌨Outdoors.
See here 💫Magical 🌀Hydrogels •Kids ⚗️Science Experiment 💦 Trick 101 🎥Series.
Roll 🎲 & 🌲 Count
Roll the dice 🎲 and count 🌲 pine cones! Math can be mundane, especially for little ones, so I am trying to make counting hands-on and fun! This presentation is also a very concrete way to reinforce 🌲🌲🌲quantity to 3️⃣numeral association. And, offer a tray filled with DIY 💚🍚 rice to practice fine motor tracing skills! (To make colored rice, simply add few drops of vinegar to dried rice in a ziplock along with desired food coloring ~ shake ~ and lay flat to dry.) To make the tree, I simply cut green felt to resemble the tree's shape, and a ♻️recycled champagne cork made a perfect trunk. (If you don't have felt, use green paper instead. If you don't have green cardstock, use cardboard and color it green!)
Roll 🎲 & ❄️Add
Taking the pine cone counting up a notch with this simple math addition counting snowflakes activity. I simply lined our floor table with navy tissue paper, placed our felt cutout pine tree and punched snowflakes from recycled white scrap paper. Offer your child to roll the dice to find out the first addend, and demonstrate (3) snowflakes falling on the left. Then, roll the dice again to find out your second addend, and have (2) snowflakes fall on the right. Now add both addends together (3 + 2) and record the sum (5) in snow ~ Epsom salt tracing tray, which I also lined with same tissue paper to give it a color pop. Next, find the sum among the DIY wooden number circles (prime with clear nail polish and write numerals with a Sharpie) and place on a tree. "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"
🌲Punch-Out & ⭐️Count
This is a festive counting DIY: count, punch out and decorate your Christmas Tree math activity. All you need are paint samples from your local hardware store and a hand puncher. I am using wooden stars (primed with clear nail polish) as numerals (I used a Sharpie) but you can use paper stars or if you have a star puncher, you can punch them out. For the quantity, we are using colorful pom poms, but you can use buttons, large sequins, even small marshmallow ('snow') or grains/beans from your cupboard. The goal of this activity is numeral to quantity association (a concept very abstract for smaller ones) and promoting fine motor control (well, and gross motor while punching out). I will also use this opportunity to learn what it means to represent a number in different ways, thus beginning to explore the concept of decomposing: for example, number 5 is 5+0, 4+1, and 2+3. This is a very hands-on and visual way to promote numeracy efficiency, not to mention all the holiday fun!
This is a simple and fun fine motor math cutting activity on subtraction. Whether it is raining by you or snowing (or offer a starry night option) concretely show your child how to subtract ~ cut ~ take away a number by placing marbles or stars or cutting. As control of error: write the answers on the dot stickers.
Minuend - Subtrahend = Difference
A child would subtract the correct number by cutting and figuring out the answer by counting what is left ~ the result, which is called the difference. Also, explain the proper vocabulary: a number that is being subtracted is known as the subtrahend, while the number it is subtracted from is the minuend.
❄️Winter Favorite 📖Reading 📚Collection
See here "❄️Winter Favorite 📖Reading 📚Collection • Kids Books."
Below are 🔍 some of our favorite books from our ❄️Winter Favorite 📖Reading 📚Collection:
- The Mitten Book ~ our absolute🌨Winter🐰🐻🐭 favorite book (buy here) ~ see a📎 link to a blog post here and👇below,
- The Hat book (buy here) ~ see a📎 link to a blog post here and 👇below,
- Ice Is Nice!: All About the North and South Poles, Cat in the Hat's Learning Library (buy here),
- Winter, First Step Nonfiction (buy here),
- Winter Wonderland, Picture the Seasons (buy here) is an amazing book written by Winter with humorous text and gorgeous photography,
- The Secret Life of a Snowflake book (buy here) ~ see a📎 link to a blog post here and 👇below,
- The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice book (buy here),
- The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice (buy here).
See here The Mitten Book •❄️Winter Favorite 📖Reading 📚Collection.
See here The Hat Book •❄️ Winter Favorite 📖Reading 📚Collection.
Children also made Paper Snowflakes ~see here 📚Learning About 🌨Snowflakes •❄️Paper ✂️Craft.
Feb 2nd ~ Groundhog Day
See here Groundhog 🐿 Day ☀️️ 2017 ~ 6 More Weeks of ❄️Winter, where I linked live broadcast to Phil's prediction in 2018 as well ~ 6 More Weeks of ❄️Winter again! Hooray to ☃️ Winter! Hooray to ☃️ Winter!
Feb 27th ~ International ❄️Polar 🐻Bear Day
See here International ❄️Polar 🐻Bear Day.
Also here you will find books we read for Polar Bear Unit Study.
Stay tuned for more ☃️Winter Inspired activities ...
If you have missed our Holiday Inspired unit, see here a roundup of December activities in 🎄Christmas Inspired Unit Study.
For Valentine's activities, see here ❤️Valentine's Inspired Unit Study.
For St. Patrick's hands-on fun, see here ☘️St Patrick's Day Kids Activities.