Things to Do with Children in Winter!
As the winter chill looks set to continue in the UK this week, here is a list of things to do with children in winter both indoors and out.
Things to Do with Children Inside in Winter
When it’s too cold to be outside but you need to keep little hands busy why not have a go at making snowflakes? Jane Hissey’s lovely Jolly Snow is a great starting point and it’s a book we return to again and again. Jolly the Giraffe is desperate for it to snow so his friends try to make him happy by providing a variety of snowy substitutes. Paper snowflakes are simple and satisfying (and fairly mess free :-)), although a flurry of flour, icing sugar or glitter is very exciting!
How to Make Paper Snowflakes
Really effective but simple snowflakes can be made using paper doilies. Simply fold one in half and in half again and again until you have a neat paper triangle then cut shapes out of the edges making sure you keep a bit of folded edge intact so it doesn’t all fall apart when you unfold!
How to Make Inky Winter Trees and a Paper Lantern
Once children are old enough to understand how to blow through a straw rather than just to suck everything up it you can have a go at making inky winter trees.
Drop a blob of watery ink (or watered down paint) onto a piece of non absorbent paper, give the children a straw and let them blow!
If you want trees, rather than alien blobs, encourage the children to blow a long straight line to start the trunk and then follow the ink blobs out onto branches and then to twigs.
We poked holes though our paper once it was dry, wrapped it around a glass jar and popped a tea light into the jar, they make fantastic paper lanterns to shine through the dark evenings of winter!
If they need to burn off a bit of energy and it really is too grim to get outside
- construct a giant assault course using furniture, cushions, boxes, blankets and their imaginations
- Play islands, you have to get from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor (make it harder by asking them to get from one room to another or even to get upstairs)
- Make a den
- Play pass the balloon. Start with an inflated balloon between two chests (if you are different heights, so much the better!), you have to move it from your chests to the other person’s back without using your hands. If you have several people available see if you can pass the balloon along the whole line of you without touching it with your hands!
- Play Twister!
Things to Do Outside with Children in Winter
Getting children out for a bit of fresh air whatever the weather can be a sanity saver, the Woodland Trust’s fabulous Nature Detectives website is jam packed full of ideas to keep you playing outside through the seasons. Their downloadable Winter booklet contains everything from ice art to tree faces, scavenger hunts to stick weaving as well as a very useful spotter’s guide.
Vary where you go to keep it interesting, visit the park, a woodland, the beach, a different town. Take a treasure bag with you to carry any special finds, take crayons and paper too so you can bark rub in the woodland, fossil rub on the beach or brass rub in a church. Make sure you have snacks and spare clothes so you are fed and warm and don’t forget a flask of hot chocolate!
Most of all enjoy these short winter days, make the most of the light and celebrate the dark – we’re already on the turn and spring will soon be here!
Have you got any suggestions for winter fun? What is your favourite indoor winter activity and how do you persuade children to get outside?