Winter Themed Educational & Sensory Activities
Whether you are looking for something fun to entertain your child on the weekends or over holiday breaks, these activities are bound to keep them entertained and thinking. Who knows, you may even want to join in.
What you need/optional items: activity table, pom poms, cotton balls, pipe cleaners (to create magnetic snowflakes), snowflake buttons
Set up: Cut the pipe cleaners and twist together to create snowflakes. In a bin or activity table, mix cotton balls, pom poms, snowflakes and any other items you wish to have your little one sift through with their hands and/or the magnet wand.
Activity: Use magnet wand to hover over the “snow” to find all of the snowflakes. Count how many snowflakes you find. Discuss the colors of items in the bin. Talk about the snowflakes and how the magnet wand grabbed them.
How is this educational? Child will be exposed to magnets & explore how some items are magnetic, while others are not. The child is building on their fine motor skills. The child is exposed to potentially new vocabulary such as: blue, white, silver, shiny, fuzzy, cotton balls, soft, round, sphere, magentic, small, big, large, wand & positional words such as: on, beside, over, under.
Candy Cane Pattern Painting
What you need/optional items: activity table, scissors, paper, paint brush, paints
Set up: Cut out candy cane shapes from paper. Prep area with brushes & paint. We chose water colors. For extra sensory fun, add shaving cream to the paint to create puffy paint. You could also use markers or crayons in place of paint.
Activity: Discuss candy canes, maybe even look at and taste different candy canes. Talk about the colors and patterns you see. Give each child 1 paper candy cane at a time. Model an AB pattern on the candy cane. Learn more about patterns and intruding them here.
How is this educational? The child will be exposed to patterns (i.e. AB, ABB, AAB, ABC), colors, shapes, & potentially new vocabulary such as: blue, red, white, silver, shiny, fuzzy, stripes, pattern, small, big, large, curved, hook, cane. The child is building on their fine motor skills.
What you need/optional items: muffin pan, pom poms, buttons, cotton balls, gems, & pipe cleaners
Set up: In a bin or activity table place muffin pan with sorted items such as mix cotton balls, pom poms, snowflake buttons and any other items you wish to have your little one create their snowflakes with.
Activity: Start off by showing your child the tray and items. They may want to explore and touch the items prior to creating. Next model how you can create a snowflake from the items in the pan. They may copy you, or not, either is fine. Discuss how snowflakes are symmetrical and what the word, symmetrical means. Discuss colors, shape and sizes & also use positional words.
How is this educational? The child will be exposed to positional words such as: on, over, under, beside. The child will be exposed to colors, shapes, and potentially new vocabulary such as: symmetrical, blue, silver, shiny, fuzzy, small, big, large, round, sphere, circle. The child is building on their fine motor skills.
What you need: Spatula, Medium/large bowl, 1 cup Flour, ¼ cup Salt, ½ cup Hot Water, 1 tablespoon Cooking Oil, 1 packet of Kool-Aid
Recipe: Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Some say start with the dry ingredients first, we just dump them all in a bowl & start mixing. Knead with hands to ensure it’s fully mixed. If too sticky, add a small amount of flour. Roll in a ball and place in an airtight container/baggy. Allow the play dough to cool before having children play with it, as it will be slightly sticky until cooled.
Activity: Discuss the items needed to create play dough. Talk about measuring utensils needed and which sizes are bigger/smaller. While mixing talk about what you see, feel and smell. Is it sticky, soft, hard or smooth?
How is this educational? The child will be exposed to positional words such as: in, on, under, beside. The child will be exposed to colors, shapes such as circle, and potentially new vocabulary such as: sphere, blue, white, mix, stir, sticky, soft, hard, smooth, measure, warm. The child is strengthening fine motor hand/finger muscles.
Salty Snowflake Painting
What you need: Thick Paper (construction or watercolor paper is great), Elmers Glue, Water Colors (paint), A Paint Brush
Set up: Draw snowflakes on the paper with a pen. Depending on your child’s age and ability, you can model a snowflake, then have them draw one as well. Discuss how snowflakes are symmetrical and what that means. Trace the snowflakes with glue. Then pour salt over the glue traced snowflakes. Some people let them dry a bit after, however we didn’t.
Activity: Prep your watercolors and be sure to make them pretty wet. Then dab the snowflake and watch the colors move through the salt and across the snowflake. If you didn’t let them dry before moving to this step, dab gently. If you have a younger child that struggles with that concept or they haven’t mastered the ability to control how they are pushing down, let the glue dry before starting step 3.
1. Add different colors to discuss mixing colors. ex: Dab with blue paint, then yellow and watch them mix in the middle to make green.
2. With children ages 3+ you can discuss how salt absorbs moisture. For those living in areas with snow/ice in during the year, make this concept more relatable. Discuss this is why people put salt on the road or a driveway to help melt ice during the winter.
How is this educational? The child will be exposed to positional words such as: in, on, under, beside. The child will be exposed to mixing colors, i.e. red and yellow make orange. The child will be exposed to new vocabulary such as: mix, salty, symmetrical, watery, & dab. The child is strengthening and refining fine motor hand/finger muscles. See the full blog post here.
More activities to come, have a blast!