Now that we're in the throws of winter (and most of the holiday gifts have been played with over the past few weeks), it's time to introduce some new ideas to beat the winter doldrums.
Join us as we explore some wonderful winter fun!
Every day for the coming month, a new blog will share a fun winter activity, craft or recipe for families (see the list at the bottom of this post).
Whether you have snow or not, kids can enjoy some fun winter activities that are easily paired with a good read (add in some hot cocoa and it makes a cold day just a little warmer)!
The Lemon Sisters by Andrea Cheng
A nice story about an older woman who recalls playing in the snow with her sisters when she sees her three young neighbors outside one day. The woman is surprised by her sisters for her birthday and all six enjoy some fun in the snow.
ACTIVITY: After reading the story, head outside to make snow chairs for everyone. Then grab some clean snow, or use crushed ice from the freezer, to make some lemon ice!
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Peter puts on his snowsuit and heads outside for some fun in the snow. Follow along on his chilly adventure -- an award-winning favorite!
ACTIVITY: Head outside and find out what you can use to make tracks, trails or other designs in the snow. Try your boots and a stick like Peter; you can also try a sled, soccer ball or other toy to see what prints you can make.
Snow is my Favorite and my best by Lauren Child
Lola can't wait for it to snow - and when it does, she and Charlie head outside for some sledding and snow fun! But all too soon, the snow melts and Lola wishes they could have snow everyday. Fun facts about Antarctic too!
ACTIVITY: Make snow angels and a snow dog like Lola & Lotta, along with a mini-snowman that you can keep in your freezer. And of course, have hot cocoa when you head inside!
Red Sled by Lita Judge
A host of woodland creatures borrow a boy's red sled one night, and off they go for some winter fun! This is a beautifully illustrated picture book with hardly any words, so ask the kids to narrate as you read the story.
ACTIVITY: Go sledding!! Which animal are you most like when you go sledding - the moose, bear, raccoon, porcupine? And what noises does your sled make as you go 'swooshing' down the hill?
Nature in Winter
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
A beautiful book that takes the reader on a trip through nature, both above and below the ground. Kids will learn about how different animals cope during winter.
ACTIVITY: Do some observations in your backyard to see what animals do during winter. You can draw a picture of animals that you see along with what they are doing. Also, make a list of the animals you see in your yard in the spring & summer. Can you find them in the story - what do they do in winter?
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
A young girl and her father take a quiet walk one winter evening, hoping they will hear and see an owl. A classic story that shares a special connection between a parent and child.
ACTIVITY: Talk a nighttime walk on a winter's eve and listen - what do you hear as you walk? And don't forget to look up at the sky too!
No Two Alike by Keith Baker
Follow along with two birds as they explore the winter landscape. This sweet story highlights the uniqueness of nature in winter - it's not just snowflakes that aren't alike! My favorite part -- the bird who skis on pinecone needles!
ACTIVITY: After some time outside, color or paint a winter scene. How do you draw snowflakes, tree brances and animals? Are the ones you make ever alike? Talk to your child about how so many items in nature have differences even if they are so slight that we may not be able to see them until we're up close.
Hats, Gloves and Hot Cocoa with Love by Gretchen Archembault
A wonderful read that includes a family recipe for hot cocoa. Kids will enjoy the rhyming text, I-spy activities and the introduction of spanish words woven throughout.
ACTIVITY: Make hot cocoa together and learn a few Spanish words.
Sugar Snow (My First Little House Books) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This picture books series of the classic Little House on the Prairie novels is a wonderful introduction to how winter use to be for many of our ancestors. In this story, Pa talks to the girls about making maple syrup and sugar snow. Most kids don't realize that you need a good, cold winter in order for the trees to create sap for syrup. Wonderful questions always arise when reading historical fiction.
ACTIVITY: Try making your own sugar snow (if you have snow) or enjoy some pancakes with maple syrup along with the book!
The Twelve Days of Winter: A School Counting Book by Deborah Lee Rose
A hilarious look at a teacher who's trying so hard to keep the kids busy and engaged on a long winter day. I laugh everytime I read this story. Kids will love searching through the pictures at the various antics of the children, and the text is written to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas" so the rhythm of the story is very familiar.
ACTIVITY: Lots of ideas for indoor fun: build a blanket fort/hibernation zone under the table, snip paper snowflakes or make a sock snowman.
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Kitchen Counter Chronicles - Caution! Twins at Play - Enchanted Homeschooling Mom -
Blog Me Mom - Mama Miss - Living Montessori Now - Ingles 360 - Glittering Muffins -
The Pleasantest Thing - Here Come the Girls - 3 Dinosaurs - Train Up a Child - Little Artists -
The Chirping Moms - My Nearest and Dearest