By Julie Diamond, OCT
With many cities across Canada tightening up their COVID restrictions, and many businesses closing, winter may be challenging for families to keep kids happy at home. Rest assured, here are a few ideas that incorporate learning in fun ways both inside and outside this winter.
1. Paint snow by mixing food colouring and water in a spray bottle. Or try painting snow with a paintbrush or take it up a notch with spray paint. You can have your child practice writing their name, drawing shapes, or experimenting with mixing primary colours (red, yellow and blue) and/or secondary colours (orange, green, and violet).
2. Organize a winter scavenger hunt. For younger kids, it is best to create a checklist with pictures of the items. Check out this free printable winter scavenger checklist from Teaching Mama.
3. Have a snow fort building contest as a family. For older children you can set specific perimeters for the fort or circumference for the snowballs to make it more challenging. For younger children, you can say things like, “the snowballs should be no bigger than an apple or the fort should be the same size as your bed.” Then they have a frame of reference rather than measurements to use for building.
4. Learn about igloos and teepees with your child and build one together either inside or outside (depending on the weather). It is important to teach your child about the history, the people, and purpose of these types of shelters before you build them. For younger children, start with this video from CBC to learn how to build a teepee. You can use some problem-solving skills and discuss how to improvise with the tools and space you have at home.
5. Go tobogganing. Check out this article from CBC to make your own duct tape sled.
6. Make a pile of snowballs the same size. Measure things using snowballs. Your kids can measure the length of their legs, the length of your backyard or driveway, the length of the park bench.
7. Do a good deed. Shovel a neighbour’s driveway or sidewalk. Run an errand for an elderly friend, neighbour or family member.
8. Teach your child survival skills. Show them how to build a winter campfire, how to build shelter, forage for food and water. Start by making a survival kit. Here is a helpful article about what should be included in the kit as well as other ideas for teaching your child how to survive in the colder weather.
What do you have planned this winter with your family? Comment below and let me know what I missed.
Julie Diamond is a certified teacher in Canada and the founder of Teachers to Go.
Julie Diamond speaking at the OISE conference for Alternative, Innovative and Inspiring Career Paths for Teachers at the University of Toronto.
Jenna Srigley is the administrative assistant/social media co-ordinator at Teachers to Go and offers invaluable insight as a mom of 2 teens.
Fun Fact: Her and Julie (see above) are also sisters :)