winter activities

january

NATURAL COLOURS

Making your own natural colours for painting is an exciting activity. Moreover, if the winter is snowy, the white canvas is literary everywhere. Let's have an art class!

YOU WILL NEED: jars with a bit of water

HOW TO DO IT:

Try out making natural colours and painting with them. First, let children come up with ideas on what can be used as a natural dye. Then they choose what they want to try. We recommend these colours:

YELLOW – turmeric or curry spice
ORANGE – combine turmeric and beetroot juice
RED – fresh red beetroot juice or canned beetroot juice
DARK BROWN – soil, e.g. from a houseplant pot (if there is snow outside)
LIGHT BROWN – cocoa or carob
GRAY – ash or coffee
GREEN – a little powder from young barley, chlorella and other algae
BLUE/PURPLE – red cabbage juice

Prepare resealable glasses with a bit of water, dissolve the selected ingredients and mix well. Children can work in groups and each group will create their own set of colours. Encourage children to discover new combinations and test all the shades they can create. Then go and test it outdoors.

It is a much better option than using ordinary colours. It develops greater sensitivity, patience and creativity in children.

 

 

SNOW CAKE

 

YOU WILL NEED: seeds, nuts, apples and other materials for decorating, natural colours

HOW TO DO IT:

Natural colours can beautifully decorate a cake for our animal neighbours around the school or house. Take sunflower seeds, nuts, sliced apples, etc. Make a snow base for the cake and cheers to decorating.

Natural colours are great because they don't bother plants or animals.

WHAT INSULATES SNOW BEST?

YOU WILL NEED: different materials for the testing - paper (of different colours), cardboard, fabric, wood, aluminium foil, bark, sitting mat, etc.

HOW TO DO IT:

On a sunny day, cover the snow with different materials (e.g. paper, cardboard, fabric, wood, foil, bark, etc.).

I'm sure you're also figuring out what to carry outside under your butt. In the snow, you have the perfect opportunity to test the insulating properties of different materials. The test can be a feel test (i.e. with your butt), but you can also do a test with cups of tea - at least your tea will not stay too hot! 

HIDE AND SEEK

Discover the mystery of mimicry. 

YOU WILL NEED: white bed sheets, blankets or any other white fabric

HOW TO DO IT:
Playing hide and seek in the snow is more of a challenge... unless you take the art of mimicry to help you. 

Can you think of any animals that have mastered this art perfectly, and in winter, the white colour makes them disappear perfectly in the landscape?

SNOW PICTURES

YOU WILL NEED: natural materials, natural dyes, chalks

HOW TO DO IT:

Using natural materials and natural colours, children can individually or in groups arrange and colour unusual pictures in a snow gallery.

If the children need it, you can come up with a theme for the pictures together. When everyone is finished, we go through the snow gallery together and look at all the pictures. Each artist can come up with a title for their picture and the class can then guess the name of each picture.

When we return to the classroom, we recommend following up by writing a short story about the snow picture - e.g. a description of the main character, telling a story, describing the workflow, etc.

TIP: Try also painting with chalk. Which snow is good and which snow is/isn't good yet?

WHAT DRIPS FIRST?

DID YOU LIKE THE ACTIVITY?

Try out other winter experiments from the LABORATORY AUTUMN/WINTER e-book:

Is there snow outside? A wonderful opportunity for a little science experiment with a snowball and a piece of ice.

YOU WILL NEED: a snowball and a piece of ice, two candles 

HOW TO DO IT:

Children place a snowball and a piece of ice over two candles and observe which will drip first. (Snowflakes create a lot of space around them in the snow, so ice, which has no such spaces to bind dissolved water, starts dripping first).

SNOW ANIMALS

 

YOU WILL NEED: warm gloves, natural materials, eventually watercolours or natural colours

HOW TO DO IT:
Each child creates a snow animal statue. They place it somewhere in the agreed area and then we can guess together what kind of animal it is and whether it hibernates or is active in winter.

In our snow gallery, we had a caterpillar (which accidentally woke up), a parrot (which flew away), a finch (which spends the winter with us) and a rabbit (which looks for food also in winter).

PAINTING ON SNOW

 

YOU WILL NEED: natural dyes, bowls, watercolours, paintbrushes, thick markers

HOW TO DO IT:

You can paint directly on the snow with naturally coloured water (in a spray bottle) or with paintbrushes when a more solid crust forms on the surface.

We recommend food colouring or better yet, using natural dyes directly to colour the water:

- soil (many shades of brown)

- coffee grounds (shades of black to grey)

- turmeric or curry powder (for yellow)

- beet juice (for burgundy to pink, depending on concentration).

If you don't have enough bowls for naturally coloured dyes, you can use watercolours.

If you firm up the snow, you can try thicker markers for small details.

WINTER HOLIDAY FOR ELVES

 

Almost all children enjoy building gnome houses. Why not invite elves and fairies for a winter holiday?

YOU WILL NEED: plastic containers of different sizes, thick markers, natural materials

HOW TO DO IT:

We can create snow villages anywhere so it doesn't matter whether you are a short walk from the house or in the woods.

Children use their imagination to make snow elf houses. They can create irregular houses with their hands or they can use plastic containers to make regular bricks and shapes on which they can paint details with a thick marker or add natural materials.

THE SHAPES OF FLAKES

 

Winter gives us a great opportunity to discover the beauty and wide variety of snowflakes.

YOU WILL NEED: different types of magnifying glasses, pocket microscopes (if you have them), mobile phones (you can take pictures and enlarge them to see the snowflakes nicely), black surface for observation (baking tray, writing pads or black paper)

HOW TO DO IT:

Take a magnifying glass with you the next time you go outside. The shape of the snowflakes can be seen easier on a dark surface. It is good to repeat the observation in diffrent teperatures.

What shape do the snowflakes have? Do we always draw them correctly?

 

SNOW SCULPTING

 

Snow can be used to build more than just ordinary snowmen.

YOU WILL NEED: warm clothes and gloves, a shovel may come in also handy

HOW TO DO IT:

Test your sculpting skills by building sculptures large and small.

Children love to build their own farm or rescue station for injured animals. This kind of creating and playing might take a really long time.

When children are sad that the snow is melting, it's a good time to talk about the water cycle. Explain how the animals they have made turn into invisible “water creatures” that will travel around a large part of the world and may return to them next winter.

SHAPES AND FRACTIONS

 

Use the outdoor whiteboard for geoetry and fractions revision. 

YOU WILL NEED: natural materials

HOW TO DO IT:

Children should draw as many geometric shapes as they can name in the snow. Do some geometry revision together (How do equilateral and isosceles triangles differ? etc.).

Then you can divide the shapes into smaller shapes (halves, thirds, quarters, etc.) and practise fractions in a natural way. 

2D and 3D SHAPES

 

Create geometric shapes and touch geometry. 

YOU WILL NEED: sticks, knife

HOW TO DO IT:

If the snow sticks well, the children can use it to create great three-dimensional models of geometric shapes.

Then you can use sticks to outline the 2D shapes.

 

SNACKS FOR ANIMALS

 

A quick creative activity which also teaches the children to share.

YOU WILL NEED: suitable food that we can share with our animal neighbours - apples, carrots, corn, beetroot, seeds and nuts, hay, etc.

HOW TO DO IT:

Pack a larger than normal snack for the walk, the size depending on which animal neighbours you want to present it to.

The timing is ideal during Advent when we help those in need, and whenever there is a big frost or a lot of snow outside. Find a suitable place and have the children make triangles in the snow with their steps. These shapes will become simple Christmas trees. The children can then decorate the trees with goodies for animals.

The children can also try making a cake for birds. They stuff snow into a suitable container and turn it out to make the cake which they can decorate with goodies for small birds.

TRACKING/NEW TRACKS

An activity that develops the imagination and storytelling. 

YOU WILL NEED: your imagination 

HOW TO DO IT:

Snow is like a new interactive whiteboard. You can follow what is happening around the school and where. Who lives, runs and jumps around? Go somewhere further into the wilderness (even the urban wilderness) if you have already mapped out the area around your school.

On the way back, you can create new tracks and invent the animals who made them.

 

TREES WITH PRESENTS

 

Make nice winter decorations around your house or school. 

YOU WILL NEED: sticks and twigs, natural materials for decorations 

HOW TO DO IT:

Each child has the task of taking one straight twig (if there is a lot of snow, we recommend preparing them from dry shrub sticks in advance as early as in autumn).

The first task is for every three children to form an isosceles triangle and connect it with a string. The groups then take another, longer straight stick and try to place it to divide the triangle in half. Again, everything needs to be connected with a string. This will make a stand for their tree.

All you have to do is wrap the tree with natural twine and decorate it with natural materials that you can find outside. You can also add some treats for animals.

Stick the resulting trees into the ground or snow and use them as decorations around your school or house.

SNOWY TREEBEARDS

What would a tree tell us if it had a voice?

YOU WILL NEED: camera or mobile phone

HOW TO DO IT:

You've definitely tried to make tree faces. It is now time for the children to bring their Treebeards to life.

Trees with wide and straight trunks are best for this. They should be big enough that a child can easily hide behind them.

Now the children just have to figure out what Mr. Treebeard wants to tell everyone. It is great to remember it all with a photo or a short video.

SNOW CONSTRUCTION SET

 

Make snow "bricks" and show off your building abilities.

YOU WILL NEED: natural materials for decorations, sticks and twigs, markers, natural colours or watercolours 

HOW TO DO IT:

If the snow is good for this and you have made enough "bricks", the children divide into groups and build different sculptures (castles, villages, animals, characters, etc.).

Another challenge can be to build unconventional snowmen. Not only from spheres, but from other shapes like cubes or cuboids as well.

SNOW NOUGHTS AND CROSSES

 

A short playful activity that you can use while preparing for another game.

YOU WILL NEED: natural materials, sticks and twigs

HOW TO DO IT:

The children should divide into pairs and prepare a 3×3, 4×4 or 5×5 grid (it depends on how good they are at noughts and crosses) and to find or invent their playing pieces.

Now the games can start. Whoever is the first to put together a row of 3, 4 or 5 wins.

IT IS SNOWING

 

A very popular playful activity. Let it snow!

YOU WILL NEED: colanders, natural items, animal figures

HOW TO DO IT:

Take a set of colanders outside and have the children test how snow falls from the clouds. Just scoop up the loose snow and shake the colander.

Our group of children came up with a great “snow outlines” game. A natural object or an animal figure is placed on a cleaned dark surface – ice, sidewalk, wall, sheet metal, board – and it gets snowed on. Then the figure or object is carefully removed, leaving a beautiful silhouette on the surface.

The children in one group can create several outlines and the second group has to match the outlines with the correct figures or natural objects.

3D SHAPES

 

Math in the snow - children learn geometry and fractions without even noticing it 🙂

YOU WILL NEED: containers of various kinds and shapes, sticks or strings for dividing the shapes

HOW TO DO IT:

Take various kinds of containers outside into the snow and try to make snow "bricks" with different geometric shapes.

You can continue shaping the bricks and try to create a cube, cuboid, sphere, pyramid, etc. All the shapes can be further divided (into halves, thirds, quarters, etc.).

TRACKS IN THE SNOW

 

Use your imagination and creativity and become a dinosaur, a unicorn or an elephant.

YOU WILL NEED: a large piece of cardboard, strings, scissors

HOW TO DO IT:

All you need is a piece of large cardboard for each group, scissors and two strings. The children must  decide what tracks they want to make (dinosaur, elephant, giant duck) and cut out the chosen shape in cardboard.

In the middle of the track, they make two holes with scissors, put a string through and tie it on their shoes.

Track testing must be done slowly, cardboard tears and bends easily. Just a few tracks are enough though and then the different tracks are compared.

SELF-PORTRAIT

 

Some children like challenges - here is a chilly one for the brave. Have fun!

YOU WILL NEED: a bit of courage

HOW TO DO IT:

A lovely quick and playful activity. Children stamp their faces in the snow and watch the magic. The stamped face looks like a reverse raised relief.

It's definitely worth a try if the children dare. Then they can guess whose face it is. 

It is important that the snow is powdery. We do not recommend doing it in frozen snow.

HOW MUCH WATER IS THERE IN THE SNOW?

 

Welcome in the White Laboratory! Let your children become scientists who make their own hypotheses, and come up with a way to test them. 

YOU WILL NEED: jars or other transparent containers, markers (ideally two colours - one for our hypotheses the other for the reality)

HOW TO DO IT:

It is often quite surprising for children to see how little water remains from a full container of snow after it has melted.

We recommend warning the children not to pack the container with too much snow. Let them scoop up a full container of slightly "fluffy" snow.

After taking the sample, the children should indicate their estimate of where the water level will be after the snow melts.

Finally, compare the result and your estimates.

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