I love to be outside, and I try to get my kids outside as much as possible. Below are some of my favourite outdoor education winter activities to do with kids. I teach kindergarten, so I try to make the activities educational, but any new hands-on experience is great for kids!
My students love playing in a mud kitchen during the summer, so why not have a snow kitchen?? I provided children with a variety of kitchen materials and they played and baked for a long time.
Some students added a bit of sand to their snow to create cookie ice cream. Then then served it to all of their guests. I love that provided with materials a child’s imagination can create things that I never imagined.
Another activity typically left for the warmer months, is painting. However, this was the most popular centre. I used an old muffin try to put the paints in and I added a bit of water to the paints to help make them drip and ‘paint’ the snow better. I also filled some squirt bottles with a bit of paint, and water. These were very popular!
I always try to have a building activity because I have a few students who always gravitate towards these centres and will stay here for the whole period. I put out wooden sticks, fabric sheets and large plastic clothes pins. Children built a tent/home using the fence and our plexiglass paint easel.
I froze a bunch of ice cubes with a few drops of food colouring. Once they were frozen, I used them for this centre. I put them all in a hula hoop and students built with them using the snow to stick them together.
I filled several balloons with water and food colouring. Once they froze, I removed the balloons. I set the balloons out on trays and warm water and eye droppers in a bowl beside the trays. Students squirted the water over the balloons. For us, it was such a cold day that children were fascinated by the fact that their water was freezing onto the ball of ice.
We are lucky to have a great outdoor space at my school. We have a small stage that students love to play in. Today, using fabric sheets and large clothes pins we transformed our stage into a house. Everyone was really excited to go inside their structure and work together to seal up the sides.
Whenever I do outdoor centres for kindergarten I always include a spot that has a variety of animal figures. There are always a few children who are drawn to these animals. I later added a few toy card that were also very popular to play with in the snow.
Our last centre involved small trays filled with snow that we packed down and a big bin of cookie cutters. This was a good sensory activity for kids to feel and compare what it felt like to create a print in snow versus playdough or food.
There is so much you can do outside in winter. As long as children, and you, are dressed warmly the possibilities are endless!