Sometimes it feels like we need to start all over again after a vacation. Are your children having trouble following your directions? Are they sniffling a little at leaving their families? It can feel like the beginning of the school year when they return in January. For some of you, freezing temperatures may keep you inside. Liven up what might be difficult January days by making magic in your classroom. Here are a few ideas:
Don’t just make snowmen from cotton balls; make beautiful snow or snowmen by letting children paint those cotton balls first. This is fun and allows for a different type of painting.
Put any used cookie cutters to work by letting children paint the edges and then use them as stamps to create a collage of paint cookie shapes.
The above two painting ideas are helpful for developing hand muscles and are sure to improve fine motor skills.
Thinking of those fine motor skills, give each child a cup and materials to transform the cup into a snowman. They can use markers, orange paper, glue, etc. Then, when frigid temperatures keep you inside, setup these snowmen like bowling pins.
Children can roll a ball or even a large marshmallow to see who can knock down the most snowmen. Children can practice counting in a meaningful way by seeing who topples over the most snowmen or they can do a bit of mental subtraction: There were 5 snowmen. James knocked down 2 snowmen. There were 3 snowmen left standing. Remember that fine motor skills can be practiced (along with patience!) by asking children to set the cups up again.
Another indoor winter-related activity is to play “Pin the Nose On the Snowman.” Tape three large white balls to a wall, use a blindfold, and let children try to put a paper, shaped like a carrot, onto the snowman. Leave all the noses on the snowman and encourage children to draw a picture of this spectacle!
Finally – magic happens in January! Gather children and have them put miniature marshmallows on a small tree or tree branches. Tell children that if they do something special (sing a song, follow directions, whatever you need!) – these tiny marshmallows may grow.
After children leave for the day, make magic by hanging jumbo marshmallows on the tree. Children will be amazed!
NAEYC – 2.C.03 & 2. J.05.
Head Start – I.D. & III.C.