Tracks in the snow. Take time to look outside for tracks in the snow. Can you guess who has been there? Can you find tiny bird tracks? Squirrel tracks? Maybe investigate tire tracks. How wide is the track? Do you think it was from a car? Truck? Delivery truck? Can you find tracks going backward? How do you know?
Study the Birds. What birds do you see around your neighborhood? What colors are they? Can you hear them singing? Do they all sound the same? Where do they live? Hang small bundles of nesting materials from trees and bushes near your house (i.e.; yarn, cotton, dried leaves/grass, string). Watch to see if the birds find it helpful! Which materials would you choose first if you were building a nest? Create and hang bird feeders. Ask your child why it might be harder for birds to find food in the winter?
Search for Icicles. Go on an icicle hunt! Are there any around your house? Do you see any up high? How could you measure them? What makes them form? Why are some big and some small? Can you find any down low? Can you draw them? Break a few icicles off and examine them in the sink to see what happens when placed indoors.
Create Your Own Ice Blocks. Fill ice cube trays with water and let the children add color. Allow cubes to freeze and let the children build structures using these blocks. You may need spritz bottles or paint brushes with water to freeze blocks together. Snow may also work if available. For more full body play, create huge blocks out of Tupperware, mixing bowls, and ice cream pails. Enjoy!
Snow Volcanoes. Place a plastic cup in the snow and form a volcano around it. Fill it with baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar. Make it erupt, over and over!
Set-up a Paint Station. Put snow in a sled with brushes and paint. Use bowls, sticks, or frames to define and highlight your masterpieces! You might also fill spritz and/or squeeze bottles with colored water and let the children add color to the snow in your space. Take before and after pictures to remember your colorful adventure.
Winter Scavenger Hunt. Search for a flying bird, frozen puddle, tree with no leaves, squirrel, tracks in the snow, gray clouds, sun, moon, etc. Have children help take photos of their discoveries and create a book to share with family and friends.
Snow-to-Water Experiment. Fill a container with snow and measure it. Take it inside. After it melts, measure it again. How much snow equals water? What happens if you put your bucket back outside?
Winter Nature Journals. Take note of the nature in your own backyard. (Sun, wind, birds, snow, trees, squirrels. . .) Can this nature inspire artistic sketches, charting, scientific observations? Maybe even stories or poems? Do you notice changes in the trees, sun, or shadows throughout the winter season?
Measure Yourselves. Snow can be an excellent tool in showing children a concrete example of their own size. Have children lay down in the snow and measure their imprint. Give them yardsticks, rulers, yarn, and blocks to size themselves up. Enjoy watching them explore themselves from a different perspective. (Tip! These imprints can make a darn cute family portrait too!)