It is winter once again in Michigan which means parents and caregivers are looking for ways to beat those indoor winter blues. Although it is dark and cold, exploring nature both indoors and out will help foster independence, promote active learning and engage children in creative activities!
- Get Dressed and Go Out!
Getting dressed in all our winter gear is a great way to foster independence, teach sequencing (Snowsuit first, boots, coat…etc) and uses those fine motor muscles! Give your child time to independently dress themselves and head outside. Even just going out for a few minutes when it is really cold is worth it! There is nothing like fresh air and a quick jog around the block or yard to help with those winter blues. For those snowy days, take out old pots and pans, spoons and spatulas for children to explore snow. Sand toys also work well in the snow. Dollar store spray bottles filled with liquid watercolor or food coloring/water is a fun activity and you will watch your yard transform into a work of art!
- Nature Center Visits
For those dangerously cold days, you can always get some nature therapy by visiting a local nature center. The Detroit Outdoor Adventure Center brings up north to downtown Detroit and is fun for all ages. It is actually located indoors so you can experience nature and stay warm. Oakwood Metropark has a nature center with great viewing windows of wetlands and woods. Lake Erie Metropark also has a nature center where children can relax and play! They are both surrounded by nature trails for those warmer snowy days. Please see the websites listed below for more information.
- Bring Nature Indoors
Bringing the outside in is another way to engage children and beat the cold! Bring in a bucket of snow and add things like measuring scoops and spoons. You can also use watercolors and paintbrushes to paint the snow. Sticks are also great to bring indoors. While one stick tends to end up as a sword or lightsaber, multiple sticks can become building materials and logs! To help promote literacy, things like sticks, river stones and small pine tree branches make great indoor props and scenery for stories like: The Three Bears or Little Red Riding Hood. By adding animals and characters you can tell familiar stories or create your own, the possibilities are endless!
Guest Blogger: Angela Jesse, Early Childhood Consultant at Wayne RESA GSRP
Great Start Readiness Program is a Michigan state-funded preschool program for four-year-old children with factors which may place them at risk of educational failure. The program is administered by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start. Funding is allocated to Wayne RESA to administer the program locally.
These blogs were developed and funded under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.
Research on preschool programs and specific research on GSRP indicates that children provided with a high-quality preschool experience show significant positive developmental differences when compared to children from the same backgrounds who did not attend a high-quality preschool program.