Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day

Nothing beats that first snowy day of the year: the crunch of snow underneath your boots, the taste of snowflakes. Did you know that a snowy day is just about perfect for your children to enjoy time in their outdoor classroom? Nancy Fusco Castaldo, author of The Little Hands Nature Book, has some fantastic suggestions for winter fun. For example, take your kids outside to your outdoor classroom. As you begin walking, ask them to look around the path. What is different in the winter than in summer? How do the seasons change where you live? Then, have a winter scavenger hunt: “Look for things such as a bush with red berries, a pinecone, a bird, an icicle, a fir tree, animal tracks, and a squirrel. Look for something beautiful” (p.136).

Another fun game is called “snowflake snooping.” All you need for this game is a dark piece of fabric or paper (allow it to chill outside for a few minutes) and a hand lens (or, just borrow a magnifier from your nature center). First, collect falling snow on the fabric or paper. Then examine the snowflakes with your hand lens. Are they all the same? Look at all the different shapes. How many sides does each snowflake have? Watch the snowflakes melt. How do their shapes change?

Finally, you could also mix some water and food coloring, pour it into a spray bottle, and encourage the children to “color” the snow! Not only is this fun, but you could also share a conversation with the children about mixing colors and creating new hues.

Have fun, and enjoying kicking up some snow! I think I’m going to build a snowman now….

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

Can you believe that it is already 2011? Time sure does fly by. I hope you had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebration. Between singing “Auld Lang Syne” and toasting with my family to 2011, I started thinking about my New Year resolutions. When I got back to work this week, I asked my pals at The Adventurous Child what our collective resolutions ought to be. Here is what we came up with:

10. Learn more about child development
9. Interview a local professor about early childhood education
8. Research how basic elements such as sand can be educational
7. Be prepared with a list of fun winter activities for the next snowy day
6. Come up with a list of springtime activities
5. Make a compost pile
4. Learn how to go “green” in our outdoor classroom
3. Read one book every month for “fun” in our literacy gazebo
2. Learn about “whole language”
1. Have fun!!!

As I continue to write these entries, hopefully you will see some of my resolutions come to life in the blog. If not… well, please remind me!

What are your resolutions for 2011? This could be a great conversation to share with your children!