We tried this activity last year using just stuff from our garden and it was a flop. We do not have many bushes or trees in the garden so come December, it's very bare. This year I saw so many people doing it I wanted to try it again. So Daddy took them for a walk to the park and collected some amazing nature finds. They found red berries and ferns, even some pretty red leaves and some blossom. When they got home I took them into the garden with a cake tray, string and a jug of water. We filled each cake slot with the natural treasures and then filled with water. I then placed a little hoop of string in each one. We decided to leave them out over night to see if they froze, thinking it would be a good opportunity to talk about how cold it is and what happens to water in those temperatures. Unfortunately we picked the night where it was 8 degrees warmer than it had been and instead of freezing, some of them were actually drunk by passing animals. This was also a great subject to talk about before I refilled them and popped them in the freezer for a few hours.
Once they were frozen we took some chairs out so they could reach the bare branches on our own tree, our cherry tree. I have to say it looked so lovely decorated with their ice decorations, hints of red berry and pink blossom amoung the green ferns. I really loved this. Button spent a lot of the afternoon popping out to just watch them melt away. She caught one looking like a Cresent moon, which was great as we were learning about space alongside this activity. I would definitely love to do this activity with them again.
You will need:
This is such an easy activity to do with loads of opportunities to talk about the weather and wildlife. Each child had a bowl, they placed a spoon full of oats and bird seed in the bowl then we gave them a lump of lard. They mixed and mashed it all together till all the seeds and oats are mixed in the lard, then we formed them into balls. To add the string, tie a knot in one end and then lay it on a flattened fatball, then squeeze the fatball around the string and form a ball.
We hung these up right by our front window so the children could watch the birds come and go. We had this activity planned for this week and it then started snowing. This made it a great opportunity to talk about the wildlife at this time of year, how do they find food, how do they keep warm. Buttercup was very concerned about the birds and wanted to make loads of balls for them, which made us smile. Bear didn't like the texture of the lard so only made one but the girls loved it and made quite a few. Hopefully the birds like them.
This is always a lot of fun, and so simple. Add 1 cup of glue to 2 cups of foam and then glitter (if you want to add it). Give it a mix and let the children paint.
I drew out a snowman for each of them to fill in with the puff paint. I also found some small shapes that could be used for eyes and a nose and some lolly pop sticks for arms but u could use paint or coloured puff paint for these parts. Thanks to the snow and the small snowman they made in the garden they were very excited to paint their own one to keep. They started by brushing the puff paint so I gave them a little direction to keep it fluffy and big. They soon got the hang of it and their snowmen turned out amazing.
I really want to shout about this activity. I really recommend it for something a little different for your little crafters. My three loved this activity and the pictures were amazing. Plus all you need is some food colouring, water, lolly pop sticks, ice cube tray and a freezer. So I mixed water with red, yellow and blue food colouring and poured into an ice cube tray. I did three of each colour so they didn't need to share and also mixed to create green, orange and purple from the three primary colours. I put the lolly sticks into each ice cube square and popped it in the freezer for a few hours.
I gave the children card as I wasn't sure how wet this was going to be but actually paper would have worked. It didn't melt overly quickly and actually dried really quick when they didn't go over the same spot a lot. Buttercup made a lovely picture of the sun, grass and a person, Bear went for a universe and Button did a gorgeous rainbow. This was as well as just exploring with the ice and colours. I'm definitely going to do this one again as I think the results were beautiful. A bit like watercolours I guess.
We bought a gorgeous winter set from our favourite playdough company, Scarlett senses. It had a lovely light grey dough and so many interesting loose parts. It was brilliant to see them starting to create things as well as mark make. Bear started it by creating a wonderful snowman with legs (so he could play football). This encouraged Buttercup to give it a go- the snowman she made came with a robin friend who sat on his arm. Button started with her normal food inspired creations, making winter pancakes and a winter cake. She then decided to use her Harry potter peg dolls from pocket peg dolls to create a scene of Harry throwing snowballs at the window of Ron's room, this came from Grad throwing snowballs at the window after dropping some food round that morning lol. We also got the wildlife track stamps out to see what some animal tracks might look like in the snow. They love their playdough kits and spent a good hour playing and creating.
Seriously fun and something I've never done before. I grabbed three test tubes (bottles would work fine as well) and buried them in the snow so u could only see the opening. I then added washing up liquid, food colouring and baking soda to each test tube. I gave each child a small glass of vinager and let them go for it. They loved the explosion and bubbles from the chemical reaction. Especially, against the clean white snow. They then took it further, which I didn't see coming and love about home ed, they used the mixture to paint the snow and then to colour mix. Button made a lovely pale green and even managed a small amount of purple while Buttercup painted the snow a rainbow of colour, Bear helped both girls by collecting more snow for them to mix which I loved to see. His so loving and encouraging. He loves to help his sister's so much, I hope that never leaves him.
We use our Twinkl subscription for our printouts. They had some great winter activities and ideas on there. We went for number matching (which the Twins whizzed through), a design your own winter clothes sheet and a simple and 'what reminds you of winter' sheet- a thought provoking page for little ones. They had to draw three things that make them think of winter. Buttercup went for a scarf, hat and snowman whilst Bear went for snowflakes, a tree with no leaves and a snowman. I loved listening to them telling each other what they were thinking off and also watching them draw it. They are really coming on with their drawing lately. Especially Buttercup who's taking a big interest in how you draw things. This week she's managed to draw a snowman and a house for the first time and they look how she intended them to look. I sense she's going to enjoy art like her big sister.
I decided to bring some snow indoors. The children had been playing out there all morning and needed warming up, but were reluctant to stop playing with snow altogether. So I grabbed a tub full of snow and their wildlife track stamps and we explored what animal tracks would look like in the snow. We spoke about how many legs each animal had and how many foot prints it would leave in the snow. They loved matching and seeing the tracks. Button wanted the Twins to try and guess which animal made which track but they didn't know them well enough yet. Still a great game to try and definitely build on.
Hot chocolate cupcakes
My three love hot chocolate and this week it's become a routine after coming in from the snow. So I found a hot chocolate cupcake recipe I knew they would love. To their delight I didn't read how many it made and we ended up with 30 cupcakes to decorate and eat.
To decorate them we made a small hole which we filled with marshmallows then covered in chocolate buttercream then added more marshmallows and drizzled choc over the top. The children loved it, they love getting messy and they love licking the spoons and bowls clean. There was a lot of them today!