We have been observing our winter weather and landscape here in mountains of North Carolina. Though most of our observations have been outside, our recent snow fall has provided us with some fun indoor winter sensory activities.
Just look at those faces. Can’t you just feel their anticipation?
They are so excited that we are building this winter snow bin.
It is a sensory discovery bin filled with props for a winter wonderland adventure on top, and hidden treasures to find down below.
How COOL! (pun intended)
I was laying in bed last night thinking about how I could build the kids a winter discovery bin with cotton balls and such, and decided why don’t I just bring the snow into the house. There is so much we can study and learn from our snow “school work”.
Yeah, its a little cold on the fingers, but again, we are talking about sensory folks. Snow = cold, wet, messy, very messy. And did I mention cold? But not too cold, as my daughter enjoyed playing in this snow bin in her summer shorts!
So I searched the toys and crafts and dumped out a deep storage bin and here is what I came up with.
Into a plastic bin/box we put glass square and round beads/rocks in shades of blue, aqua, and clear. This kind of represented frozen water iceberg under the snow. Then we added some plastic snow men, penguins, bears, deer, plastic rocks, etc. Disclaimer: The stuffed animals were not harmed during the filming of this and were not added to the bin. Hee Hee Hee Haw!!!!
On top of this we added lots of snow. Then made a winter scene with some plastic pine trees, deer, plastic rocks and real rocks, plastic bushes, snowmen, penguins, and a hunter.
Didn’t my 2nd grader do an awesome job helping set this up? He is a great assistant!
On the kitchen floor, we laid out a blanket and set the snow bin on it. Here the kids could play in their winter wonderland with all the props, and I didn’t have to worry about the mess.
Then we created a story to enjoy our winter scene. They imagined “the deer were looking for something to eat, when a hunter came along and found them in the woods. The deer climbed the rocks and up the mountain to safety behind a high pine tree way up on a cliff. Then the hunter went looking for more animals and came upon a great big mammoth. But he knew not to kill the mammoth, so he let him go. The hunter was bored, and made a snowman, and then sat down and ate some snow soup with his animal friends.”
After their fun on the first level they were ready to go to work hunting for buried treasures in the iceberg. (Yeah, I know, we should have buried the mammoth in the melting iceberg for a discussion on fossils, extinction, and global warming, but he has some electronic gizmo inside and we couldn’t let him get very wet. Plus that is more of a discussion for the older kids. So the mammoth stayed dry and alive on top of the snow).
I gave them some measuring scoops, recycled plastic fruit cups, and a large bowl, and they went to work.
If you could call it work. They laughed and giggled all the way through until the last object was found.
When they were done with their sensory bin, the older boys wanted to play in it too. Some activities with them included more imaginative play, but also measuring and counting scoops of snow and talking about compaction, melting, temperature, and more.
So we put in more snow and animals and recreated the hunting scene for them. This time the deer wasn’t so lucky to escape the wise hunter who had learned from his earlier mistakes. He ate dinner that night and went to bed with a full stomache. Made jerky with the leftovers. Hee Hee Hee Haw! Snort! Ha ha ha! Ok sorry about that, but kids are just so funny!
The kids all had a really good time.
Finally, our kindergartner took advantage of the used, melting, sloshy snow bin, and built a snowman.
He packed the melting snow into snow balls, and used broken crayons for the eyes and nose. He put craft sticks in for the arms and stuck on some yellow buttons. He used the hunters hat for the snowman’s hat. He said the hunter had forgot his hat when he took off chasing the deer.
When he was done playing with it, he stuck the snowman outside on the front porch. It stayed frozen just like the day he made it for three days. He enjoyed checking on it to see how long it took to melt.
He did a great job!
Clean up was much easier than I thought. The blanket went into the dryer for a few minutes. The toys in the bowl, and the bin, dried on a towel for a little bit before being put away for next time.
Easy, fun, learning adventure, and free!
How are your kids exploring the winter? Do your kids enjoy using sensory and discovery bins? Please leave us a comment below and share what you are working on with your kids.
This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Preschool and 5K too
Best Toys For Toddlers