Saturday, February 19, 2011

Indoor Winter Fun

If the weather isn’t great, there’s a lot you can do indoors with your child! I don’t own any video/computer games so here are some of my favorites:
Snow experiments—

• The Great Melting Race—make two snowballs, one tightly and the other loosely packed. Put them in waterproof bowls. Predict which one will melt faster. Predict how long it will take each one to melt, and time them! You can put them in different places in your home to affect the melting rate—on a heater, in the refrigerator, etc.

• The Snow to Rain Ratio—snow is a good insulator because it has a lot of air mixed in. Depending on the density of the snow, the snow to rain ration is about one to about seven-nine. Here’s an experiment to show this:

1. With a meter/yardstick, measure the amount of snow that is on the ground.
2. Scoop some loose snow into a cylindrical see-through container like a canning or mayonnaise jar.
3. Measure how many inches of snow you scooped.
4. Have your child predict how many inches of water the snow will melt down to.
5. Then, have her do the math to see how much rain would’ve fallen if the snow had been rain! (how much snow is on the ground x how much melted snow is in the jar)

While snow is melting you can enjoy:
• Jigsaw puzzles
• Board games
• Twister, charades
• Crafts of all kinds
• Of course, on a nice stormy day, I always love to read a book!

What do you like to do on a snow day with your child? Leave me a comment below!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Outdoor Winter Fun

Here’s something to think about: Have you played outside with your kids lately? It’s a great way to get some exercise and teach your kids how to have fun and be safe in winter weather.

The key to enjoying outdoor activities in the winter is to dress appropriately. If you don’t wear enough, you’ll get cold. If you wear too much and you get sweaty, you’ll get cold. Layers are the way to go. That way if you start to overheat, you can peel one off.

You also need to think about your activity—how strenuous is it going to be? Snowshoeing, for example, is very active so you don’t want to dress too warmly. Ice fishing is just the opposite—lots of sitting around so you need to layer up!

I prefer mittens to gloves and neck warmers to scarves. I tend to get scarves caught on things—choke! (Word to the wise: Make sure your child goes to the bathroom before dressing for outdoor activities.)

Winter outdoor fun ideas:
•Snow angels—show your child how to lie on her back in the snow and move like she’s doing jumping jacks. Help her get up carefully and turn around so she can see her angel in the snow!

•Snow people and other sculptures—the sky’s the limit what you can sculpt with snow! There was a green Loch Ness-like monster in a local pond recently!
--It’s also fun to put food coloring and water in a spray bottle to color your creation.
--Don’t forget to dress up your snow person!

•Snow forts—I don’t recommend tunneling in the snow—just build walls. You can help your child build snow furniture, too!

•Snowball fights—make sure the teams are even and the snowballs aren’t too tightly packed. You don’t want anyone getting hurt.

•Ice skating—make sure the ice is thick enough on lakes and ponds. Set a good example for your child and obey the thin ice warnings—don’t skate if it’s not safe!

•Snow shoeing, downhill, or cross-country skiing are all very fun and great exercise!

•Snowmobiling—don’t forget helmets! Again, obey the laws and be safe.

What outdoor winter activities does your family enjoy? Leave me a comment below.