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Winter Wonderland Sensory Play

You and your little one can easily recreate the magic of freshly fallen snow from the comfort and warmth of home! (Even better, you likely have all the materials you need in your pantry.)

This Winter Wonderland activity allows your child to build mini snowmen and explore the unique sensation of the powdery yet moldable snow while gaining various developmental benefits.

What are the benefits?

  • Cognitive abilities - Problem-solving as they explore the texture and properties of the snow.

  • Mathematical concepts - Counting or patterning with the accessories.

  • Language skills - Introducing new vocabulary related to the activity such as ‘soft,’ ‘smooth,’ ‘cold,’ ‘white,’ etc.

  • Fine motor skills - Working hand muscles and practicing fine motor control as they hold and guide their toys through the snow.

  • Emotional regulation and awareness - Ask your child how this makes them feel or use language such as, “You have a smile on your face; it looks like you’re happy playing in the snow!”

After their adventure, your child will need to wash their hands as you will notice a powdery residue. After playing and washing, I like to prevent drying, especially during the harsh winter months, by using a moisturizer.

How do you create a winter wonderland?

Materials:

  • Baking soda

  • Corn starch

  • Water

  • A tray or container

  • Animal figurines (or little cars and trucks - whatever you would like to add)

  • Outdoor accessories such as pebbles and sticks (optional)

To make the snow:

1. Measure ½ cup of both baking soda and cornstarch. Mix them together in your tray/container. Next, measure ½ cup of water and slowly begin pouring into the mixture. Pour and mix at the same time. 

2. If the mixture appears wet and clumpy, sprinkle in more baking soda. If it is too dry, add a bit more water. 

3. You will likely need to abandon the spoon at this point and use your hands to crumble it, creating that flaky snow texture. It should not stick to your hands but will be moldable.

4. Once you have reached the desired consistency, add the accessories. It is always enjoyable to add some natural elements like pebbles, pinecones etc., further bringing in those outdoor textures. Use what you have around your home! I also threw in some acrylic jewels and silk snowflakes to complement the Arctic theme. Always supervise your child.

5. Lastly, decide which toys will explore the winter wonderland you have created. Arctic animals were used in this example, but any animals can have fun playing in the snow. Follow your child’s interest to help keep them engaged. They might enjoy using cars or dump trucks to make tracks in the snow, for example. 

Optional: For an added sensory experience, pop the tray into the fridge or freezer for a few hours before play - that way, the snow will be cold!

For more easy, sensory play ideas, check out the Babyganics Playbook, babyganics.ca/en-ca/babyganics-playbook

Katie is a registered Early Childhood Educator with 10 years of experience in the field and has worked in a preschool setting, a kindergarten classroom, and now operates a home-based learning program. Katie is passionate about sensory play learning, giving children opportunities to explore the natural world, and foster imagination and creativity. Find her at earlychildhoodfun101.com.

 

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