Winter Wonderland



Winter does not have to mean winter time blues. Children LOVE puddles, watching a big downpour of rain and admiring the intricacy of icy crystals of frost on the back lawn. This is the season when things rejuvenate. Rain is a gift. It makes the grass green and the soil healthy.

Young children reap great rewards from time spent exploring in the garden, even if it is cold. The change in colours and change in textures are of intrigue and interest. The winter environment opens up new thoughts and imaginings for young children. 

Birds are busy during the winter, different insects occupy the garden, and sometimes even the house. It is worth observing and enjoying the different seasons. Especially here in Victoria where all four seasons are distinct and unique; children are so lucky to have boundless variety- and through variety, children learn infinite things.

Vincent Van Gogh was an artist who loved the seasons. He wisely said,  

“If you truly love nature, you’ll find beauty everywhere.” - Vincent Van Gogh

In Victoria we have lots of wonderful wintertime activities:


Go to the snow:

The magic of white snow perched high upon a mountain is enchanting. Visit Mount Hotham, Falls Creek, Mount Donna Buang Summit, Mount Bulla, Mount Stirling, Lake Mountain Alpine Resort or Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort.

It does not matter if you ski or not. You can toboggan, ride the ski lift, make snowmen, snowboard or simply enjoy the scenery.  

Are you wondering what activities would be good to keep your children happy on a cold and wet day? Here are some ideas:   



Bake cookies:

Children can help mix the ingredients together and help roll the cookie dough. You can teach them about the different ingredients and where the ingredients come from. For example, eggs that come from a chicken. Along the way the kids can become educated about oven safety. Y
our house will smell of lovely baked goodness and you will have some sweet treats to share with family and friends! Cookies are a good incentive to get children to complete tasks too. 


Draw and paint:


Image result for vincent van gogh winter
The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

“I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.”- Vincent Van Gogh

Children can become absorbed in a drawing. The rhythm of colouring can be relaxing and children feel a great sense of achievement when they have finished a work of art. While free play is great, guided play is even better. Encourage children to draw certain things like the tall trees in the rain or the dog in his kennel. If the weather permits, you can even take this exercise outside and the children can draw things up close.


Make collages:

Cut and paste! Children love this exercise. Whether you use photographs of your own or cut images out from newspapers and magazines, kids can create their own world using different elements.



Take photographs:

Grab your camera, ipad, phone or even buy an old school disposable camera and spend an afternoon exploring and taking photographs. Explain things as you go. Tell stories. Share interesting things that you find. You can let the children print their favourite photos later if they like.


Dress up:

This is goodie. Let the kids mix and match their clothes, wear silly hats, put on Dad’s shirt and tie or Mum’s shoes. Children have so much fun playing make-belief and it is so good for their creativity.


Write a story:

Help your child make up a story and write it together. This is deeply powerful. Go through the letters and the sounds with you child and encourage them to think of new characters like Leonard the Lion or Stacey the builder. Experimentation and imagination is a wonderful thing when reading and writing. 

Act out a play:

Think of a favourite story or film or song and let the children perform it. Let them be for a while to make up their own stories. Come back to them and let them show you what they have come up with by themselves.


Read:

There is nothing more lovely then cuddling up together for storytime. Children gain so much knowledge from a book. As well as being educational, it is enjoyable and creates bonds between you and your child.


Kick the footy or play an outdoor ball game:


It is the football season here in Victoria after all. If your kids love footy, netball or soccer let them run about in the back garden. They might get muddy but they will have a great time and it is wonderful for the development of their fine and gross motor skills.


Go for a walk or play in the garden:

Rug up in coats, beanies and gloves and let your child run about outside. They can get cabin fever if they are confined indoors for a long time. Let them play in the garden or go on a walk around the block. You can even visit the park! As long as your children are appropriately dressed, they will have a great time running wild and free. 


  


If you are feeling really adventurous: 


Have a bonfire:

It does not have to be outside, even gathering around the fireplace at home is fun. Have hot chocolate and tell campfire stories. Enjoy being together, someplace snug and warm.

And the best part, at the end of a cold winters day, a warm bubble bath before bed! Winter truly can be a wonderland for you and your family. 
 
By Sinead Halliday