Beat that winter cabin fever and improve your child's intellectual, motor, and social skills with these simple, seasonal activity ideas from Jackie Silberg, author of 125 Brain Games for Babies and 125 Brain Games for Toddlers and Twos.
A Seasonal Story
Make up a wonderful winter story and develop your child’s language and creativity skills at the same time.
Adult: I was going to the zoo one day and what do you think I saw?
Child: A polar bear.
Adult: And what was the polar bear doing?
Child: Wrapping presents.
Adult: And who was with the polar bear?
Child: An elephant.
Adult: And what did the polar bear and the elephant do when they finished wrapping the presents?
Child: They did a Hokey Pokey dance.
Adult: Why don’t you and I do that? Do you want to be the polar bear or the elephant?
Ask your child questions about winter (or a winter holiday) and have them answer either “yes’ or “no” with a part of their body. This game takes a lot of cognitive thinking. Very young children can play this game and you can help them move their body parts.
Question: Are we having company for Thanksgiving?
Child will move his elbow either “yes” or “no”
Question: Do you like to get presents?
Child will move another part of his body either “yes” or “no.”
Some suggestions are: fingers, wrists, knees, shoulders, hips, and tongue.
For this scrumptious activity, you will need large marshmallows, pretzel sticks, mini- carrots, and raisins.
Take a pretzel stick and put it into the middle of one of the marshmallows. Then place another marshmallow on top. Make legs and arms with the remaining pretzel sticks. Make eyes and a mouth with the raisins. Use a mini carrot for the nose. Share this poem with your child:
A Chubby Little Snowman
A chubby little snowman Had a carrot nose. Along came a bunny And what do you suppose? That hungry little rabbit Looking for his lunch Ate that little snowman's nose... Nibble, nibble, CRUNCH!
Then eat the snowman!
Using colored masking tape, make a large letter on the floor. Choose a letter that starts the name of a holiday. For example, the letter “V” for Valentine’s Day. Show your child all the different movements that she can do on the letter. Walk, march, hop, run, crawl. Sing this song as you move along the letter:
Tune (Farmer in the Dell)
I’m marching on the V I’m marching on the V Hi ho the Derry O I’m marching on the V
Continue singing the song as you hop on the V, jump on the V, etc.
Find Your Letters
Print the name of a winter word on a piece of paper. Let your child look around the room and find one thing that starts with the same letters as in the word they have chosen. Here are some winter word suggestions: Mittens, animals, earmuffs, sports, sleigh, snow and snowflakes, reindeer, and polar bear. For example, if they choose the word snow, try to find one thing to match each letter in that word. Print each word that you find under the letter that it matches.
S – sofa N – nose O – ottoman W - white
This game will develop awareness and observation skills in your child.
Find pictures in magazines of children with different facial expressions. Cut out the pictures and show them to your child. Talk about each picture and then try to make the same facial expression on your face. Ask your child to make the same expression on his face. Some pictures that you can look for are happy faces, silly faces, sad faces, kids sticking out their tongues and making different shapes with their mouths. You can also look for pictures with children doing physical activities. Standing on one leg, bending over, running, etc. You and your child do the same physical activity as in the picture. Your child will enjoy this game very much.