First Day Of Winter Science
First Day Of Winter Science activities for preschoolers through second grade.
WHAT DOES COLD FEEL LIKE?
Get some ice cubes from the freezer and let the kids play with them and talk about how cold they are. You can also have them dip the ice cubes in a small amount of paint and slide them around on a large piece of paper to make abstract watercolors!
This idea was thought up by one of the teachers at our center.
Alaska Snowshoe Hare’s magical transformation!!
Use brown paper and cut out an Alaska hare for each child. Use white construction paper or cotton balls and for white spots. When fall begins, the snowshoe hare starts to get white spots. The feet change first, then the rest of the rabbit changes randomly all over. This project should take about a month to compete. On the first week introduced the hare to the children and tell them about the magical change their rabbit will be going through. Add white spots to the feet for the first week, then following weeks add more white to the hare, by the end of the month, you should have a white snowshoe hare ready for an Alaskan winter. This is a fun activity that let children see and learn about the Alaskan hare and how they get ready for winter.
When studying winter, ice, and snow, I froze water in balloons. Fill each balloon with different amounts. Depending on the amount of water in each balloon it can take 1-3 days to freeze the water. When done peel the balloon off (put it under water, it peels off nice) and you have a nice round ice ball. Place the ice balls into a roasting pan or can pan (something with sides) and let the children explore. Never fill a balloon more then 6 inches in diameter, it takes to long to freeze. The children love it. The variety of sizes adds lots of vocabulary as the children compare sizes.
For ice study I took my biggest roasting pan and filled it with water, glitter, marbles, plastic dinosaurs and animals, sea shells, rocks and even hard candies (but those have to be added later so they won’t melt so much) and , finally, some ice cubes to help get it freezing. Freeze until edges, bottom and top are really solid but some water remains inside. (I tried completely freezing it but it was too difficult for them to get through) Give the children a chance, one at a time, to don safety glasses and use the rubber mallet and a dull old chisel to excavate the ice. We do this activity outdoors on my big wood cutting board and all my kids, from 2 1/2 to 6 loved it!! This is a high supervision activity but worth it.
For our sensory table, we just finished a Winter theme. I froze small toys in ice cube trays, and in various size containers and placed them in the sensory table. The children were given plastic and wood mallets and told to chip away the ice to find out what was inside! They had a wonderful time, and the amateur “archeologists” would rush to me to show me their “prize”! I’ve already been asked when we’ll do it again.
My preschool class did an experiment on how to make snow melt. We had children predict if snow would melt faster in their bare hands, or with a mitten on. Then, we tested the prediction. The children enjoyed exploring different ways to make the snow melt.
Fill a bucket with ice water and have the children stick their hands in it. It will be cold, take a plastic bag and put Crisco in it, put another bag inside this one so the children’s hands don’t get dirty. Have them put their hand in the bag and stick it back in the ice water. It won’t be cold because the Crisco serves as a layer of fat. Talk about how this keeps the animals like penguins and polar bears warm. They like this and enjoy doing it over and over again.
Making Snow: When we have winter as our theme topic we make pictures using various items as snow. We use sugar, flour, white sand, salt, laundry soap, egg shells that are broken and dried, anything you can think of. This is excellent fine motor skills and also for science projects. Kids loved it. We posted them around the center until snow segment was done.
I like to bring the snow indoors for snow painting. You can use your sensory table, but I like to use a large, clear storage box…then you can really see the colors! I have used both food colored water and watercolor paint to paint my snow. The watercolors make vibrant colors. My two-year-olds work on their small motor skills when they practice using eye droppers to transfer the colored water to the snow. I have also used spray bottles and drip bottles. We like to comment on the beautiful colors, then go back after rest time to see what happened to the colors when the snow melted.