The Green Desk

Winter Play and Learning Outdoors

As winter temperatures drop, time off from usual childcare/school and work routines can increase opportunities to enjoy outdoor play and learning activities, with different clothing requirements. The end-of-year holiday is a special time for being outside together as family and friends.

Winter Activities to Enjoy
  • Freeze water with food coloring, sand, or other textures in clear plastic containers so that children can see what is inside and use them as blocks. If it is cold enough, let the containers freeze outside.
  • Bubble Freeze – blow bubbles & catch one on the bubble wand. If it is cold enough, it will freeze like a crystal ball and then shatter!
  • Freeze some items (leaves, acorns, small toys) in an empty paper container, then rip off the paper and see how the children can get the items out.
  • Freeze blocks of ice and build small igloos – freeze ice in bread pans, ice cube trays, etc.
  • Go on a nest hunt. With all the leaves off the trees, nests are much easier for children to spot. Look high and low for bird and squirrel nests. Keep count. How many can you spot in your neighborhood, at the local park, or on your center grounds? Encourage children to flap their arms like a bird or scamper like a squirrel each time they spot a nest.
  • Search for and collect the colors of winter. Although more challenging than in other seasons, there are still plenty of colors in winter. For an added challenge, search the crayon box for the closest matches to the colors found outdoors.
  • Build forts!
  • Decorate bare trees with paper snowflakes, colored lights, and bells.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Plant bulbs indoors – paperwhites & amaryllis.

Additional Resources