Dependable Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow which means spring is coming early! But, what if he’s wrong? I mean, how reliable is this guy? According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the groundhog has been only been right 13 times since 1988. So maybe he’s not the best indicator of whether an early spring is coming, but either way, how much can we really complain? I’d say it’s been a pretty mild winter so far. Mild, yet still too cold for park weather and to really get the kiddos out of the house. There are definitely days we get a little stir crazy. Just in case spring doesn’t come early, here are some ways to foster creativity indoors with some winter themed dramatic play. Added bonus is that you can do these with household items or purchase inexpensive materials from a dollar store.
You can make this on a large or small scale. For small scale building, I found floral styrofoam bricks at Dollar Tree. I cut them into varying smaller pieces, but you can use them however you’d like. I also bought a tube of small arctic figurines to fuel the kids’ imaginations. I threw in some white wooden blocks that we have at home. Another idea would be to use white Legos.
If wanting to do a larger scale, you can pick up rolls of plain white wrapping paper at Dollar Tree and wrap small boxes. Just lay them out for kids to build with. The best way to foster creativity, is to do nothing! Let the kids take it wherever their little brains come up with.
I used to freeze items in ice cub trays to use in our classroom sensory table and thought how cool it would be to do that with our arctic animals. Scanning through Pinterest, I saw many different ways to use ice in a sensory table and for dramatic play by creating an arctic habitat. We don’t have ice cube trays, so I used our silicone muffin pans both in mini and regular size. I added a few drops of blue dye into a pitcher of water and poured the water into the pans. I froze a larger container of water to be used as a body of water. I got out some of their play tools, put all the frozen discs on our play mat, in a couple of containers and let the girls go. They had fun hammering the figurines out of the ice and making the animals ice skate.
Again with our arctic animal figurines, we used them and flubber to make animal tracks. You can use play dough, but since we make our own play dough and it doesn’t turn out pure white, we went with the flubber. Here is a great recipe for flubber. This was so simple yet great fun for the kids to play, uninterrupted, using their imaginations.
Snow Sensory Bin
This one you can really go in many different ways. I filled our sensory basket with anything I could find that was white at the dollar store! That included cotton balls, paper confetti, plastic beads, snowflake stickers(I kept the backing on and surprisingly my girls left them alone), and even a couple Olafs. You could give them scoops, mini shovels, or cups with which to play. Again, sit back, and let the kids do their thing!
A dramatic play area for kids to act out whatever they desire, is incredible for fostering imagination and creativity. Since we haven’t see much snow this year, I wanted to create a winter snow cave indoors. The girls just happened to get a blue tee-pee for Christmas, but if you browse Pinterest, there are a bunch of “cool” ideas. The simplest I saw was to paint or wrap large boxes white and make a large snow fort. Provide them with a basket of scarves, mittens, and hats. Make a fake fire for them to keep warm. Get a mini snow shovel and throw some batting (white stuffing at a fabric store) as fake snow for the kids to shovel like this. You could even make a fake ice skating area like they did here.
We’re going to hope for warm park weather, but until then, we’re prepared to have fun indoors!