Winter weather can be challenging for kids (and parents) especially if you are stuck inside all day. However, with a little imagination, you can turn traditional winter indoor and outdoor activities into engaging literacy experiences that will spark children’s creativity so they can beat the winter blahs!
Who doesn’t love a snowball fight? If there’s no snow outside, then bring the “snow” inside and have a “snowball” fight. The snowballs are made out of crumpled up pieces of white construction or regular letter paper. Write a letter (or word) on the piece of paper and crumple it up into a ball. Make sure each child has at least 10 balls of paper. Set a timer for 1 minute and throw the balls at each other. When the time is up, children pick up a ball, unwrap it, and read what is on the paper. Repeat until all “snowballs” have been picked up.
This is a very simple game that can be modified for many different ages and levels by changing what you write on the snowball:
Pre-K and K: (letter recognition and letter sounds) Write a letter of the alphabet on the snowball. Name the letter and its sound.
1st and 2nd: (sight words) Write sight words on the snowballs. Read the word.
3rd and Up: (study skills) Write a vocabulary word/concept on one side of the paper and its definition on the other side. Name the word that matches the concept/definition and/or give the definition/concept for the word depending on what side is unwrapped.
Go to the Movies at Home
Sometimes, there’s nothing better on a cold day than watching a movie in a dark, warm movie theater. If it's too cold to go outside or you are stuck inside, why not turn your living room into your own movie theater? Pop some popcorn or bake some cookies, make some hot chocolate, curl up on the couch with lots of blankets and watch a family movie (or television show) together.
You can turn this into a literacy experience by trying the following activities after you have watched the movie:
Pre-K and K: (comprehension) Fold a large piece of construction paper into 3 columns. Write Beginning, Middle and End at the top of each column. Draw a picture in each column that shows what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story.
1st and 2nd: (comprehension, oral speaking) Write a short movie review including a star rating, favorite part or least favorite part and whether or not they would recommend it to a friend. Share the reviews with the family and practice speaking skills.
3rd and Up: (comprehension, making personal connections to the story) Rewrite the ending of the movie. Involve the rest of the family and act it out and then vote on which ending you like best.These activities will help keep your family warm, engaged and motivated even on the coldest of winter days!