I live in northern Illinois, where right now, there is close to two feet of snow on the ground! It’s been a while since we’ve seen so much snow, but hey, we shouldn’t be surprised. The Arctic Jet Stream often blasts us with some deep freeze temperatures and brings a LOT of snow with it. Anyway, it’s tempting to huddle inside and binge on YouTube videos or social media after lessons are over. But, too much screen watching and social media is unhealthy. Why not spend some unplugged time together instead? You could try a family game night or indoor scavenger hunt. Or, try one of these fun winter activities, some of which help you get the benefits of playing outdoors, even in winter.
Unplugged Fun Winter Activities Your Kids Will Love
Make icicle art.
This idea uses food coloring and ice to create unique patterns as the ice melts. You can make different colored ice cubes. Then, cover a cookie sheet with thick white paper. Arrange the ice cubes on the paper and watch what happens as they melt. This might present an opportunity to learn about chromatography and the light/color spectrum.
Learn about the winter solstice.
Did you that the solstices and equinoxes–astronomical events–are used to determine when the seasons change? It says in Genesis 1 that God put the stars in the sky to mark the passing of days, seasons, and years. You can use My Seasons Book or Kid’s Almanac to record what you learn about the winter solstice. What stars are in the sky? How high over the horizon does the sun rise? Why is the shortest day of the year? Maybe you might also explore some cultural myths about the winter solstice. It is traditionally associated with hope since the days grow progressively longer afterwards.
Investigate freezing points of different liquids.
At room temperature, many substances are liquid. But, some become solid in the refrigerator and some don’t even freeze in our kitchen freezers! So, another of the winter activities is to experiment with different freezing points. At what other time of year could you leave substances outdoors to test freezing points? Here are some ideas: coconut oil, water, olive oil, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, molasses, maple syrup, and/or honey. Take notes about the behavior of these substances and unique qualities they have. Also consider any patterns. Do oils behave the same? Sugars from nature? How could you use this information?
Blow bubbles outdoors.
This winter activity is super fun to watch. In summer time, the beautiful swirling bubbles blow away and pop just a bit too quickly. In winter, because of the cold, they linger and crystalize. After all, they are made of water and soap, so if it’s cold enough, they rapidly freeze. Try it! It’s amazing!
One of my favorite winter activities: Bake bread together.
Have you ever made home made bread? You don’t need a bread machine, just a basic bread recipe and a loaf pan. You can even change it up and make mini loaves, pretzels, or bagels. This is a favorite because, during those long winter days, it’s a great way to bond and pass time. It’s also super easy to do and there’s nothing quite like a fresh, warm loaf of bread straight from the oven. You can even make gluten free loaves using spelt flour. Winter is also the best time for this because it really heats up your kitchen!