Winter can present a challenge to having fun outdoors. Last week we talked about going for a Winter Walk. This week we want to share with you this gem we found at our friends over at the National Wildlife Federation.
Check out their fun ideas for:
- Playing in the snow beyond sledding. Mini luge anyone?
- Spying on frozen foliage.
- Family Winter Olympics
What fun ideas do you have for getting outdoors with your family?
When we think of going on a walk with our children, we usually think of nice Summer days or the crisp days of Autumn. Winter, however, can provide a unique experience for bonding with nature and your kids. We recently went on a winter walk with our kids at a small gem in the heart of Chicago – North Park Village Nature Center. This amazing nature center includes a 46 acre nature preserve and an educational facility. If we could find this piece of heaven in the midst of busy Chicago, we are sure everyone can find somewhere in their city for their nature walk.
What you need:
- Notebook and Pen
- Warm clothes
- A curious mind
What to do:
- Bundle up for your walk. We highly suggest layers.
- For moms with babies, we love using a baby carrier. It keeps them close and snuggly warm and it is easier for you to engage with baby as you point things out on your walk.
- Take photos of your walk. Capture special spots that your children liked.
- Take the time to explain to them what is going on. For example the trees and grass at the nature center were brown. We talked about how nature is “sleeping” (yes, we did work in the importance of nap time for everyone – even the trees!) and during this sleep time, the trees are still very much alive and preparing to bloom. We found the deer hiding in the trees and talked about their brown “coats” helping them to blend in with the trees and grass.
- Print out your photos and put them in a notebook. Have your child write a little memory of the picture. i.e. – I liked the deer or I learned that even though the pond is frozen, there are still fish living under the ice.
- Go on the same nature walk for every season. Take pictures in those same spots and teach your children how nature changes for every season.
Your holiday celebrations have come and gone, but your holiday cheer doesn’t have to leave with the holidays. You and your children will have fun with this easy wreath craft that isn’t just for the holidays!
What you will need:
- Non-toxic paint
- Newspaper to cover the surface you are working on
- 2 Paper plates
- Scissors (used by adult)
- Tape/ non-toxic glue
- White art paper
What to do:
- Poor some finger paint on a paper plate
- Cut white paper into a circle that is about half inch bigger than the paper plate
- Dip your baby’s hand or have your child put his/her own hand in finger paint
- Place hand-prints on white paper & rotate them around the circle to give the effect of leaves. If you want to make a holiday wreath, use red & green paints. If you want to do a New Year’s wreath use gold & silver. If you want to do a summer wreath use blue & yellow paints. Be creative!
- Let paint dry.
- Glue or tape the circle to the plate. You can fasten it with a 2-prong fastener & a sticker like we did in the photo.
- Cut the ribbon to the length you want to hang the wreath.
- Tape ribbon to back of plate.
Homemade gifts during the holiday season are the perfect way for a child to show parents, grandparents, and even siblings, how important they are! These fun holiday crafts are kid-friendly and super easy!
- Photo Frame Ornament: Glue 8 Popsicle sticks together (2 per side) to make a photo frame. Adhere a yarn loop to the top of the frame and decorate as desired (we used macaroni noodles and glitter)! Once the frame is fully decorated, glue down the photo
- Calendars: Many craft stores sell blank calendars that can be filled with fun family photos and memories. For a more personalized touch, write in birthdays and anniversaries!
- Coupon Books: Creating a coupon book is a fun gift for both the child and recipient!
- Decorate a Mug: Most craft stores also sell mug decorating kits for kids. Now grandma will think of her grandson or granddaughter every morning when she drinks her coffee!
- Butterfly Magnet: Glue a small sized photo of the child’s face onto a clothespin. Using leftover paper (or even wallpaper), cut out wings and glue onto the clothespin. Finally, adhere a magnet to the back of the clothespin to finish this cute butterfly!
Once your child has made their gifts for the whole family, they can even wrap them in handmade wrapping paper. Simply take a roll of plan white or brown paper and have them finger paint, or stamp a fun holiday pattern.
Turn your home into a winter wonderland with this easy holiday craft. Your kids will love creating festive holiday designs for the windows (and any glass surface!) that can be used for years to come!
What You Will Need:
- Non-Toxic Fabric or Puffy Paint
- Large Plastic Bags (Be sure to supervise children to avoid suffocation)
What to Do:
1. Using the fabric or puffy paint, draw your holiday designs and creations onto a large plastic bag. Draw the details first, such as the snowman’s nose, buttons and eyes and then shade in the area around it to ensure that the snowman will be visible from both sides of the window.
2. Let the paint dry overnight.
3. Once the paint has completely dried, carefully remove the designs from the plastic bag and start decorating your windows!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and with the increase of yummy foods and decorations, come holiday hazards for your children. Check your house for these common holiday hazards:
- Candles – Candles on the mantle, within a wreath or in the menorah are a special part of everyone’s holiday celebration. They can easily become a fire hazard if the are knocked over or pulled down by curious children. Prevent an accident by using battery-operated flameless candles. There are some very “real” looking flameless candles that can add to your celebrations without the flame. Also be sure to check that your smoke detectors are working correctly.
- Poinsettias, English Ivy, Mistletoe - Holiday plants are pretty, but also harmful if eaten. These potentially poisoning plants can cause diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, etc. If your child shows any of these symptoms or is inappropriately sleepy, call the poison center. Keep these plants out of your child’s and pet’s reach.
- Holiday Trees – Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, how flammable are your branches! Dry trees and overloaded circuits can cause fires. It takes only 3 – 5 seconds for a tree to go up in flames. Prevent this from happening in your home by making sure your tree is fresh and watered properly. Never place your tree near a radiator or other heat source. Check your holiday lights for frayed wires before putting them on the tree. Also make sure your tree is securely fastened in the stand so it doesn’t tip over especially when curious toddlers try to pull on it.
- Shiny Presents - Toys abound during holiday season and so do accidents when children play with toys that are not appropriate for their age. Be sure to keep gifts for older kids out of your younger child’s reach. Nobody wants to spend the holidays in the ER because of a choking accident.
- Ornaments – They are bright, beautiful and dangerous to children. Tiny ornaments and hooks can easily become a choking hazard. Fragile ornaments can break and cut your child’s face or hands. It’s best to keep lights and ornaments off the lower branches of your tree to avoid accidents.
The best prevention to holiday hazards? Adult supervision. Be sure to keep an eye on your little one so your holidays can remain cheery and bright.
What holiday safety tips do you have to share?
You have a laundry list of things to prepare before you serve Thanksgiving dinner, you have company milling around and your kids are saying they are bored. What to do? You can have your kids feel part of your Thanksgiving preparations, by giving you a helping hand!
Have your kids make the decorations for the table. They can make napkin holders, place holders, placemats or a variety of other fun table decorations. We love the crafts our own Kolcraft fans have made for our Thanksgiving contest & think your kids will enjoy them too.
Let your child lend a hand in the kitchen with small tasks like mashing the potatoes, helping measure ingredients, snapping the ends off green beans or setting the timer for the turkey.
Setting the table:
Help your child feel special by setting the table: folding napkins, putting out the silverware (adults should put out the knives), serving-ware, etc. Your table will take on the unique feel of your child’s decorative eye.
What tips do you have for involving your children in your Thanksgiving preparations?
While it may seem like we just finished Trick or Treating with our children, Thanksgiving really is next week! We wanted to share with you an easy craft to do with your children and decorate your Thanksgiving Table.
What you’ll need:
- Toilet paper tubes (the amount depends on the amount of guests)
- Construction paper
- A black marker
How to make this Thanksgiving Craft
- Cover a toilet paper roll with black construction paper
- Glue a smaller patch with pink construction paper to form a face.
- Trace and cut a collar (as pictured) on white constructions paper. Glue the collar under the pink construction paper.
- Cut a square on black construction paper to form the base of the hat. Cut a strip and glue the ends together to form a circle and the hat.
- Draw the face and buttons on your pilgrim.
- Write the name of a guest on any colored paper and glue it to the hat
The Native American:
- Cover a toilet paper roll with beige (in this case we used orange) construction paper
- Glue a smaller patch with pink construction paper to form a face.
- Cut a strip of black construction and also cut fringe on one side of the strip to create hair. Glue on top of the pink construction paper
- Trace and cut feathers on other colors of construction paper
- Write the name of a guest on one of the feathers and attach it to the top of the roll.
This is one idea we have for a Thanksgiving craft, but we are also interested in seeing your crafts. Enter our Thanksgiving Craft contest for a chance to win $75 for holiday shopping! Enter here.
It is that most wonderful time of the year when we indulge in family, food and festivity. Kolcraft would like to help out with the expenses that come with this most wonderful time of the year by having a fun, Thanksgiving craft contest.
What to do:
- With the following supplies, make a Thanksgiving craft.
- You can only use the listed supplies to make your craft. You don’t have to use all the supplies, but you can’t add any.
- Your craft can take on any Thanksgiving theme and can be decorative or functional.
- Feel free to have your children help and note that when you enter the contest.
- Take a photo of your Thanksgiving creation & add it to Kolcraft’s facebook page.
- Entries will be judged on creativity and thoughtfulness.
- Contest ends at midnight CST next Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011.
- A winner will be announced on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011.
Supplies you can use:
- Empty toilet paper or paper towel tube
- Black marker
- Pipe cleaner (any color)
- Orange felt
- Yellow construction paper
- Red, green, brown crayons
- Googly eyes
- Glitter (any color)
- Glue, tape, and scissors
Have fun! We can’t wait to see your Thanksgiving Craft.
As the leaves begin to slowly change and fall off the trees, it’s the perfect time to get outdoors for these fun fall activities the whole family will enjoy this weekend!
- Apple picking can be fun for the whole family and is a great way to teach kids about the importance of good nutrition. Some orchards and farms even have fun hay rides.
- As the sun goes down and the weather gets cooler, gather family around a warm fire and make yummy s’mores.
- Bundle up and head to your nearest state park for a nature hike. Hiking is a fun way to explore nature and stay active as a family.
- It’s not too late to have a fun family camping adventure in your own backyard before the winter frost hits (Link to camping post).
What fun fall activities are you doing with your family this weekend?