I love the winter. I think it's because we spent so much time in Colorado when I was growing up. The mountains provide great opportunities for winter fun - skiing, hiking, sledding. It's hard to stay inside, even when it's cold out. Even if you don't live in a "mountain state", there are still tons of wonderful things to do with your little ones outside. Don't let the cold stop you from taking advantage of these great brain building opportunities. Plus, some fantastic kids snow wear is on clearance now in the stores. I saw a snow suit set (snow pants and warm coat) for only $30 - it had been $110! It will keep your little one comfy cozy and not break the bank.
Bundle your baby up and take him out in the snow. Kids are fascinated by snow and love to see it, taste it and touch it. Depending on your child's age, there are lots of great experiences to give him:
- Touching and scrunching snow. Even tiny ones will be interested to touch snow. Put a small amount in their hand and tell them that it is snow, that is is cold and it is white. If you put too much in his hand, it may be too cold and he'll cry. He may cry anyway. That's ok. Move on to something else or go back inside if he's really unhappy.
- Making snow angels. Do you remember doing this as a kid? It's fantastic! If your tiny one is walking, you can help her plop down in the snow and move her arms and legs. You can do it as well to show her how. It's great fun for big people too. Take a picture of that tiny snow angel next to your big one. It's a guaranteed smile generator if you're having a challenging day.
- Tasting snow. It's fun to taste snow. My daughter who is 2 and a half constantly wants to go outside to "taste some snow, Momma." For tiny ones, you can put a small amount in their mouth and tell them that it is snow and it is cold. Some babies will like this, some will not. Go with what works for you.
- Looking at icy wonders. Nature provides some beautiful art during the winter months and kids love seeing it. Find frozen branches and point them out to your child. Explain that the water froze on the branch when it rained/snowed. Let them touch it. Find pretty ice patterns and point them out to your child. Explain what ice is.
- Catching snowflakes on your tongue. Most babies won't be able to master this, but it's still fun to try. Show your baby how to do it and watch them try to imitate you. It's a blast for kids and parents.
As you give your baby more and more new experiences through textures, colors and temperatures, you are helping him categorize the new experiences into his rapidly growing neurological system and brain. Even if he is too little to talk, he is still having the experience of new sites and sounds. One of the most important parts of any activity is talking to your baby and explaining what is going on. Use all kinds of words. Reserach shows that talking to your baby all the time is one of the best things you can do to help build their brain. Always remember to bundle up warm and toasty and closely supervise your little ones outside. Head outside and have fun!