As I recently sat at my kitchen table and perused the photos I took last summer, I was reminded of carefree days playing with my children in the warm, sunny outdoors. But I was soon brought back to reality by howling cries of, "It's mine!" coming from my toddler as she argued over a toy with a playmate. Gloomy thoughts clouded my mind of the cold winter days that lie ahead, sure to bring long hours of little kids trapped inside the house, bored from looking at the same toys hour after hour, day after day.
Not content to suffer from cabin fever with cranky kids, I have decided to look "Old Man Winter" right in the eye and be prepared with a packet of art projects, fun activities, and entertaining stuff for my kids and me to do during winter days when it's just too cold to get out. After digging through years of lesson plans saved from when I was teaching, I found these great projects I know my kids will love—and I bet yours will, too.
Anyone can buy a set of name-brand finger paints, but why not add to the fun by having the kids help make your own set of paints? They're so easy! Here's what you need:
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 cups cold water
- Food coloring
Mix the first two ingredients and then add the water. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until everything is well blended. Divide the mixture into four or five portions and add a different food coloring to each, plus a pinch of detergent to facilitate cleaning up.
Shaving Cream Paint
This is a great, clean painting activity that provides a tactile experience for little ones. It's also easy to clean up and doesn't leave anything to keep in the end. You'll need the following supplies:
- Baking sheets (enough for each child and preferably with sides)
- Shaving cream—not gel! Inexpensive brands are just fine.
- Food coloring
- A smock for each child
Put a smock on each child. Place a baking sheet in front of each child's seat. Squirt shaving cream on each baking sheet. Add food coloring for added excitement and let 'em at it! Not only will your children enjoy spreading the foam as well as writing and drawing in it with their fingers, they'll be clean when they're all done. They'll also enjoy watching the color spread throughout the foam as they play. You can even add a second color for additional amazement.