Winter Train Table Sensory Play

Just because you haven’t gotten any snow doesn’t mean your kids can’t play with it! We are lucky enough to have a train table that my dad made ( he’s been hacking Ikea since before it was hip) and this week we took some time to play with pretend snow . This is a wonderful multi- age sensory activity and worked great for my 5 year old son and 18 month old daughter, they each explored and played learning different things but having the same amount of fun.

 

  1. Gather your materials. We used our train table , extra trains and some cotton balls. If you don’t have a train table grab a bath mat, large shallow bin or just a coffee table and set up some trains or trucks then add in the “snow”.
  2. Start by being a little goofy and pretending to be clouds that are snowing . Give the kids the cotton balls and let them decide where the snow goes. I talked to my son about weather, asked him to look outside and tell me if he thought it would snow today in our yard. For my daughter we focused on the color white and the word “soft” feeling the soft cotton balls in our hands and on our faces.
  3. Play.  This is where some kids and many parents ( and even teachers) clam up. Now what? Here are some things we did that were fun.
  4. My son pretended to be delivering snow from one end of the train table to the other and we counted the snow as we loaded up the train, and then the pile when we dropped it off. 
  5. My daughter had a ball putting the snow into the little train house , through the windows. Hello, fine motor and hand eye coordination practice!
  6. We made a blizzard.
  7. We pretended to be the wind and blowed the snow.
  8. And more play.  What I loved so much about this was that it made the train table feel new again and we played with it and the snow on and off for days.

Books About Trains

Freight Train by Donald Crewes. Donald Crews’ Freight Train is a classic book.  It is rather simplistic in nature, but it is good for the younger train fans as it talks about the different kinds of freight cars and teaches about colors. My son loved this book at 2 and will still grab it at the library and read it when we are there three years later.

Tracks by David Galef and Tedd Arnold is a hilarious book about a man named Arnold who is in charge of directing the crew who lays down the train tracks.  Arnold’s glasses break, and his vision becomes a bit skewed.  What will the mayor think of this wacky track?  You’ve got to read it and find out!

Terrific Trains by Tony Mitton is another great book. My parents bought my son this whole set and at first I was sceptical of it just because it is a set and I guess I judged a book my it’s cover because I love all the books in the set. They are informative, fun, have great rhyming text and my son will sit for them and often requests them at bedtime too!

Snowflake Craft For Toddlers

snowflake crafts

You know that stage when everything gets thrown off tables? Bins get dumped? Nativity scenes get wiped out in a single visit from Baby-zilla? Yeah we are knee deep in that right now. It’s fun. This is a really simple classic craft but with a few tricks you can save yourself cleaning up gobs of glue from the floor, your baby’s mouth or hair.  As you can see she loved making this snowflake craft for toddlers and points to it and asks me to hold her up to touch it in the window daily.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cotton balls, glue, a dish, a paint brush ( pretty wide like an inch or so) and some construction paper. I used 2 pieces one to glue the cotton balls onto and one to use as a backing to make it strong enough to hang it up.
  2. Start by pouring some white glue in a small dish.
  3. Paint the glue onto the paper in the shape of a snowflake.
  4. Add kiddo and cotton balls.
  5. Because the glue is so thin the cotton balls stick but if they pick it back up there won’t be a ton of glue on it.  I rotated the paper as she filled up each arm of the snowflake.
  6. Lable the textures as they explore and make the snowflake- soft, sticky glue , rough ( or smooth) paper.
  7. Let dry and cut around the snowflake and glue onto the 2nd page if you need some extra strength.  Hang up where your little one can see their awesome creation.  snowflake crafts for kids

Books About Snow

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Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll is a cute winter book that holds a fantastic message inside. The book tells the story of a snowman making contest in Mouseville, two little mice work so hard by themselves but it’s just not enough until they join forces. Competition is not a bad thing but sometimes cooperation is even better, I really like this book.

 

Hole Punch Snowflakes

by Kim

Making snowflakes isn’t a new craft. I love to try different ways of doing traditional activities. When Iwas young my mom and I would make snowflakes like this. So I had to do this with my son.

You will just need paper, hole punch and scissors.

Fold the paper into a triangle.

Give your child the hole punch and the triangles. Just let them punch away.

You will need to make sure that you don’t fold the paper too much or you may encounter this…

Cole made random punches on the first snowflake, but as he started the second one I asked if he coulduse the hole punch to make a hole that was a line. He looked at me funny for a second, then you could see the light bulb go off. He really got into making clusters and lines.

The end result was a window full of beautiful snowflakes. Now I have passed down this activity to the next generation and I guess we have a new tradition in our house.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Snow Science Experiment for Kids

science experiments for kids

We were actually snowed in a few weeks back but considering my Twitter stream was packed with tweets about snow days I thought I’d  better post this now while so many of you have snow ( It can also be done with ice if you are short on snow). My son loved this and it’s the type of activity that adjusts seamlessly to different ages and abilities.The goal is to answer the question : Where does snow melt the fastest in your house? And why? This is a great simple science experiment for kids!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some small bowls or containers, a stop watch or clock,a measuring cup,  large piece of paper, and marker.
  2. Start by making a chart with 4 columns : Container #, Place, Prediction, Result. If your child can help write encourage them to.
  3. Number your containers, decide where you will place them and make your time predictions. I had my son go to each room and think about how long it would take the based on how warm each was.
  4. Go outside and gather some snow! Don’t forget to put about the same amount in each container .
  5. Put them in different spots around your house.
  6. Start the timer.
  7. Enter your results.
  8. Discuss the results. It was cold in our garage it wasn’t until bedtime that the snow was all water!  Since doing this a few weeks ago my son has made many mentions about our cold garage.

Have a little one not ready for this yet? Try ice cube painting .