The Perfect Amount of Snow

I’ve heard people complaining – sarcastic comments like “It’s snowing again.  Just what we need – more snow.”  Personally I think we have the perfect amount of snow.

The tunnel under the hill looks like this;

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I usually clear the snow away from the entrances to the tunnel but on one inservice day the school-age children built up the snow there to create a ‘jail’.  I didn’t want to disturb their structure so I left it and more snow has accumulated there.  The school-age children would no longer be able to get inside the tunnel but some of the preschoolers can and love it;

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The path through the garden is terrific;

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Not at all like it was in February 2012;

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That was just a pathetic amount of snow.

However, in 2011 we had far too much snow even for me and I like snow.  In 2011 I nearly ran out of places to put the snow and the garden looked like this;

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Too much snow in 2011. Too little snow in 2012.  The perfect amount of snow in 2013 🙂

The Forgotten Activity

During the bitterly cold period when our outdoor time was limited I decided to bring a little ‘Spring Time’ into our indoor environment. We started with a small planter and added rocks for drainage;

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The soil was next – so smooth and soft compared to those rocks;

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Grass seeds are prickly;

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We pushed them down into the soil;

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We added a little water and then I placed the planter on a shelf in the sunroom – out of reach of the cats.

And then we forgot about it.

Seriously!  The weather warmed up and we spent many hours outdoors playing in the snow.  We got busy and completely forgot about this activity until one day when my husband asked “What are you planning to do with that grass?”

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I quickly brought the planter down so the children could see and feel;

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Even when we forgot to watch Mother Nature was busy doing her job 🙂

Sorting Colours

The children and I have enjoyed painting the snow, decorating the yard with coloured ice and hunting for colours in the playroom.  More recently we tried a new colour game.

I started with the colour wheel again – this time using a circular container with six outer sections and one center section.  I filled the center section with pom poms and gave the children tongs – a fine motor challenge.

Some of the children eagerly started using the tongs to sort the pom poms into the appropriate sections;

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The younger ones spent a long time examining the tongs trying to understand this new tool.  At first they used them to simply ‘stir’ the pom poms.

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When they wanted to join in the sorting they abandoned the tongs and used just their hands instead.

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Some of the group felt this activity was over once all the pom poms were sorted.  They quickly moved off to another area of the playroom to do something else.  Two of them spent much longer here – sorting pom poms over and over again.

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With tongs or without, one time or more,  I introduced the activity but the rest was up to them.

Indoors & Out

We’ve endured some frigid weather in the last month.  Some days with the windchill it has felt like -45C.  Our daily trek down to the end of the street to meet the school bus has been daunting.

Luckily my back yard is sheltered from the wind so it has not felt as cold as the open areas and we have played outside for all but one day.  The children are dressed appropriately for the weather and do not complain – in fact, some of them are disappointed when I say it is time to go in.

On the coldest days we’ve stayed outside for only about 20 minutes.  Our ‘extra’ indoor time was used to explore what happens when we put paint and paper in a salad spinner and spin;

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or shake if you prefer;

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We’ve also investigated a bin full of bird seed;

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However, we still prefer to be outside – discovering how slippery the old cookie sheets get when they are cold.  Some enjoy ‘skating’ on them;

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Others take them to the little hill and try to ‘snowboard’;

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Some have tried using the pipes to ‘ski’ down the slope;

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The wok toboggan is another option – love that it has handles so friends can help out;

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So, indoors or out, we’ve been busy.

Colour Hunt

I’m not totally against the use of bright primary colours for children’s toys but they can become overwhelming.  Whenever possible I will choose to buy products with more neutral colours – earth tones are my favourite.  Still, many of the toys here were purchased long ago like this old standby;

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Toys like these are useful for activities involving patterns, shapes, sizes and of course colour.  But there is one missing.  Here too, one colour is neglected;

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In a colour wheel there are three primary colours – red, blue and yellow.  There are also three secondary colours – green, orange, and purple.  Why is there no purple in either of these sets of toys?  I find this annoying.

In our set of puzzle people purple was included – but this time the manufacturers neglected to include orange.

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Luckily I found some baskets that had primary colours;

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And all three secondary colours too;

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Perfect. Now we can hunt for colours.  Everyone pick a basket, search the playroom, and find items that match your basket.

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Some baskets were too full to carry;

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This was just one of the colour activities we enjoyed this week.