|Why is there SNOW on my swing?!!|
|Can I just sit here and pout until spring??|
Most of the other children in our playgroups have adapted to winter slightly better than this, but we still had battles with cold hands and feet, and I wouldn't say the kids were exactly rolling around in the snow, laughing, and declaring - yay, winter!! What to do? Enter: Bootcamp - Operation Learn to LOVE snow! I knew I had to go big, go bold, and do something amazingly fun if I was going to remind or teach a bunch of small children that winter could actually be FUN. What followed next was a long research project on my part, reading every website I could find on outdoor winter games. I also put my own creativity to use and created several new games that I'm pretty sure are original ideas unless somebody else out there is making their kids do burpies in the snow while reading story books to them.
|Story Book Burpies (Original Game from Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies)|
Below are some of the most successful games we played in our two toddler bootcamps this winter. I'd love to hear your favourites after so leave a comment if you've tried any of these or plan to try some of the new ones.
|Having Fun in the Snow|
Story book BurpiesA classic bootcamp "favourite!" Children sit on the ground as you read them a story from a picture book about winter. The book needs to feature the word snow a LOT. Every time you read the word snow, the kids jump up in the air yelling SNOW! They then fall down on the ground on their stomachs, and return to sitting as you continue the story.
Objective: Kids will be on the ground, in the snow, touching it, faces inches from it, and embracing it. They will also have to get up off the ground to play the game - good practice for times when they slip and fall down in the snow. This game teaches them to get up when they fall down. It teaches them that they can touch the snow and that yes, their hands are not broken!
|Reading a book on SNOW to the kids as they prepare to jump up in the air.|
Classic Children's Games
- Red Light Green Light - normal rules apply. For an extra challenge, play it on hands and knees
- Simon Says - Simon says: Make a snow angel. Simon Says: Jump up and down like a frog. Simon Says: Slither in the snow like a snake. (lots of opportunities to get them intimate with the snowy ground)
- What Time is it Mr. Wolf - I alter this game so instead of saying it's One O'clock, I say it's one giant bunny hop, two slithering snake moves, three frog hops, four baby crawls, etc.
|Simon Says: Make a Snow Angel|
Snow SoccerEverybody loves soccer so why not play it outside in the snow. The twist? I brought a big exercise ball out and that was our soccer ball. The kids were falling down all over the place in the snow as they tried to kick and push it around the field. It was awesome watching them fall down, get up, and laugh! Actually laughing instead of crying. We did discover though that with preschoolers, it's best to set up a giant circle and just take turns kicking or pushing the ball across the circle to the other children. There were too many fights over the ball when we tried to make an actual game of it.
Objective: Another fun game that will get the kids running through the snow and give them opportunities to practice falling and getting up again.
|Snow Soccer with a Giant Fitness Ball|
Sled RacesThis was a fun one and gave the parents a bit of a bootcamp workout of their own! We all brought sleds and had races pulling our kids up a small hill, around a tree, and then back down to the finish line. The kids loved the game, had a blast racing down the hill against their friends, and the moms were all laughing! Everybody had fun with this one. My son even let another girl ride on his sled with him - major victory! (this is where I'd hash tag #HatesToShareSled.)
Objective: Fun. Pure and simple fun. Who doesn't love a good sled ride? To modify the game for older kids, you could also have them pull each other or try to pull the adults. I think that would be a riot to watch!
|Run, Run, Run|
|Learning to share his sled|
Snowball fightsWhile not a part of our bootcamp, we did try this one day on another outdoor play date as a diversion from cross country skiing. I thought preschoolers would get upset at getting hit by snowballs but the kids had a lot of fun trying to make snowballs and trying to aim them at their friends (or parents.) We built little snow forts and it was a great way to get the kids down in the snow on their knees, crawling around, playing, and having fun. As prep for this one, read books about snowball fights. We did this a few times before we took it outside.
Objective: Learning to play with snow, build with snow, and have fun with it.
|Who doesn't love a good snowball fight?|
We had a lot of fun learning to love snow with our children and I hope these games will be a hit with your children too, whether they already love snow or need a bit of encouragement as my child did. I still have another 20+ games on my list that we hope to try out over the winter so watch for sequels to this post. I've also been working on another list of ski, snowshoe, and skating games. Watch for those games to find their way to my website soon too. I've got a great story coming in the next couple weeks on DIY - Teach Your Child to Skate.
|Winter is Fun - Embrace It!|