The kiddos really enjoyed the winter sensory activities Mary Poppins and I had out recently. Actually, they ended up enjoying the bins a little too much! Let me share what happens “when preschoolers go wild”!
Are you following Fun-A-Day’s Winter Pinterest board?
Related: Winter Activities for Preschoolers
Winter Sensory Activities
At this age, kids love getting the chance to explore their senses. And sometimes, that can be hard to incorporate in the winter. So, that’s why I wanted to share this activity with you all!
Winter Sensory Activity Materials
First, you’ll need to gather the materials. Luckily, you don’t need much for the experiment and sensory play activities. Here’s what we used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Blue water beads
- Clear water beads
- Ice trays
- Cooking oil
- Freezer Bags
- Instant snow
- Measuring cups
- Small arctic animal toys
- Other toys of choice
Setting up the Winter Sensory Experiment
We began the week with blue and clear water beads, along with ice cubes. Some of the children had never played with water beads, so they were fascinated by the shape and texture. The ice added a different element, making the water beads feel colder. The ice also acted as a contrasting texture when compared to the water beads, which some children mentioned right away.
Mary Poppins and I spoke with the children about how animals like polar bears have an extra layer of fat that keeps them warm during the winter. To let the kids experience this, we put cooking oil in two sealed baggies. The kids put one hand between the oil-filled baggies, and one hand went directly into the water. This experiment worked very well to show how insulating fat can be . . . . . . at least until one of the children opened the bag of oil. Then we ended up with oil in the water beads, oil on the floor (thank goodness we had the tarp down), and even some oil on a nearby bulletin board.
While I wanted to give the kiddos the benefit of the doubt, it became rather obvious that one of them had done it on purpose. However, I didn’t see what happened, so I just reminded the children about listening, following directions, and treating our school supplies nicely. I poured some Dawn dish soap in the oily water beads, added water, and let that sit overnight. As Mary Poppins pointed out, it was a nice example of how to clean up oil spills!
The next day, we left the cleaned up water beads in one side of the discovery center. The other side housed fake snow, since the children had so much fun playing with it a few weeks ago. Throughout the rest of the week, the kiddos continued to have fun in the discovery center. In addition to measuring, pouring, touching, and observing, the kiddos also squeezed the life out of some of the water beads. This led to an odd gelatinous substance in part of our discovery center, and not all of the children enjoyed that experience! From there, the children decided it would be a great idea to mix the water beads and the “snow”. This turned everything into an even more cringe-inducing consistency, but some of the kids liked it.
Honestly, I couldn’t be that upset with them for fully exploring the discovery center materials! That’s what that center is all about, and it’s a child’s job to explore the world around her. I was a little unhappy about our preschool “oil spill” because that wasn’t following directions, but everything else was fine. Yes, it was rather messy and a little gross . . . but, again, isn’t that part of the fun of a sensory/discovery center?! 🙂
What are some discovery/sensory activities you’ve done that have gone way off course? I’d love to hear about them! I would also love to hear about the winter sensory activities that were a big hit with the kiddos!
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week while balancing other teaching responsibilities and a personal life can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
This snow and ice themed sensory activity was such a blast. If you liked it, make sure to check out Preschool Teacher 101’s snow and ice themed resources!
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