We are having a cold spell of weather at the minute, and lots of places have had some snow fall. Exploring at this time of year is exciting, and ideal for natural learning, just make sure the children are wrapped up warm. You can of course help guide things along, but left alone you may find that children just find things out and explore for themselves, just be prepared to answer questions.
Children may naturally find some small bits of ice, if not have a hunt and try to find some, watch what happens to it at different parts of the day, or when you hold it etc. Ideal for nice science discussions about freezing points, liquids, solids etc. Even young children will pick up the basics and it is fascinating. If you can’t find any ice, put some water outside and see what happens to it.
It’s also a good time to naturally chat about larger expanses of ice, and the dangers of not walking on it. Particularly if you are out and about and see frozen ponds or similar.
Frost is another fascinating and very pretty feature at this time of year. Frost on the grass in the morning is so lovely and delicate. It’s actually a hoar frost, the air cools and water condenses onto the grass.
While outside have a look at your breath, blow out into the air. If it’s cold enough outside your breath will look like smoke, compare it with your breath inside, in a warm building. Contained in the air you breath out are small drops of water, held as water vapour, so small you don’t normally see them, although they are always there even in the warm room. Outside in the cold the water drops go from warm to cold and the water vapour condenses, resulting in the cloud of breath we see.
If you are lucky enough to get some snow, why not make a snow angel, most people know how to do it, lay in the snow on your back, move your arms up and down to make the wings, and open and close your legs to make the angel’s skirt.
Have a look at the snow through a magnifying glass, pop it on some black paper and have a look at the lovely six sided shapes and patterns. They are all pretty much unique, and very beautiful.
Of course you can also have fun making traditional snowmen and snowballs, or maybe try a different character, a snow rabbit or cat? You can also use a spare plastic container like an old ice cream tub or margarine container. Compact the snow into the container firmly, then tip it out, you have just made snow bricks which you can make to construct things, if you have enough you could try an igloo.
If snow has been forecast, we use the radar service on netweather, you can watch and see if the snow is headed for you, or which other parts of the country are getting snow. Just looking at this site sparks off lots of conversations about geography about different parts of the UK, the direction the weather is moving in, talk of north, south, east and west etc. You do have to pay a small amount to see the radar but there is something addictive about it, for children and adults alike!