By Meredith Lamothe, Early Childhood, Literacy & Humanities Coordinator
It's a great time for some literacy fun!
I had a lovely snow day today—snuggled into my apartment with my sleepy pup, catching up on work, and sipping coffee—it was so relaxing. I couldn't help but think of the snow days when I was a kid and how different a snow day is now that I'm an adult.
It was always exciting to have a surprise day home from school. The morning would be a whirlwind of “helping” shovel (aka my brother and I throwing snow at each other with our shovels), making pancakes and hot cocoa, sledding, building forts and snow-people, chasing each other around and subsequently destroying the pristine, beautiful, winter wonderland from the storm the night before. Sounds like a full day of fun, no? We would usually finish all of these activities before noon and then start complaining to my parents that we were SOOOOO BOREDDDDDDDD!
So, I've put together a few activities to help with that afternoon snow day boredom. And for a bonus—they're all related to literacy! It's a sneaky way to fit in some learning on a day off.
Five Literacy Activities for a Snowy Day:
1. Find a favorite winter story like “The Mitten” by Jan Brett and read it together as a family. Then find ways to re-tell the story!
- Find stuffed animals that match the animals in the story and hide them all inside a big white pillow case—try to remember the order that the animals climbed into the mitten!
- Print photos of the animals off the Internet, spend some time comparing the photographs to Brett's beautifully drawn animal illustrations in the book—how are they alike or different?
- You can use these photographs to re-tell the story as well—put the photos on sticks or straws and use them as puppets.
2. Get outside! Try snow painting.
- Find a few spray bottles and fill them with water. Add some food coloring or liquid water color and go outside and play!
- You can practice writing letters and then drawing something that begins with that letter.
- You can provide your child/ren with just primary colors and allow them to experiment and try to make different colors—chat with them about their process and what they have discovered!
- If your child/ren are older, challenge them to each draw a series of pictures that tell a story, then challenge them to re-tell each other's stories. Then they can share with each other the story they were actually trying to tell—there will be lots of giggles!
3. Go on a letter hunt inside the house (or outside!) Give your child a piece of paper with a big letter written on it and have them go around and find everything in the house, or a certain room of the house, that begins with that letter. It'll become an exciting scavenger hunt for your child and very little work for you! If your child is not recognizing letters or letter sounds yet—try this scavenger hunt using color instead. Older kids? Try a rhyme hunt!
4. Write each other secret notes—or create secret drawings. This one is really easy! Take a white crayon (you know, the most neglected crayon in the box!) and write a note or draw a picture on a white piece of paper. Then paint over the paper with watercolor. Read your note to your child or have them read it to you—and have them explain their drawing.
5. Make a snow day treat together. Following recipes is a terrific way to start understanding sequencing and improve narrative skills. Reading the recipe and then putting it all together will be challenging, but an excelling literacy experience—and the reward of a tasty treat is pretty good too! If your child/ren are older let them do this with a low level of supervision. Tell them if they work together and carefully follow the recipe—you'll do all the dishes!
I hope you enjoy these snow day activities! Let us know if you try any of them and if they help to combat the snow day afternoon boredom. I'm off on a snow shoe with Bella the pup--who finally woke up!
by Rebecca Scheinberg, CMNH Intern
We are officially in 2017. We made it to a brand new year filled with possibilities. The New Year provides an opportunity for reflection and resolutions. It is a blank slate. It is a chance for new discovery, innovation, and creativity.
At the end of 2016, we asked you to join us in sharing your wishes for the New Year. As part of our Family New Year’s Eve celebration, visitors created ‘wish blimps’ that they launched off our 30-foot vertical, hand-powered conveyor system known as 'Build It, Fly It.'
Your wishes ranged from getting a pet guinea pig to peace on earth, from being able to fly, to...pancakes. Someone wished for a baby sister or brother and someone else wished that their baby sister would stop crying so much. One visitor wished for nachos, and another wished for her frosty the snowman to come to life. Another friend wished for snow. We are nearly two weeks into the New Year and this one has already come true!
These are some of your wishes:
We had a wonderful time playing and exploring with you in 2016. This year, we already have a new exhibit and many exciting upcoming events. We hope you will visit us soon to play. May this year bring even more adventure, exploration, love and kindness to all.
We hope all your wishes come true.