According to PBS Parents, by the beginning of grade school, your child seeks to understand how the world around her works and can benefit from hands-on activities that help her to do so. Whether the mercury's dipping below the freezing mark or not, children's activities with cold things provide ample opportunities for your little one to explore, experiment and make her own discoveries.
When the winter wind begins to howl and the snow begins to pile up, use the white stuff for a few fun-filled children's activities. Weather permitting, bundle the kids up and go outside to make a traditional three-tiered snowman. For a creative twist, design an imaginative sculpture by shaping and smoothing the snow or using themed gelatin molds and buckets. Fill the molds or buckets with snow, turn them over and smooth the sculpture to complete it. When the winter ends, the cold snowy fun can still continue using a mock version of the real thing. Instant snow -- parents can usually find this at school or science supply stores -- is an interesting alternative. Mix a few teaspoons of instant snow powder with half a cup of water, or just follow the instructions on the package, in a plastic tub or bucket. The mix turns into cold feeling faux snow that your child can explore all year round.
Ice provides a creatively cold way to make cool kids' crafts. Instead of making a traditional water color painting, use ice instead of liquid water. Sprinkle powdered tempera paint on a piece of white paper. Freeze a few ice cubes with a craft stick in the middle as a holder to "paint" with. Have your child move the ice cube over the powdered tempera. As the ice melts, it will turn the powder into liquid paint, making a rainbow of blending colors. Another cold activity to try with ice is a science transformations experiment. Start by putting an ice cube or two in a clear plastic cup. Set the cup on a sunny windowsill and note the time. Check back on the cubes and see how long it takes for them to turn from a solid to a liquid. Add another layer and place a cube in a cup in a dark or colder area to compare it with the windowsill one.
While you might think of cooking as making food warm, your little learner can also use a chillier style of this fun -- and scientific -- activity. Teach your child about the science of cooking, nutrition and math by creating a chilled yogurt smoothie. Cut up fruit such as strawberries for your child. Give him his favorite yogurt flavor and the fruit and have him add them to a blender bowl. Pour in some milk and mix the smoothie for your child. Have him experiment with different fruits, flavors and ratios of ingredients until he finds the perfect concoction. Another easier option is to make fruit juice pops in the freezer. Pour a favorite juice into ice cube trays. Cover the trays with kitchen foil and poke a crafty stick through each cube. Freeze the juice overnight, remove the foil and pull the frozen treats out.
Warm and Cold
Try a density experiment with your child, in which she can discover the differences between hot and cold water. Warm water is less dense than cold water, making it rise when placed in the same container. Dye cold, chilled water with a bold food coloring hue such as red or blue. Add the colored water to a clear glass or mug filled halfway with warm -- not hot or scalding water, as this poses a safety hazard -- and watch as the cold water sinks to the bottom. Try this activity with other warm and cold liquids such as apple juice or milk. Have your child hypothesize if the temperature of the liquid makes it sink or if there is something else at play, such as the thickness or weight of the liquid.