The blustery winter cold doesn't mean your little one has to stay inside and let the blahs set in. Instead of giving in to a chilly season of passively sitting in front of the TV, spark your preschooler's creative spirit with winter activities that also use her name. These projects and crafts can help your 3- to 5-year-old explore the science of the winter season while also adding a valuable letter-inspired literacy lesson.
Snow painting is a winter activity that helps your preschooler get crafty and creative. Bring in a cup full of snow to use during a name-inspired watercolor painting activity. Help your child to write, trace or stencil his first name onto a piece of paper using bubble letters. Make the thick letters at least as tall as your own hand, allowing the space for your child to add the paint colors. Let the snow start to melt in the cup, using it to wet a watercolor paint brush. Have your child paint in his letters with the snow-covered brush and bright hues. Another option is to use fake snow -- which is available at most school supply stores or catalogs -- to paint on. Spread the mock snow on a cookie sheet and have your child "write" his name using a squirt bottle of food coloring.
Your preschooler can create her own name-covered snow person using simple art supplies. Cut three circles in slightly different sizes from white poster board or card stock paper, making the largest roughly 12 inches in diameter. Using a nontoxic school glue, have your child glue the edges together to make a snowman form. She can decorate the snow person's face using crayons or markers, adding button-like eyes, a carrot nose and a coal dotted mouth. Instead of dressing the snow person in the traditional scarf and buttons down the front, have your preschooler make a name shirt. She can write her first name across the center section of the snow person several times, creating a pattern-like clothing decoration. If she can't write her name on her own, lightly draw it for her in pencil first and have her trace over it with markers later.
The waxy properties of crayons and water in temperas don't mix well. Use this to create a snowy crayon resist scene that features your child's name. Ask your child to draw her name in mega-sized letters on a piece of construction or card stock paper with brightly colored crayons. Have him make bubble letters that are at least 2 inches thick. Don't worry if he doesn't fill in all of the areas with the crayons. Leaving a few blank spaces will add to the snow-covered effect. After drawing his name, have your child paint over the entire piece of paper -- including the crayon-covered part -- with watery white tempera paint. The paint will stick to the non-crayon part, making it look like the drawing is snow-covered. Add a sprinkle of opal colored glitter to the still-wet paint for an extra-special snowy sparkle.
Your preschooler's winter activities, using his name, don't have to stay inside. Dress your child in his winter-wear and go outside for a few letter-filled learning activities in the snowy weather. gather together a few natural materials such as twigs or pine cones, and have your child spell his name in large letters on the ground using the snow as a blank canvas. Another option is for your child to create his own letter indentations in the snow, using his body to make the shapes. For example, "Tom" can lie vertically in the snow and then move and lie horizontally to make the letter T. Take a photo to make the winter weather name activity more than just a memory.