Winter Lessons

Hello Halton Teachers,

Thanks for your interest in outdoor education. I’m passionate about using the outdoors as another learning environment that supports self-regulation, attention, and focus while promoting motor skills, problem-solving, social collaboration, imagination, and creativity. My goal is to provide hands-on lessons that provide more movement, heavy work, and sensory-rich opportunities to support your curriculum.

In the winter, I take advantage of the chilly temperatures and snowy playgrounds.

If you have a kindergarten class, I will set up your playground with a variety of outdoor opportunities to support child-led play with loose parts and tools, as well as a structured lesson done with a smaller group of children. 

Below are 8 lessons to choose from

Some lessons will need snow and chilly temperatures to be successful, and others need a milder day.  Since we live in Southern Ontario, please have a backup if there is no snow.

Lessons where snow is needed:

  • Snow volcanoes
  • Snow creatures
  • Snow forts
  • Toilet brush painting

All need at least 30 cm of snow to be successful.

Lessons where snow is not needed:

Using discarded Christmas trees to make forts does not need snow.

Lessons for a mild winter day:

  • Whittling
  • Stone stories

Snow Forts – I need a snowbank for this activity.

Children use snow saws to cut snow blocks to make a fort. Additional materials will be provided to add to the fort’s stability. This activity is full of movement and heavy work opportunities that promote body awareness, self-regulation, and attention.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Math skills including counting, shapes, weight, and size.
  2. Engineering skills. Children can figure out what makes a structure stable.
  3. Working together and problem-solving the building of the fort.
  4. Creating stories about their fort.

Snow Volcanoes

Children can work together to make a snow volcano and its lava. The lava is a vinegar and baking soda chemical reaction that has food colouring and a bit of dish soap added.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Math skills include measuring, counting, and ratio opportunities.
  2. Science skills include understanding chemical reactions between baking soda and vinegar.
  3. Working together to make a snow volcano and lava.

Snow Creatures

Children can make a snow creature with snow and ice. A few loose parts will be available. The children can describe the attributes of their creature; what it eats, where it lives, and how it survives the winter weather.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Math and science skills include sorting and counting ice pieces, and nature’s loose parts. Loose parts include sticks and pinecones.
  2. Motor skills are promoted when children make their snow creation.
  3. Literacy skills are supported when children create a story about their snow creature.  Photos can be taken, and stories can be done inside, or I can scribe their stories outdoors.

Toilet Brush Painting – (Negative Space Art)

Children paint the snow with coloured water and toilet brushes.  Creating negative space art is an extension of this lesson.  Using toilet brushes to paint the snow ensures that mittens stay on.  All toilet brushes are bought for this lesson.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Mixing colours and making new ones.
  2. Motor skills and eye-hand coordination are used when splattering the coloured water onto the snow or around the shapes to create negative space art.
  3. Creativity and imagination when painting the snow with toilet brushes.

Fort making using discarded Christmas trees

Please have 4 discarded Christmas trees available. An additional 2 Christmas will be provided.

Children make forts using discarded Christmas trees, sticks, and burlap. In small groups, with one-to-one support, children can use a carpenter saw to trim the branches off the discarded Christmas trees.

Winter is a perfect time to create shelter, plus it provides dramatic play opportunities for your playground throughout the winter months.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. This lesson naturally provides sensory-rich, heavy work opportunities for children who crave it while promoting self-regulation, attention, and focus.
  2. Engineering skills.  Children can figure out what makes a structure stable.
  3. Working together and problem-solving the building of the fort.  It’s an inclusive activity where some children will cut the branches, transport materials, build, and/or decorate the fort.  Something for everyone.
  4. Creating stories and rules about their fort.
  5. Loads of dramatic play opportunities.

Stone Stories

Children can create and/or retell their favourite story by drawing pictures and printing words on flat, smooth stones and paint markers. It’s a great way to bring language arts to your playground. Stories can reinforce concepts from the classroom or from the events outdoors.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Presenting and retelling stories.
  2. Reinforcing the ‘start’, ‘middle’, and ‘end’ of stories; intro, body, and conclusion’.
  3. Supporting fine motor skills.

Whittling

Children can whittle freshly cut sticks with a vegetable peeler.  Children can make rulers, mud pencils, and stick people.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Increase focus and attention when using a new tool.
  2. Retelling stories with the creation of stick people.
  3. Using the whittled stick as a measurement tool to support standard and non-standardized units of measurement.
  4. Increase grasp and fine motor skills when whittling and drawing with their mud pencil.

When using a new tool children will be shown how to hold the handle, where the sharp parts are, and how it works to ensure safety.

My daily rate is $1,500 plus taxes.

It’s best to have me at your school for a full day. I can work with 3 classes during the day. I work with each class for 100 minutes (2 class periods).   I bring all materials unless mentioned.  Once you choose your lesson, I will also send you a short survey to help me understand specific curriculum expectations and the size of your class.

Thanks

Jill Bienenstock
jill@bienenstockplaygrounds.com
(905)902-0064