View Full Version : Garden in the Winter

02-12-2017, 03:46 PM
I wondered what everyone offered for their mindees in their garden throughout winter...
In this col, icy, wet weather the slides i have are too wet to play on, the garden can get very muddy, all the toys i have throughout the rest of the year suddenly look tired and grubby...how can i make it appealing to the kids through the winter??

02-12-2017, 06:40 PM
I'm glad someone brought this up. I've been wanting to ask, but seeing as I'm asking in relation to a school setting I felt a bit cheeky asking on here!

We do tend to forget what we do year on year!

From what I remember with toddlers I remember wrapping them up in their waterproofs and then they didn't mind so much if the slides were wet - as long as the steps weren't slippery, or the bars to cold for their little hands to hold on to. From a very young age they tend to love using child size rakes and brooms on the Autumn leaves.

At this time of year I used to make my own pictorial tick sheets - split a page into four and put a clip art picture in each corner - all Christmas related stuff (eg snowman decoration, door wreath, Santa decoration etc) and we would walk around the block looking to see what we could tick off. I eventually invested in some a5 clipboards, but before that I made my own out of a cereal box and a peg. It was a lovely mark making activity as they decided how to mark the pictures we had seen. A couple of my parents reported beck that they had had to make some at home after their little ones raved about it!

You could make various bird feeders.

I wanted to ask about mark making opportunities in particular, as that is what we are lacking in my school setting. The children are now wrapping up the Autumn work to start on Christmas, and so I modelled writing a note to the squirrels (have been learning about them) and I pegged it to the fence. Next week they are going to find a reply from the squirrels and will hopefully have a bit of ongoing correspondence with them if I set up the area appropriately. The problem is the paper will be blowing around in the wind etc etc (card would be better, I guess), and they will be wearing gloves so more difficult to write.

02-12-2017, 07:15 PM
Natural materials are good for winter, logs etc look lovely in the garden and can be used with planks for rolling things down, stepping stones etc.
Houses for keeping mini beasts warm. Bird feeding station filling up and making your own bird feeders in craft. Looking out and after the squirrels as Maza suggested and we used to clear out the hedgehog house and set it up for them feeding in the cold weather, making sure the bird bath doesn’t freeze was great for caring aspect.
Watching weather: looking for patterns, ice on the mud, frost on the lawn, top of benches and walls- great for writing on Maza, just running on the frosty lawn and watching the marks they make always excited mine. Buggies making tracks, big vehicles and hoops making patterns, lots of collecting of sticks and stones. We had our chiminee on with guards and plenty of H&S talks and really long sticks with bread dough was a good activity to warm up too.
Leaving things out to make ice surprises when it is cold enough, breaking ice on all the containers we left out, bringing it in to see how long it takes to melt.
Just playing, but wrapped up warm , our ‘mud’ kitchen came into its own, no mud, but lots of natural found materials. Wind ribbons and lots of running round.
Digging digging and digging...my veg beds were always well dug at this time of the year.
I was inspected by Ofsted in the first week in January, we spent half the morning outside on a crisp very cold day, but the children were used to it and were enthusiastic to get out in the garden, which impressed her.

03-12-2017, 08:42 AM
Flora has answered a lot of what I would have put . For mark making we have a large piece of metal screwed to the side of the shed which is our paint wall and that way mark making outside is continuous provision. We have all the same thing we have all summer, I have padded puddlesuits for them all and they still have water play etc , I just put Warner water in. Or I replace the water with water beads or balls or pine cones which they use in the same way , rolling them down the guttering etc
It’s certainly messier than it is in the summer but the children don’t care at all.
And picnicing outside with hot chocolate seems to be a current favourite,