Our early winter months have been filled with both rain and activity. For three weeks we worked on our masterpiece bowls. Papier mache is a long process, but included so many wonderful sensory experiences for the children. The first step for them was to tear the paper into strips, which as I've mentioned in previous posts, is a wonderful fine motor skill. Tearing paper prepares the hands for cutting with scissors but also hones the ability to control one's finer finger movements. Patience was required each day as the children had to cover their whole bowl with layer after layer of paper. The finished results were beautiful.
I was happy to find a very thick and fluffy yarn for making snowballs with the children. They wind and wind yarn around a donut shaped piece of plastic. Once it's completely "stuffed", I trim the yarn and tie it together for them and then they give it a "haircut". The yarn made the project do-able in just one morning, which, after our extended bowl-making project, was refreshing. Indoor snowball fights ensued with "snow forts" being built out of the play stands. We also did some painting with tiny sponges, making a snowy scene on blue paper. This was again to hone in on the fine motor skills of the very tips of the finger and to exercise their budding pencil grip. It takes time and patience to make a painting using a teeny little sponge!
Outside, the children have loved both hiking into the woods around here, and also building "obstacle courses" in our play yard. Ideally, they like to use every piece of material that we have. Sometimes we leave it up, but often I find that because it's all about the process of building, clean up allows for that same excitement to be revisited the next day.