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Monday, February 7, 2011

Mondays with Mrs. Sparkles: Fun Winter Activites in Louisville and at Home

  According to Punxsutawney Phil’s shadowless predictions, winter is winding down and spring is upon us. Last week, with the hope for a break in the weather, I pre-registered my children to participate in Bernheim Arboretum’s first-Saturday Pollywog Play Parties. We were prepared for A Flurry of Fun, a winter themed program, made so much more exciting now that our days for enjoying winter are numbered.

Preregistering for the program was simple. I called and left my name, number and my children’s names on their voice mail. When we arrived at Bernheim’s education center a playful scene greeted us. It included an oversized mushroom, a creatively designed pond and activity stations. The program, which lasted an hour and a half, began with singing and stories. Later we broke out to explore the sensory and art stations around the room. Preschoolers excavated gems from ice, played with faux snow, and tossed cotton balls into the air using a tablecloth among other activities.

One of the activities that I found the most inspiring was called painting with ice. Children dipped popsicles (just plain water on a stick) into what I think was Kool-aid and painted on paper. With this idea of creative ice play, I would like to suggest some other variations to try at home.

Paint with colored Ice Popsicles. Fill Ice cube trays with water and drop 4 drops of food coloring into each hole. Cover with Aluminum foil and insert a popscicle stick in each hole and then freeze. When ice is frozen, set out for about 5 minutes to begin thawing. Paint with the ice cubes on absorbent paper.
Freeze large blocks of ice and build with them outside. Fill cartons and plastic food containers with water. Color water with food coloring and set outside when it is well below freezing or inside freezer. Remove ice from containers when frozen and build with them outside.

Carving Ice. Try carving into ice using salt and kid safe tools such as salted water. Fill carvings with cooled colored gelatin. Find inspiration online through exploring unique ice sculptures.

Enjoy the last remnants of Winter (optimistically speaking) and don’t forget to check out Bernheim Arboretum’s fantastic programming.

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