Mama, it’s cold outside! This recent weather really put me in the mood for our theme this week: winter clothing. With it snowing this whole week where we live, I can’t count how many times we took on and off coats, boots, scarves, hats, etc. So, it was a very fitting topic! We covered the usual standard items (phonics, math, writing) but I always love doing extra activities with a theme. These are the 3 activities we did to foster truly understanding why clothing is important is certain weather.
Winter Clothing Science Experiment
You will need:
- 5 mason jars with lids
- 3 types of winter item clothes, preferably different colors (we used a jacket, sweater and wool hiking sock, but you can use any items you have at home)
- Thermometer (meat one works just fine)
- Food Coloring (optional)
What to do:
- Fill 4 jars ¾ of the way up and warm them up to the same temperature (body temperatures 97-99 degrees Celsius) *Please stir and double check it is not too hot with a thermometer, just to make sure no one gets burned.
- Put one jar closed by itself outside, no clothing; this is our comparison control.
- Place the other 3 closed jars inside winter clothing items, wrapping them a little bit, but not too much that you make an extra layer. You can use food coloring to dye each jar of water the color of the item you are putting it in. It makes association for the kids so much easier when discussing the results at the end.
4. Come back in 30 minutes and bring in the jars. It was a little below freeze during our experiment so we couldn’t leave them outside past this time. If it does start to freeze it could break the glass, so please be aware of the time! It doesn’t have to be freezing outside, you just need to get it cold enough to tell a difference.
5. Warm up the 5th jar to the original body temperature *Remember please stir and double check it is not too hot with a thermometer. Compare all 5 jars with thermometer and also fingers. Feeling the water is really important for young kids, since most won’t understand thermometer readings until Kindergarten age.
If it isn’t that cold outside for you, you can use your refrigerator or freezer.
Are all the jars from outside colder than the 5th inside jar?
Which jar is coldest? (they can use the color to tell you)
Which winter clothing item would you want to use? (another way of asking which jar is warmest)
Warm Up Clothing Game
This was a fun activity for the kids, which means for mama it was loud and crazy! Hence the reason for no action shots; they all came out blurry. It is very helpful in teaching body part association with clothes. If you have more than one kid, a suggestion is to have a piece of each type for every kid or take turns. I only figured that out half-way through after a few episodes of whining. Once we got a flow, the kids didn’t want to stop playing! They continued to play, alternating calling out body parts. It ended with them dressing each other for going outside.
How to Play:
Collect and place winter clothing on the floor (mittens, boots, ski bibs, jackets, hats, ear muffs, scarfs). Once all was set up I would say “bring me something to make my -insert body part- warm.” After the kids got the hang of it, we sped it up a bit and made it a race.
Real World Experience
If you are lucky enough (or maybe unlucky) to have snow outside, this one is simple, take them outside. Now before you call child services, I promise I was prepared and had towels, jackets, and gloves ready to go. First, we went outside without jackets and gloves on. My older son thought it was so cool and said “it isn’t that cold” and about 15 seconds later asked for his jacket.
My daughter barely made it out of the garage before asking for her jacket.
Little man was napping, but I have no doubt he would’ve fussed immediately. During this time, we discussed why we wear jackets, the different types of jackets (from hoodies to waterproof ski jackets), and what would happen if we didn’t use them. After jackets were on we all grabbed snow/ice balls and held on to them without gloves. Some kids threw them down immediately; my son ended up in a contest with our neighbor’s kid to see how long they could hold one. Then we all dried off and put on gloves. We used 2 different types of gloves, waterproof and non-waterproof cloth mittens to show the differences in warmth and also the importance of waterproofing for snow play; the cloth ones get wet and cold over time.
Now for the fortunate ones that don’t have snow, I haven’t forgotten about you! To show the importance of using gloves, take items out of the freezer and have the kids feel them with and without the gloves. You can still take them outside with and without a jacket, they will still feel the difference between 70 degrees and 50 degrees.
I hope you and the kiddos have a great time with these activities. Don’t forget to warm up with lots of cuddles!
BIO: Rachael Alley is a mother of 3 and wife to a loving husband. Rachael is a former chemist turned stay-at-home mom currently residing in Chicago, Illinois. Her favorite things to do with her kids are random science experiments and dance parties. On the weekends she enjoys time doing outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and canoeing.