Snowshoeing with Preschoolers

Winter is here and it’s time to get out and experience the beauty of snow covered Michigan. Snowshoe walks are a great way to get kids moving and learn something too.

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Blandford staff is excited that we now offer snowshoe experiences for children.

putting shoes onWe’re glad we had a group of willing participants, ready to put these new snowshoes to use. For three years, West Side Christian School has partnered with Blandford Nature Center to help create more opportunities to take student learning outdoors.

A Little Sprouts Outdoor Adventure, here we come!

exploring3

We ventured into the nearby nature preserve to discover the wonder and activity in winter’s snowy landscape. It sure was exciting to witness these young people experience snowshoeing for the first time.

Since this was a first time experience,  we came up with some tips to make the most of your preschooler’s first snowshoe adventure:

1. Be positive:   The first timers will face challenges, let them know that ahead of time. They may fall or step on their snowshoes – they may feel clumsy at first.  Actually, this is part of the fun. The challenges gives the children a sense of accomplishment and develops their resilience. “Look how many steps I took!”
snow shoes
2.  “Ahhh! The snowshoe fell off!”  It helps to take the extra minutes to be secure the snowshoes and test them out at the beginning.  We had one child that had her snowshoe come off while walking in the deep snow.  Although, nothing was going to get in the way of her exploration, she continued on – wearing only one.
3. Bring in some fun and games: We played fox and rabbit – the forest became a great place to play hide and seek.
hide and seek

 

4. Add a sense of wonder:  Hmm, I wonder what animals might be active during the winter?  Will we see or hear any animals?  What animal clues can we find?

exploringover-and-under-the-snow

5. Literacy Connection: Either before or after the hike, read the book, Over and Under the Snow. The book opens the reader’s eyes to the animal world over and under the snow.  The characters in the story also head out to enjoy exploring the winter woods.

Besides the physical benefits of snowshoeing, for the purpose of developing gross motor skills, other valuable learning opportunities arise as your children encounter objects in nature or other subjects that captivate their attention.

If you do head out with your preschooler, we would love to hear about your adventures or pass along any other tips that you may have. 

 In case you’re thinking, “Burr! It is WAY too cold out there!”Check out what Rain or Shine Mama has to say about, “Five Reasons I Let my Kids Play Outside In (Almost) Any Weather.
About the Authblog photoor: Janet Staal didn’t want to contain student learning to the confines of a desk, so she broke down the walls and began teaching outside.   Equipped with a teaching certification in elementary education (Science and Math emphasis),  she began her adventures as an educator.  She now works at Blandford Nature Center as an Environmental Education Consultant – growing more opportunities to take student learning outside!
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