When the weather outside is frightful, your preschooler will most likely think it's delightful. There's magic in the weather for young kids, whether it's raining, snowing, blowing or booming and lighting up the sky. You don't want to kill the magic, but a savvy parent will use these everyday opportunities to enlighten kids on the various types of weather, the seasons and appropriate clothing choices for each type of weather. Instead of arguing with your 4-year-old about wearing sandals when there's 3 feet of snow on the ground, break out the flannel board and ask, "What would Mr. Bear wear?"
1. Dress for the Weather
Create a bank of clothing and accessories for the four seasons to dress a felt boy, girl, bear or other character. Provide scarves, hats, mittens and boots for winter; bathing suits, goggles, flippers, sun hats and sunglasses for summer; and jackets, raincoats, umbrellas and rain boots for fall and spring. Talk about the current season's weather, or that day's weather, and ask your preschooler to dress the character appropriately for the weather.
2. Dress-Up Mix-Up
Create a weather scene by providing sun, clouds, raindrops, snowflakes or wind to indicate the weather. Place your character on the flannel board dressed in gear that doesn't quite make sense. Maybe it's snowing out and the character is wearing his bathing suit, or perhaps he's wearing a scarf and a hat on a sunny day at the beach. Ask your preschooler to talk about what's wrong with the character's clothing and then fix it by dressing him with the right clothes for the weather.
3. The Four Seasons
Teach your preschooler the types of weather common to each of the four seasons by comparing two seasons at a time. Create a Venn diagram with yarn by pinning two large circles on the board and overlapping them in the center. Label one side "Winter" and the opposite side "Summer." The overlapping area can be labeled "Both." Go through a pile of felt weather emblems one at a time, asking your child if that type of weather is common in the summer, winter or both. Let your child place the emblem on the appropriate side of the diagram. Include clouds, raindrops, snowflakes, icicles, sun, wind or storm clouds with lightning. As you compare seasons, talk about how we see some weather (sun, clouds, wind) in every season.
4. What's the Weather? Song
An interactive song is an effective way to engage children in weather activities. Make up movements to the song, such as forming your arms into a circle for the sun, making rain with wiggly fingertips or forming clouds with your hands. After you sing the song, let your child pin the appropriate symbol for the day's weather on the board and talk about why he made that choice. Sing to the tune of "Oh My Darling, Clementine": What's the weather? What's the weather? What's the weather like today? Tell us, Johnny, what's the weather, what's the weather like today? Is it sunny? Is it cloudy? Is it raining out today? Tell us, Johnny, what's the weather? What's the weather like today?