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Snow in July?! Weather Activities for Toddlers Build World Knowledge

Photo by Lauren Naefe / Stocksy / 1826144
Photo by Lauren Naefe / Stocksy

By Rachel Ward

The weather outside may be frightful (or delightful, depending on where you are) but it can be awe-inspiring for the toddler set, especially if they haven’t experienced a certain weather event before. That first delighted giggle at the magic of falling snow is a priceless moment for parents! Beyond the magic, though, weather activities for toddlers offer a lot of value for their development.

“By learning about the types of weather we see (and realizing that weather only happens outside, not inside), toddlers learn about the basic ways that the world works—and that opens the door to learning about other things in nature, like plants or animals,” says Meg Davis from KinderCare’s Education team.

That’s why this week, we’re making it snow in July with a weather activity for toddlers that will both build and delight young brains—and it’s all made possible with the humble packing peanut and an umbrella.

Weather-Related, Sensory Activities for Toddlers Build World Awareness and Vocabulary Skills

Toddlers are introduced to a new material (packing peanuts) and get to throw them into an upside-down umbrella, either close up or far away. Once all the peanuts are in, the umbrella’s turned right-side up. Presto! “Snow” comes falling down, to the tune of delighted giggles, gurgles, and applause.

As the children throw the peanuts, teachers keep a dialogue going about the texture of the peanuts, how the peanuts look like rain and snow as they fall, why we see rain and snow, and how we use items (like umbrellas) to keep ourselves dry. Those simple conversations turn out to be a huge brain builder!

“Toddlers soak in every word and idea that they hear—which means those conversations with their teachers and friends are helping them label everyday items in their minds and figure out their purpose,” says Davis.

We teach your toddler about the world and build their vocabulary while they’re with us at KinderCare, but there are some easy ways you can help grow their skills at home, too. Check out our ideas below!

4 Ways to Build Your Toddler’s Brain Throughout the Day

1. Look at It!

We know the days can get pretty busy with a toddler in the house, but every once in a while, stop and take a look at something they may not have seen up close before—like a bunch of honeysuckle or a worm in the dirt. Having a minute to absorb what they’re looking at, from the color to the shape, helps toddlers understand the world. You can even grab a large, plastic magnifying glass to add to the fun!

Photo by Julia Forsman / Stocksy / 725401
Photo by Julia Forsman / Stocksy

2. Move It!

Okay, so toddlers are already tottering all over the place in search of their latest and greatest find, but there are all sorts of ways you can help your child focus on movement. Whenever your toddler is exploring something new, show them how it can move! Does it roll, bounce, or slide? Can it move fast or slow? Can your child make it move that way, too? If they’re really antsy, get their blood pumping with an impromptu dance party!

3. Feel It!

Keep a bin full of items with different textures (think soft pieces of fabric, small squares of sticky duct tape, etc.) in your car so your tot can be entertained on a drive, and switch out the items once they’ve had a chance to explore them all. Walking from the car to the house? Stop and let your child have a few minutes to dig their hands into the soil. Reading before bedtime? Check out some of our favorite touch and feel books.

4. Talk About It!

Is there an airplane in the sky that your child is fascinated by? Talk about its color, its shape, what it is, who flies the plane, where the passengers might be going—anything and everything you can think of is fair game! Talking to your tot about the things they see, hear, smell, and feel teaches them more about what those items are and helps your child build a large vocabulary.

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