This snowy winter invitation to play offers children a magical world for winter themed indoor play.
We lived in often-snowy Massachusetts when my children were tiny, and they loved to bring snow in to play. They enjoyed playing out of doors, too, of course, but it was usually too cold for very young children to stay out there for very long. Bringing snow indoors allowed my children to enjoy the sensory experience inside a nice warm house.
My kids enjoyed shapes in the snow - especially tiny snowmen and igloos! They also added toys for all sorts of pretend play. Bringing snow in to play was one of our favorite wintertime activities.
Then we moved to sunny California, where winter cold in any form is a distant memory.
Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
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We enjoyed the story, and I wanted a snowy scene for my kids to enjoy. We didn’t have any snow to bring in, so I decided to find a snow-inspired invitation to play substitute.
I pulled a white-backed quilt out of the closet and laid it out on the ground. The patterning of the quilting lines offers a nice snowy texture for play time.
Now it was time to find some characters for a book-inspired invitation to play.
I’ve discovered that all too often, I overthink invitations to play. I knew I wanted to use DUPLO bricks and minifigures for this invitation to play, but we don’t own a DUPLO bear. We pulled out one of our green counting bears at first; later on, the kids substituted in a black wildcat as a bear-like figure.
The kids spent a while coming up with fun presents the other animals could bring the bears, and eventually the game evolved (as it so often does) into more open-ended play.
And that’s the beauty of invitations to play! A set-up as simple as a few DUPLO bricks on a blanket sets off initially themed play. The themed play can become increasingly detailed, or it can evolve into something else entirely. Either way, children develop storytelling skills, learn to develop plots and characters and work through complex emotions and social relationships.
More Fun Pretend Play Ideas for Bear Stays Up for Christmas
There are so many delightful ways to celebrate this book! Here are some of our favorites:
- Turn a cardboard box into your very own bear den.
- Sew a simple teddy bear for each child to hold as you read the story.
- Cut out snowflakes.
- Color or sew ornaments.
- Paint with icicles.
- Turn out the lights and have kids hibernate for winter. Then turn on the lights to wake them up.
- Have a teddy bear assigned to stay awake. Read some Christmas themed picture books to help the bear stay awake.
Do you have a favorite Christmas or winter themed invitation to play? How about an activity idea for Bear Stays Up for Christmas?
MaryAnne is the fourth of ten children, raised in five countries on three continents. She now lives in California’s Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children: Emma, Johnny, Lily, and Anna. She blogs at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting about building a rewarding family life through mindful parenting and educational and creative family activities.
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