Children love winter time! Storms, wind, rain, mud, puddles, darkness - it all makes for great play, fun and learning in our Early Education Centres and Family Day Care services.
You might be thinking the children spend many hours indoors. Quite the contrary, we love getting outside with the children to jump and splash in puddles, observe how plants grow in changing weather and make mud pies.
Mud always makes for great sensory and creative play. Winter is a great time to experiment with and explore the properties of mud. When you're age two, three or four, there's so much to create - tea cups, bowls of ice cream and even pizza!
For some children, it's now dark at pick up time. They love looking for stars and watching the moon change each night, which is beginning to spark their interest in space. Some of the children head out into the darkness of our playgrounds with their Educators armed with torches to look for possums or koalas. The wonder on their faces is priceless.
Winter also makes for great conversations and learning about forms of shelter. At our large outdoors in Soldiers Road Jannali, the children are often in the elements collecting sticks to make a humpy - a small temporary shelter traditionally used by Aboriginals. 'Campfire' creations and cubby house making are also a big part of the children's play.
The children at Tracy's Family Day Care in Engadine love the sense of calm from creating their own winter masterpieces. An impromptu storm led to some wonderful artistic creations. With large pieces of paper attached to glass doors, the rain trickled down and the children drew what they could see, hear and almost touch. Big raindrops, clouds and muddy puddles!
And in this season of chilly weather, the children need to keep snug. There is an increase in intentional gross motor exercise to keep the children active and warm.
Who better to tell us how to keep warm than the children themselves. When we asked the children at our Caldarra Avenue Engadine centre, one child suggested hot chocolates and marshmallows. Guess what's accompanying their afternoon tea today?