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Family spends time together with their newborn baby. Dad lies on his back on the floor next to the Christmas tree and holds the baby on his extended arms.

It is frosty and stormy outside... there is no way of going out with your baby. Even adults can barely stand the low temperature, so it is not a good idea to take the kids out. Your baby caught a cold and your doctor told you to stay at home? These are a few situations when you should create a winter atmosphere at home. How to do that? I will tell you how I coped, maybe it will be an inspiration for you.

My child used to be ill a lot during the winter months, so I raked my mind over what to do so that he could feel at least a substitute for this season and had good fun. If your baby is very small you can do some things alone, the baby will be happy enough just observing you. After some time, he will begin to imitate you, repeat after you, and play with you.

Snow balls

The first WINTER associations are white colour and snow. I took a white sheet of paper and showed my little one how to crush it, then unfold and press with my hands and crush again. I took my son's hands and we crushed and unfolded the paper together practising small motor skills. When he got bored with that I crushed the paper again into a ball and started to roll it towards him and throw like a ball of snow. Seeing the satisfaction on his face, I continued the game. I unfolded the paper and showed him how to tear it to small pieces (older children can do that alone or with your assistance). When you have accumulated a pile of tiny cards take them into your hands and... blow, so that they fall over your baby like snowflakes. The first attempts of the kids to blow may fail due to their age and individual features, so help him with a smile and blow the cards together.

Powder snow

A much nicer material, which you can use to have fun, are feathers. At a stationer's I bought a mixture of white and pale-blue feathers resembling the snowflakes. When my friends visited me with their children we sat the kids on the floor and blew feathers over their heads. Feathers fall down slower than paper and are nicer to touch, so the babies try to catch them. They touch them when they fall to the floor. You can also try to blow the feathers together (parent and child). They are light, so they might be good for a start.

Winter collage

After the next shopping I came back home laden with cotton wool, cotton swabs, white crepe, rice and blue bristol. I decided it's time to get dirty together and create a first winter collage. I spread oil-cloth under the bristol so as not to stain the floor. First I gave my son some fingerpaint in a pot. As the name suggests, you do not need brushes, it is designed for children and allergy tested. My son used not only his fingers but whole hands and forearms up to his elbows. He doodled over the blue paper with huge commitment. When he calmed down a little, we pressed his palms on the paper and went to wash his hands. After the paint dried up there was a time for another winter folly. I recommend buying glue tube. You can then squeeze it out while practising little hand movements. If it is too hard for him yet, show him how to spread the squeezed glue all over the paper. New tactile experiences can be interesting and intriguing for your baby. Try not to wipe the little hands after each activity. There is nothing wrong in having dirty hands for a moment and still this is only the beginning of a fun. Now you can glue cotton swabs (as snowflakes or a snowman), cotton wool (snow, clouds), or crepe paper. Finally, sprinkle the whole picture with rice (fine snowflakes) with clean hands (we do not want the whole rice stick to them). And how is your first collage? Is it already hung in a room or maybe presented to a family member?

Winter balloon dance

My last proposal is a music and movement activity. It is more fun when you do it together with other mums and kids, but you can also do it individually. Inflate a lot of white balloons (at least as many as there are children), creating the winter atmosphere. Put them on a large blanket. Hold the little babies into your arms and invite the older ones who can stand stably to hold the blanket. Grip the rim of the blanket as well and play with the kids tossing the balloons: slowly and quietly (swinging) and then fast and energetic until all of them fall to the floor. Put the balloons back on the blanket and repeat the game changing the movement intensity. You can play music of varied pace. At the end of the activity you can arrange balloon dance in pairs. It can be any dance you like and suitable for the baby (standing alone or in his mum's arms). Use the balloons for dancing, following the way your child is playing. Have a hot winter and great fun at your home!

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