Due to health problems, I seldom go outside on cold winter days with my little granddaughter. So when I’m babysitting, I try to provide as much stimulation as possible. I’ve used Crazy Forts with my other granddaughters but have been disappointed with the poor connections. The whole thing collapses with the least movement. I decided with my two-year-old granddaughter that I would set up a semi-permanent construction and periodically change its theme. So here’s the first.
I built a simple box construction and reinforced the joints with masking tape. I also added numerous cross pieces (triangles are much stronger than squares).
Now to make it look like an ice cave. I covered it with a white sheet, to represent snow and ice, hung a paper snowflake and some icicles over the entrance, and created the floor out of an old fluffy white throw. I hung the bat in the back corner and posted a really cool picture of an ice cave on the back wall. I didn’t invest too much time in it as it is only temporary.
An ice cave is nothing without a polar bear, and this one likes to read. I placed a ball of nature items such as a cedar twig, interesting stones, and a pine cone inside. I included a magnifying glass.
I put animal costumes, masks, and hats that she might enjoy wearing in the cave.The snow leopard was a favorite.You can find these (fake) furry animal dress-up hats at the dollar store for three dollars.
When we grew tired of pretend, she made a paper plate polar bear face out of cotton balls and goodly eyes. There are many more winter art activities available on the web.
I stocked her small bookshelf with fiction and nonfiction about winter, polar bears, the Arctic, and snow. There were not a lot available for two-year-olds but we still discussed the pictures in the more difficult nonfiction books. Her favorite books were Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Junior and Eric Carle and Kitten’s Winter by Eugene Fernandes. Carle’s book follows the pattern set in several of his books.
Kitten’s Winter is a simple story of the kitchen out in the snow. Each page has an unusual illustration made of photographs, drawings, found materials, and cut paper art. The text is four words of noun verb, noun verb such as “Raccoon dozes, Woodpecker taps.” I give it a five out of five.