Car Mittens vs. Snow Mittens

by Diann Gano, Nature Explore Certified Classroom Owner: Under The Ginkgo Tree

What do Nature Explore Classrooms do in the winter months? We go outside, of course! As great as the winter has been to us this year, it finally got even better. It SNOWED! As a guest blogger, I thought this would be a great chance for us to share how we approach this season with our students and their parents.

A few years ago, while carrying one of those huge, 18-gallon tubs full of Legos into my classroom, it hit me; Why do I fill my classroom with all these materials, but I don’t have the supplies we need when we go outdoors in the winter? And so my collection began. Our families have been great about handing down snowsuits, mittens and boots that no longer fit their children. I also grab that kind of stuff at any clearance sale that I run into. If we are going to be an outdoor classroom, we need the supplies to make it happen. If we supply the stumps, loose materials and make the time to be outdoors then we also need to have the appropriate clothing to make that happen.

We call bundling up, “Suit Up and Boot Up”! After making sure everyone has gone to the bathroom, the process begins. I am often asked, “How long does it take you to get everyone ready?” Who cares? Do we have something better to do? No! And it is an important process that teaches more than what could be learned in traditional circle time. For example, we learn sequencing and self-independence. A few years ago, I had a two year old that could “Suit Up and Boot Up” faster than her older counterparts. She was a pro! With so many children attempting to get ready at the same time, children learn to independently get ready on their own. Our children love to play in the snow, and they know that getting ready is part of the process.

We have also found that some outwear just works better than others, which brings me to my newly created vocabulary word. Have you heard about Snow Mittens vs. Car Mittens? Fleece and wool mittens are good for car rides but if you are going to sled, build snowmen, eat icicles or just PLAY in the snow you need SNOW mittens. Any nylon glove or mitten will work, but really great ones go up to your wrists. They allow you to play for longer periods of time and stay warm in the winter temperatures. I knew my vocabulary word was catching on when a four year old sadly walked in the door and announced, “I could only find my car mittens today.” Poor kid. Luckily, we have many extra pairs of snow mittens. I am on a campaign of sorts, and Nature Explore teachers are the perfect group to help me out.  Use my new vocabulary word (snow mittens) and be prepared for lots of learning and sensational snow play.



4 responses on “Car Mittens vs. Snow Mittens”

natureexplore says:

Wonderful winter weather tips! I’m wondering what kinds of outerwear work for other teachers and parents. Please share your ideas here.

Kathleen says:

Love the vocabulary word! I am going to start using it with my kids! Thanks!

Peggy says:

Diann, You continue to amaze me with your devotion to teaching and to your students! Will you also share your puddle pushers? I think thats what they are called? Your description of snow mittens vs. car mittens is excellent!!!

krisv says:

I love this story. I too take time to get my preschoolers outdoors on snowy cold days. Having 21 students and 3 teachers helps, but as they become independent in dressing themselves it is better! It also helps to have teachers get their snow pants on as the children dress. That keeps us from getting cold before the children get cold! Love the description of snow mittens and car mittens. There really is no such thing as bad weather….only bad clothing! Thanks for the new desciptor to use for the right type of mittens for snowy Nature Explore Classrooms.

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