A little later, I got him a bowl of snow from outside. It was nice to put it in the sink and not worry about all the water everywhere. The animals liked the snow! I think my guy tried to see how many he could fit in the bowl, which is typical 2-year-old behavior, dumping and pouring it all out. We added an eye dropper to the mix as well.
As I watch him play, I see categorizing, sorting, estimating (will this fit in there), fine motor skills, animal recognition, inquiry building, cause/effect, and more!
Eventually the snow melted with the addition of the water and from being inside. That's when the bowl became a mountain!
I tell you, this has been a favorite activity ALL week long! I also shared what we were doing on social media and friends shared they were doing it as well. It's great to see good ideas spread and how we can be an example for nature play. We brought this idea into a local nature center this morning with all our kids (no school due to the weather) and all the boys (ages 10-2) were playing in our big tub of snow with our beaker, dropper, animals, and little pebbles. They had their own unique options, such as making snowballs, turning the snow into an ice chunk, hypothesizing about how long the snow would take to melt, and more. A simple play option can turn into great science inquiry and exploration. Love following their lead!
With the extremely cold weather sometimes, it may be difficult to spend much time outside in the snow. Try bringing the snow inside for nature play time! Use a bowl in the sink or a plastic tub on the table. Give the child spoons, droppers, salt, food coloring, plastic animals, etc. to explore.