Winter | Water: Infants & Toddlers

Brrrrrrr, Ice, Baby!

Summary: Our tiny gardeners like to explore the world through touch and taste. In winter, they can experience a bit of the colder season through touching and tasting ice!

Before Visiting the Garden: 

  • Gather: Warm clothing, an ice cube, a cup of water, and a few shovels
  • Explore: Images of igloos and/or snow forts
  • Read: Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Josse. Point out the images of water sprinkled throughout the book. 

In the Garden: 

Just as our small gardeners change throughout the seasons so does the water in our garden. In the summer, water is a cool liquid nourishing our plants, in fall it turns into light frost which burns the leaves of our plants, and in winter it becomes snow and ice. Introduce your gardener to these changing states of water on a cool winter day.

Questions to Explore:

  • Do you see water in the garden? If running water is not present, point out icicles or snow on the ground.
  • How does this water feel? 
  • How does this ice feel? Use lots of descriptive words like cold, frosty, freezing, etc. 


    1. Spend some time in the garden looking at snow and ice. If none are present, use the ice cube and cup of water you brought with you to let your gardener explore the different tastes, textures, and temperatures of water.
    2. Next, take out your shovel and get to digging. We’re going to make a snow fort!
    3. Pile the snow into a high mound then begin to excavate near the ground to create a tunnel or den.
    4. If you brought the book with you to the garden, crawl inside your cave and re-read it together. 

Beyond the Garden | Sensory Snow

Have some warmer fun indoors by making simple sensory snow. Gather liquid starch, white school glue, and clear glitter or artificial craft snow. Stir together equal parts liquid starch and school glue to form a sticky but not wet slime. Mix in as little or as much glitter/snow as you like to give it a sparkly sheen. If the mixture is too wet or sticks to your hands, add more starch. If it is too runny or stringy, add more glue. Once the mixture is kneaded into consistent dough, begin creating winter landscapes. If you have plastic arctic animals on hand, add them to your snowscape. 

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials

Water conservation resources: 

Another fun ice idea:

Note for Parents:
Each lesson suggests you explore a piece of artwork and read a specific book with your child. The artwork and books are easily available for view with an online search. However, these suggestions are not necessary to complete the lessons.

Guiding Principles


Learning, though not always visible, is always happening. The lessons are designed using inquiry as a base. Rather than “right answers” be more concerned with asking good questions.


Things may not go as planned. The lessons are designed to be used in whatever way works best for you. You can use all of the lesson or just pull a piece out of it.


Planting and cultivating a garden is believing in possibility. The lessons are designed to generate excitement about the future.


Each lesson includes a way to take the learning out into the community for more learning and more connection.


When a young child’s innate curiosity is unleashed in a garden the possibilities are endless. Any topic is open for exploration.


You will get dirty. There will be bugs.