Nature Activities for Kids When it is too Cold to Go Outside

Too often early Spring greets us with cold and gloomy days. Bad weather can postpone our much-awaited green and sunny time outside. Need some new ideas for kids stuck indoors? Take these tips from an apartment-dwelling family described in the following article:

Indoor Nature Activities for Winter that Kids Love

Annoyed by too many clicks and hopping from one site to another? Just continue scrolling down! We put the content of the article on this page below. Have a nice read!

Credit for this article goes to Erica, posted in: Nature


Need some new ideas for kids stuck indoors? On a snowy winter’s day, kids love to play outdoors, especially when these 14 classic outdoor winter activities are on the agenda. But sometimes it’s just too cold to struggle into the snow pants one more time! Takes these tips from an apartment-dwelling family that having a few ideas for indoor nature activities is essential for a day of winter fun.

Here are some of our tried-and-true favorite indoor winter nature activities:

Playing with thin ice. My kids had great fun playing with thin ice. This idea was inspired by a visit to the local lake that wasn’t quite frozen over. See how my boys explored a tray of thin ice that we made indoors. I’m a big proponent of free play and this was ended up being a great idea! They used rocks, toys vehicles, and sticks and it was surprisingly entertaining!
Bring the snow inside. See how we brought the snow inside for a winter-y traffic jam. Playing with snow inside is a wonderful and sensory-filled way to pass the time. Place snow-filled trays on a large towel or tablecloth to protect floors from the inevitable melted snow.
DIY Magnetic Bookmarks

Create an indoor snow scape. Make Instant Snow! I realize this isn’t exactly “natural,” but my kids LOVED it, and it’s an especially welcome activity when it is cold outside but there is NO SNOW, which frequently happens here in the Big Apple. Fill up a large, deep tray or tupperware bucket with the stuff, add a few toys and your kids are all set for an afternoon of pretend play. Later on you can repurpose the fake snow in mini winter terrariums. (Note: Do not put it down the drain!)

Get creative with rocks. I’m willing to bet your kids love playing with rocks. My kids adore throwing them in ponds and rivers. While they can’t throw rocks inside, one of the most universally loved indoor nature activities is to decorate rocks. This is an especially good indoor activity for tweens. A kid armed with metallic Sharpies can make some super cool Zentangle rocks! Kids can paint on rocks with tempera paint, melt crayons on rocks, or use puffy paint to create vivid designs.

Show love to winged friends. Make bird feeders to hang out when it’s not too chilly to open the door. We have four bird feeder recipes for you. Be sure to make some hot cocoa and pull a chair up to the windows for some indoor bird watching.

Fill your home with sweet and spicy fragrance. Make pomanders with oranges and cloves. It doubles as excellent fine motor practice!
Orange slices to dry as an indoor nature activity for kids in winter.

Decorate with nature. Dry and string orange slices. We did this one year and then set them out in a neighborhood tree. We loved seeing it as we walked down the sidewalk and the process of drying the slices makes the house smell yummy. Get the instructions for drying orange slices here.

Set up sensory stations. A super easy way to play with nature indoors is to set a nature sensory bin. If your unfamiliar with sensory bins, here are some great instructions to set up a simple nature bin. Alternatively, make a winter “calm down” sensory bottle for little ones.

Experiment! Why not engage in a little science exploration? Throw all caution to the wind and make evergreen and berry winter oobleck.
Regrow carrot scraps as an indoor nature activity in winter.

Grow something. We plant paperwhite bulbs every year. Follow this simple tutorial for how to plant paperwhites, or grow something from your kitchen scraps. Read about how kids can regrow vegetable scraps. Or, plant items from your kitchen pantry and race to see whose grow the fastest!

Happy Women’s Day!

Spring is full of special days, but today is special among specials! 🥰

Happy women’s day to all our dear women! 🌹🌹🌹

Thank you for all the warmth and love you spread. 🍃🌞

Spring is Here!

We love winter, but we are very happy to say “Hello” to Spring! 🌿 Warm weather, green trees and happy laughter, what can be better? 🌞🌳

Happy spring everyone!🌷🌷🌷

Happy Birthday to Step By Step Daycare!

Happy Birthday to Step By Step Daycare!

Today is an exciting day! We are turning 9 years old! Over these years we had an exciting and wonderful time with our children, we were happy for every chance to know closer every girl and boy enrolled with our daycare.

We would like to thank all the parents that have entrusted their children’s education with our teachers.

Step By Step Children’s Academy,

Happy Birthday!

Exploring the types of child care

Looking for a child care service? It’s never too early to get familiar with the subject. There is quite a lot to it; after all you’ll be leaving your child under someone else’s responsibility. What are the types of child care? What are the benefits of each type? By whom are they licensed? How often are they inspected?

If you want to know more about it, here is a source we recommend:

You can also find the content of the article below.

Types of child care

Learn about the types of child care in Ontario.

On this page 

  • Licensed home child care
  • Licensed child care centre
  • Kindergarten before- and after-school care
  • Unlicensed care

Licensed home child care

Individual home caregivers are not licensed by the Ministry of Education, but are contracted by home child care agencies that are licensed by the Ministry.

These caregivers may care for infants, toddlers and pre-school aged children. They may also offer before and after school care for children.


Home child care allows for:

  • government-regulated and inspected home that meet specific standards
  • siblings to be placed together
  • small group size
  • child care agencies to provide caregivers professional development opportunities, support and monitoring
  • child care fee subsidies may be available
  • standards that must be met by caregivers

Home visitors

Home visitors work for private-home daycare agencies. They screen and monitor home caregivers affiliated with a licensed agency. As of August 31, 2015, a home visitor must be:

  • a member in good standing of the College of Early Childhood Educators, with at least 2 years of experience working with children under 13 years old
  • or otherwise be approved by a director

They check that a home is safe before children are enrolled and conduct routine inspections to ensure caregivers are following provincial rules, as well the agency’s policies and procedures.

Home visitors can also help families find a home caregiver that is affiliated with a licensed agency and meets their needs.

Home visitors can help caregivers by:

  • developing programs for children at different stages of development
  • providing advice about nutritious meal planning
  • helping choose toys and equipment that are safe and suitable


At least once per year, the Ministry of Education inspects private-home daycare agencies, and some home child care locations, to ensure they meet the licensing standards.

Licensed child care centre

Licensed child care centres care for infants and toddlers, as well as pre-school and school-aged children.

They include nursery schools, full-day and extended hours care, and before-and-after-school programs.

Child care centres operate in a variety of locations including workplaces, community centres, schools and places of worship.

There are 5,069 licensed child care centres across the province with 317,868 spaces.


  • Government-regulated and inspected
  • Children are with other children their age
  • Staff members include professionals with training in early childhood education
  • The centre has to meet certain standards of care
  • Activities are designed for children at different stages of development
  • A child care fee subsidy may be available


At least once a year, the Ministry of Education inspects child care centres to ensure they meet specific provincial health, safety and developmental standards.

Kindergarten before- and after-school care

Where there is sufficient demand, schools that offer full-day kindergarten also offer before-and-after-school programs. These play-based programs complement the regular school day with a mix of exploration, guided independent activities, quiet times and outdoor play.

School boards may offer before-and-after-school programs directly, or through licensed third-party providers that offer programs in a school setting. The majority of these programs are licensed, except for some operated by school boards.

Unlicensed care

In Ontario, unlicensed, informal care is not regulated by the government. These unlicensed caregivers are not inspected by the Ministry of Education, and are not required to meet provincial standards. However, the Ministry of Education does investigate all complaints from the public about child care providers who may be operating illegally.

Maximum number of children in care

As of August 31, 2015, under the new rules under the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA), 2014, unlicensed caregivers are not allowed to care for more than 5 children, including their own children under the age of 6.

This limit on the number of children applies regardless of how many adults are present at the home and unlicensed providers may not operate at multiple premises.

The meals at Step By Step Daycare!

Step By Step Daycare is serving three meals a day with a light snack in between the meals.

The focus of Step By Step Daycare curriculum


Step By Step Daycare has a curriculum focusing on the following:

  • obtaining more confidence in children
  • encouraging self-expression in children
  • encouraging creativity in children

Step By Step Daycare is 2 minutes away from HWY-407 and 5 minutes form HWY-404

Step by Step Children’s Academy Daycare is 2 minutes away by exiting HWY 7 and HWY 407 on Bayview Ave. Just head north on Bayview Ave.

Also, Step by Step Children’s Academy Daycare is 5 minutes away by exiting HWY 404 on 16th Ave. Just head West toward Bayview Ave, and then turn left on Bayview.

How to prepare your child for daycare

We are just 3 weeks before school starts as a new academic season. If you have children this period could be a stressful one because as parents you wonder how to prepare the children for childcare. Moreover, what if your child had never visited any childcare before?

As a Registered Early Child Care Educator, RECE for short, I have encountered many parents who have no idea what to do in this situation. Let’s deconstruct this area inch by inch so you can have a peace of mind. By consulting what our Ontario Government is advising we conclude:

Before starting care

  • Visit the child care provider with your child to meet the caregivers and the other children to help them become more familiar with their new setting.
  • For older children, talk about the child care program, the people there, and what they’ll do throughout the day
  • If attending child care requires a new schedule (e.g., waking up earlier, eating breakfast at a different times), begin this new routine several days before starting care, to make the transition easier for your child

During first days

  • Work with your child care provider on a plan for your departure when dropping off your child during the first few days/weeks
  • If you can, begin care gradually (e.g., on the first day, take your child for an hour or so and then leave together; over the next few days, stay for several hours)
  • As your child becomes more comfortable, gradually increase their time in care until your child reaches a full day
  • Let your child know ahead of time that you will be going to work and when you will be back (e.g. after nap time)
  • To help comfort your child, some programs suggest bringing a familiar item from home or a photo of family members
  • Call your child care provider to see how your child is doing (this can help alleviate your own worries)
  • Do your best to pick up your child at the time you said you would
  • Transitions may also be stressful at pick-up time, and your child may express different emotions when you arrive (this is a normal part of getting used to child care)

These tips were recommended by the Government of Ontario at

Of course we have much more insight about this period and we will share another list of 8 tips collected by the members of, and specifically Read on 🙂


1.   Adjust your schedule 2-4 weeks before school starts. Make sure you get your child used to the routine of their preschool day.  Plan lunch around the same time you will eat lunch on school days.  Plan rest time around the same time that they will rest on school days.  Helping them get used to the routine will help them transition smoother to the routine on school days.  We even work on moving bedtimes up & rise a little earlier than usual so we are ready & eager for the first day of school!

2.   Pick out a few special items for preschool. This could be new shoes, lunchbox, or a fun backpack with your child.  Abby loves animals, especially dogs & cats so when we saw this Land of Nod kitty backpack, we knew that she would love to head off to preschool with a kitty on her back!

3.   Play on the playground before school starts, especially during the summer before preschool starts! When we moved to our town two years ago, the new school playground was one of our favorite spots for the kids to play before they started at their new school.  It helped them get used to the school area & they were excited to start school and be back on the playground every day.  We also met other families and children that were also attending the school.  (Just check with the school before you head over there as some schools do not allow this opportunity!)

4.   Here are some of our favorite books for this young age to help with the transition to preschool:

Llama Llama Misses Mama:  Anna Dewdney

I Love You All Day Long:  Francesca Rusackas

The Kissing Hand:  Audrey Penn

The Night Before Preschool:  Natasha Wing

Maisy Goes to Preschool:  Lucy Cousins

Fisher Price Little People, Let’s Go to School:  Doris Tomaselli

5.   Practice separation. Try to help your child get used to being dropped off & picked up (and you saying good-bye!).  This could be at a gym daycare, grandma & grandpa’s house, or a church nursery.  It helps so much for a child to already be used to this process before starting preschool, trust me!  My oldest was so hard to separate from, but thankfully Abby has been left in care of family, friends, & more that she is totally okay with this transition which makes me feel more prepared for the big preschool day!

6.   Talk about school experiences. The boys love to tell Abby about some of their favorite things about preschool:  running on the playground, playing the drums during music class, & creating fun art projects with their teachers.  We also have the eeboo Back to School Tell Me a Story picture cards where we can look at the different cards & tell stories about what we see.  Talking with them about fun experiences is a great way to prepare for their new school year!

7.   Try to think of simple ways to help them reassured. This could be packing a small lovey in the backpack for the day or establishing a goodbye routine.  I have learned, over the years, to make the good-bye simple and sweet.  Give them a kiss & tell them to have a great day and then leave (even if they are crying).  Teachers know how to deal with the stars and most likely all will stop within several minutes, or at the worst several days but they will most likely adjust.  Continue to be positive and uplifting about school and your kid will feel the same way!

8.   Work on teaching independent age-appropriate skills with your child. At not even 2 1/2, we are working on very short directions including: cleaning up toys & listening to simple directions.

Introducing your family to camping

Greetings from Step By Step Daycare,

Last week we have addressed a topic that covers the summer activities to enjoy with your children. And today inspired by some of the questions that we have received we will discuss one of the most exciting things to do with your children, and specifically family camping. Yes, kids love camping and in most cases, it’s up to the parents to organize a camping journey.

But hey, this is not rocket science and we have investigated the essentials of planning a family camping. So, let’s jump on as we wanted to share the article

Rest assured, all these tips and easy to follow instructions will prepare you for an unforgettable family camping. As usual, we would be happy to hear your experiences and other ideas.

Wishing your family a great time on a camping journey.

Gelena Liberzon, Daycare Director, RECE


Introducing your family to camping

By Andrea Howick & Lianne Castelino

Camping may be more affordable than many other vacations, but there are more reasons to try it than saving money. Many families – parents and kids alike – find camping allows them to spend unique, quality time together.

Just ask Goldie Silverman. The Seattle grandmother still regularly hikes, backpacks and camps with her entire extended family. She wrote her first book on the subject, Backpacking with Babies and Small Children, in 1975. In her most recent book, Camping with Kids, she interviewed families extensively to get their take on camping. The main reasons parents and children loved camping were:

  • to share new experiences
  • learn new skills together (starting a fire, putting up a tent)
  • to experience a much simpler, less stressful, less competitive life.

“One child wrote, ‘To see my Dad having fun,’” says Goldie. Here are some things to consider if it’s your family’s first time camping:

Start small

Don’t be too ambitious when picking your campsite. In fact, if there is a park in your city that has cabins or tents to rent, consider that for a first camping experience. A perfect overnight with young kids includes a fun supper, some planned games, a cozy night in a sleeping bag and breakfast! Otherwise, make the journey to camp as short as possible – pick somewhere close to home.

Book your site

For those ready to be more adventurous, booking a site is a first step. (You’ll still need to consider how long a car ride you or your children can tolerate.) Also, even if you have a two-week vacation, don’t make first trips with young kids too long. Start the planning process early and involve your kids. Booking a site in a national park can cost between $15-$40 a night, depending on the facilities the park provides. Book early as some sites fill up quickly.

Collect equipment

Don’t focus on equipment, but be task-oriented, says Goldie. Look very critically at what you’ll need in terms of clothing, food and activities, and ask yourself what you already own. For example, instead of buying sleeping bags, make bed rolls using a plastic tarp as a ground cloth and folding old quilts and blankets over them. Think of what you’ll need in terms of categories: Shelter, Sleeping, Meals, Clothing, Fun, First Aid and Repairs. Check with camping supply stores to see if they rent equipment. Also, check out neighborhood garage sales for second-hand gear.

Set a simple menu

You’ll need to plan all meals, snacks and drinks for every family member for every day of the trip. Goldie suggests avoiding elaborate cooking; if you don’t own a camp stove, plan meals that can be cooked over a fi re, like hot dogs on a stick made from a bent wire hanger, a stew, or hamburger patties cooked at home and wrapped in heavy duty foil that can be warmed in the coals (take a pair of oven mitts).

Another idea is to make deli sandwiches at home, but pack washed lettuce leaves and mustard or mayo packs separately, then build your sandwich in camp. Many campgrounds provide a barbecue with a grill that can be used by all campers at the site. Be sure to keep pre-cooked foods cold until you need them.

No matter how you plan to camp, Goldie has three final tips when planning your trip:

  • Practice camping before you go, especially with young children. Talk about it with your kids. Set up a tent inside or outside, and spend some time in it.
  • Don’t try too much at first. Avoid planning a trip that demands great effort from the weakest member of the family. Keep in mind what that person can do comfortably.
  • Plan to include something special for each member of the family – a favourite food, activity or book.

Video: Preparing for a camping trip




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