Families Matter Newsletter
January 2022
Volume 18, Issue 3
Don’t Let the Cold Keep You Inside!
This time of year we normally talk about how to stay active indoors; however, this year we want everyone to think about getting outside. Let’s face it—we don’t live in Alaska or North Dakota! Although our winter weather can be wet and cold there are a lot of days perfect for a brick walk or playtime outside.
There are several benefits for outdoor winter play. 
  • We see things in nature we can’t see other times of the year. Exploring debris on the ground and playing around rocks aren’t great ideas for kids in hot, Oklahoma summers, but can be great this time of year.
  • Fresh air and sunshine! This can fight the “winter blues” people tend to get in January and February.
  • Boosts the immune system, large muscle development and cooperative play.

Teaching Problem Solving
What If??
Ask your children “What if?” questions about problems that commonly arise. Try questions such as these: “What if you want to play on the swing, but your friend won’t get off? What if there’s one cookie left and 3 of you want it?” Help your children come up with peaceful solutions to these problems. Then encourage the children to think of more problems and ideas to help solve them. 

As parents we often times want to give our children the answers for their problems!
However, if we do not teach our children how to think about
solutions—they will never learn to solve problems on their own!
Give your child opportunities to come up with solutions and more importantly try them out to see if they will work!
No Cook Play Dough
2 cups boiling water
3 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp. cooking oil
3 tsp. alum
food coloring
In a large bowl, mix ingredients listed above. After mixing, knead well. Add food coloring as desired. Store in an airtight container or heavy plastic bag for up to six months.
Play dough can be a great, quiet way for children to release “bottled up” energy! 
And, it’s great for adults too!
Lots of learning takes place as young children help prepare these easy
to follow recipes for art materials. Measuring, pouring and mixing ingredients
provide preschoolers with math experiences. 
When children observe the changes in texture etc., science skills are developed. 

Creative art experiences begin when children (and their parents) actually use the materials that they have created from everyday household ingredients.

Parent Tip: Germs and bacteria can get trapped in play dough—
use small amounts for your child to play with and discard after they have enjoyed their creations!
Science Fun:
For those cold weekends that need a little excitement
Make a Bird Feeding Tree!
Choose a tree easily seen from inside so you can enjoy the sights and track what birds visit your tree.
Read “The Night Tree” by Eve Bunting

Orange Feeders: Cut oranges in half. Let your children carefully remove the orange segments from each half. Save the segments for Citrus Salad! To make each Orange cup, poke four holes near the top of the orange rind. Fasten a string through each hole and tie the strings together at the top. Let your children fill the Orange Cups with birdseed and hang them on a tree. 
Edible Garland: Birds and people can eat this! String popcorn and fresh cranberries on a line to drape over branches of your tree. Birds will enjoy the treat and kids can eat it as they work! 
Pinecone Bird Feeders:  Use fresh, real pinecones (not scented or store bought decorations) to create a bird feeder by rolling them in peanut butter and then birdseed. Use a string to attach to your tree. 
Use this lesson to talk about “Who brings you your Food”
Farmers, Truckers, Grocery Stores, Gardens, etc.
Easy Citrus Salad
3 oranges, peeled & sectioned
1 grapefruit , peeled & sectioned
2 tangerines, peeled & sectioned
1/2 cups chopped nuts
(walnuts, pecans or peanuts)
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup honey
Combined all fruit and nuts. Drizzle with lime juice and honey. Stir to combine.
4 servings: 273 cal, 10g fat, 48g carb, 4g protein, 0mg chols, 2g sodium
NoBake Granola Bites

2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup crispy rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup honey (or agave nectar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons coconut oil (optional, if needed)
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined.
2. Using a cookie scoop and your hands, drop rounded tablespoonful-sized portions onto a parchment lined cooking sheet. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Storing: Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to a week or freeze for several months.
Contact the Extension Office at 273-7683 or sonya.mcdaniel@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments cooperating. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a veteran, and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.