Posts Tagged ‘Preschool education’

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After planning all kinds of winter/snow activities for January for our homeschool co-op preschoolers, we ended up having weather in the 70’s each time we met for class. No worries—we just pulled out Snowmen All Year, a book that imagines what it might be like to build a snowman that could stay and have fun in every season.

Since this was one of the sequels to Snowmen at Night, and since we had just recently done a plethora of Snowmen at Night activities, I thought this book would be perfect.

But, we didn’t stop there. We also read Snow Dude, the story of a little snowman who runs away from everyone, its verse mimicking the rhythm of The Gingerbread Man.

The kids enjoyed both books, but unanimously agreed that their favorite of the day was Sneezy the Snowman, the story of a poor little snowman who just can’t get comfortable. Each time he shivers with cold, he seeks to warm himself up…either by drinking hot chocolate, sitting in a hot tub, or leaning over a campfire. Of course, each time he melts and has to be completely rebuilt.

Regardless of which winter books you read together, you and your preschooler can have a blast with the following snowman games, crafts, science experiment, and snack.

Note: Although I did the following activities with a group of 3-to-5 year olds, you could easily adapt each one to suit a single child.  And you’ll probably have less mess to clean up. 😉

Science Experiment: Melting Ice

I  brought in a container of crushed ice and let each child fill up a clear, plastic cup.

I also set out some small bowls of water and let the kids take turns adding drops of food coloring.

After mixing them up, they got busy transferring the colored water to their cups of ice. Using an eyedropper for this was challenging for some of them, and all of them got a good workout for those little hand muscles!

As they took turns squeezing the colors, we watched as the colored water began to melt the crushed ice.

I’ll be honest here: this activity lasted way longer than I’d intended, as the kiddos were all completely fascinated by the colorful, melting ice. They wanted to add more and more drops of colored water, and enjoyed watching as the original colors mixed together to form new ones. (“Look! The bottom is turning purple!”)

In the end, I let them dump out the bowls of colored water into the larger container I’d brought in.

They enjoyed this so much that even when the older kids went outside for lunch, the preschoolers wanted to keep playing with this experiment. I’d say that means the activity was a success! (I got the idea here.)

Game: Snowball, Blowball

Laugh all you want, but the preschoolers loved the title of this simple game I created. I gave each pair of children a snowball (or ping pong ball…shhhh…) and told them they had to try to blow it off the other side of the table while keeping their hands clasped behind their backs. The child on the opposite side was trying to do the same thing, of course, and let me tell you this was a HOOT to watch!

They were literally jumping up and down, screaming and squealing (much to the dismay of the class next door, I’m sure…Sorry, guys.)

I had to promise them we’d play this one again next week…even if it’s up in the 80’s then! Hint: If playing with one child, YOU can get on the other side of the table. Or, if there is an older sibling in the house, I am pretty sure he’d enjoy helping out for this one.

Craft: Balloon painting

For our first craft, I set out a plate of white paint and let each child dip a balloon in it. We then created snowmen by pressing the balloon on colored construction paper: lightly for the head, a little harder for the middle, and hardest for the lower body.

The harder you press, of course, the bigger the snowball will be. Hint: The key to making actual circles is to raise the balloon straight up after pressing the paint on the paper. I also gave them each a cotton swab to dip into the paint so they could add snowflakes all around their snowmen.

Of course we added buttons and facial features, too. I love how this little guy stood a cotton swab on end to represent the carrot nose. And doesn’t it look just like he’s juggling all those snowballs?

As always, each child’s creation was so different from the others’. (I love that!)

Hint: Remember to worry about whether your preschooler is having a great time, NOT whether her art project is turning out the way it’s “supposed to look.” (It looks right. Trust me.)

Game: Snowball Toss

Again we let our ping pong balls represent snowballs, and I set a plastic container in front of the kids for them to try to toss them into, while standing behind a line of masking tape. They took turns seeing who could land the most snowballs in the container.  Hint: If playing with one child, you could move the container farther from the tape line each time they toss the snowballs, to add an extra challenge.

Snack: Snowman Slices

By this time your little snowball thrower will have worked up an appetite, which means it’s time to pull out some bananas, raisins, and pretzel sticks for a healthy snack your child can create himself. Give your little one a rounded knife (I used the kind that’s often used for cutting into a cheese ball or other spread…Surely there’s a name for that but I have no idea what it is…) and show him how to cut the banana in slices and use them to create a snowman body—complete with pretzel arms.

Now, I’ll grant you that this isn’t the most beautiful snack to look at, but your child will LOVE the grown-up activity of using a knife and will want to slice and slice and slice. Besides that, it’s healthy and tasty, and she’ll get the snowman idea well enough.

(This snack is an adaptation of an idea I found here. )

Craft: Marshmallow Snowflakes

Here’s a simple craft idea that requires nothing but a piece of construction paper, a bottle of glue, and some mini-marshmallows. Let your child choose a color of paper and show her how to squeeze liquid glue onto it in a snowflake pattern. Doing this herself means she not only gets to create the design of her choice; it also provides another opportunity to work out those hand muscles, which is so important for little ones who are learning to write.

Once the glue is ready, give her a plate of marshmallows…

…and let her go to town sticking the marshmallows onto the glue to make a 3-D snowflake all her own.

Notice, once again, how differently they all turned out.

I got the idea here but chose to leave out the glitter…for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to explain. 😉

Do not be surprised when numerous marshmallows never make it to the glue design…

(But that’s one reason you give them SOME marshmallows on a plate…not the whole bag!)

Game: Snowball Search

For our last game, I opened up a package of “snowballs” (cotton balls) and hid them all over the room for the kids to find.

Since we were playing in a group, I gave a limit to how many each child could find, and when they reached it they had to help someone else find theirs. If you are playing with one child, you can let her find them all, and even let her have a turn hiding them for you to find, afterward!

While we were cleaning up, one of the girls became very curious about whether these snowballs would melt…so I let them add some water and see what happened.

And yes, the kids convinced themselves they truly did melt, and then had fun squishing them around in their hands. Hint: Don’t feel tied to only the activities you plan for your little one. Let him take the lead occasionally in determining what you do next!

I hope you enjoy these snowman activities. If you do them with your child, I’d love to hear about it. (And if you haven’t already, why not stop by and check out the activities for Snowmen at Night, too, for more “snowy” fun?)

Enjoy learning together!