Posts Tagged ‘Sledding’

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Snowmen at Night is one of THOSE books…you know, the ones that combine fun, colorful illustrations and a lyrical text to make any preschooler want to read it again and again and again. (And since it is highly unlikely we’ll see any actual snow all winter here in South Texas, we have to rely on books like this to enjoy the concept!)

In addition to the joy the book itself is sure to provide, here are ten fun activities inspired by Snowmen at Night. So grab your favorite preschooler and get ready to have some snowy fun, wherever you may live!

Note: I did these with the preschool group in our homeschool co-op, but each activity is easily adaptable and can be done with just you and your preschooler.

Snack: Snowman Buttons

OK, I’ll be honest here. This wasn’t really a planned thing. But the minute we got into the classroom, everyone was already “just starving”…and I certainly didn’t want any starving kids on my conscience…so I quickly poured out a pile of “snowman buttons” for them to snack on while we set up our other activities. (Hey, it worked…)

Snowman Buttons

Snowman Buttons

We read the book, Snowmen at Night, in which a little boy notices how different his snowman looks the morning after he builds him, and wonders what in the world snowmen do at night to end up with such a disheveled appearance. The older kids in the group understood that his snowman was really just starting to melt, but thoroughly enjoyed going along with the boy’s suppositions of what goes on when the sun goes down: sledding, ice skating, snowball fights, games and races, and drinks of ice cold cocoa provided by their snowmoms. (You really need to read this one to your kids!)

Imagination and dramatization: Sneaky Snowmen

Once we’d read the book, I pulled out our family’s big tub of winter gear (which we almost never need but have anyway for some reason.)

Each child picked out the hat, scarf, and mittens that would transform her into a snowman…

…and then I “built” each one by positioning them just so.

Next I said good-night to my little snowmen and pretended to go to sleep, telling them to do “whatever snowmen do at night.” While I snoozed and snored, they danced and jumped around. When I woke up, they froze, and I marveled at the changes that had taken place while I was sleeping. They LOVED this and asked to do it again and again and again.

Movement: Sledding

Like the snowmen in the book, we decided we would enjoy going sledding. Obviously, if you live where it snows, this will be done a little differently. Here, where we only read about snow in books, our sled of choice was a big laundry basket with a rope attached, and our snowy slope was a grassy area outside the building. Each snowman got a turn, and the others pretended to be sled dogs pulling their snowman down a snowy hill. All the riding snowman had to do was say “please,” then hang on and enjoy the ride.

Get ready...Get set...

Get ready…Get set…

Go!

Go!

Sledding wasn’t the only way the snowmen in the book had fun at night. They also engaged in snowman games and races…so we did, too! We started with a big bowl of “snowballs” (or, in our case, ping pong balls)…

…and I came up with a couple of fun, easy games to keep the kids moving on this beautiful, 70-something-degree January day. (You could, of course, do these indoors if you experience real winter where you live.)

Game/Movement: Spoons and Snowballs

First up was a game where each child had to carry a snowball in a spoon and dump it in a big bowl several feet away, then run back and give the spoon to their teammate to take over.  This was trickier than it sounds! Each time they dropped a snowball, they had to stop, pick it up, put it back in their spoon, and then keep running. We continued taking turns, but if you are playing this game with just one child, you could time him (using the stopwatch on your cell phone) to see how many he can get in a specified time, or to see how long it takes to get a certain number to the bowl. Let your child try to beat his own time each round.

Game/Movement: Scooping Snowballs

Next up I gave each child a measuring cup and had them scoop up as many snowballs as they could from the basket and run with them to their team’s bowl.

Although there was only one bowl per team, everyone was scooping and running (and squealing) at the same time. If you are doing this with one child, you might want to adapt the game as mentioned above, or have your own bowl and race against your child.

Once all the snowballs had been transferred, we counted the contents of each bowl to see which team had scooped the most. Sometimes the snowballs made it into the right bowl…

…and sometimes, not so much. But, just look at their faces!

(And yes, one of those is a Halloween-themed bowl…but it was big, and they didn’t seem to mind, or even notice!)

Snack: Snowman Donuts

All that running around will make your preschooler hungry, so you’re going to want to create a fun snack together to take the edge off that hungry tummy. Why not make this easy, adorable snowman donut?

All you need is one powdered donut and one candy corn piece per child, as well as a tube of black decorator frosting. I got the idea for this snack from this picture, but replaced the food clay he used for the eyes and mouth with other ingredients. This way the kids could do the whole project themselves—which they loved—and squeezing the tube and inserting the nose provided some fine motor practice as well.

Of course, they wanted more candy corn afterward, and they giggled each time they asked if they could please eat another nose.

Craft: Silly Snowman Collage

I purchased a package of small, white doilies and gave three of these “snowballs” to each child to glue onto colored construction paper. I then presented them with a tray full of bits and pieces that each child could use to create her individual snowman’s features.

Although I had specific snowman parts in mind when I chose items to fill the tray, I intentionally did not give the children any specific instructions other than to design their own snowmen. I love how differently they all turned out! The oldest kids’ creations looked somewhat like you might expect…

…while the younger ones’ concoctions definitely had their own unique styles!

(I adapted the above idea from here.)

Next I gave them some “snowflakes” (a.k.a. Honeycomb cereal pieces) to add to their pictures…

…but I think only one child ended up actually gluing them on her picture. (Can you guess where all the rest went?)

Science Experiment: Floating Snowball

Next I brought out a hair dryer and let each child predict what might happen to our snowball (ping pong ball) if we held it above the running hair dryer. Each child’s answer was different, and they were anxious to see what would happen.

Seeing the “floating snowball” brought some great facial expressions!  I had seen the idea here and here, but since I was working with three-to-five year olds I didn’t go into any explanation about air currents or air pressure. I simply let them experience the wonder, and enjoyed watching their reactions. Each one wanted a turn to hold the hairdryer and make the snowball float.

Please note that when you do this experiment you will need to have the heat setting on your hair dryer turned completely off. The cool air works just fine and will be safe for little hands.

Craft: Splendid Snowflakes

Here’s another idea I found here: I started with a package of incredibly gaudy doilies I found at the dollar store. (Well, I say they were gaudy…but, if you asked the kids, they were “beautiful golden snowflakes.”)

We laid them down on paper plates and used a sponge brush to cover them (and the plates) with blue paint.

The idea was to remove the doily when we were finished to find that the negative space left behind would resemble a gorgeous snowflake…which it did…

…but the kids were all just as excited about the “blue snowflakes” they had made, and refused to throw their painted doilies away. I have to agree, they looked very pretty!

If you are doing this with just one child, you could let her lay several doilies on plates and paint each one a different color, then hang them from your tree or ceiling for a falling-snow effect.

Just for fun: Snow Play

We couldn’t conclude our Snowmen at Night fun without getting our hands on some “snow,” so I brought out a can of shaving cream and squirted it onto the table in front of each child. They had a great time squishing it…

…and smooshing it.

Then they decided they wanted to turn themselves into snowmen, so they smeared it all over themselves. Good thing shaving cream cleans up easily. (And they all smelled so good afterward!)

No matter the climate where you live, there is plenty of wintery fun to be had while reading Snowmen at Night.

Update: If you enjoyed these activities, you may want to check out Sneezy the Snowman, too!

Enjoy learning together!