Tag Archives: snowman

Wonderful Winter Books!

I love picture books!  In our family library, my husband’s beautiful leather-bound tomes  line one section of shelves, while my continually growing collection of children’s literature fills another section.  I’d say our respective collections take up about the same amount of real estate, but since I can fit about 20 picture books in the same amount of space as one “War and Peace”, I’d say my collection is larger.  There just never seems to be a bad time to read a good children’s book.  Start of an activity – great!  Rowdy transition time – perfect!  Bedtime – ideal!  It reminds me of the iPhone commercials (“There’s an app for that”).  Any situation, there’s a book for that.  New puppy in the family?  There’s a book for that.  Having a really bad day?  There’s a book for that.  Want to become a pirate?  There’s a book for that too.  Ate too many cupcakes and now you’ve turned pink, which you were really excited about at first, until the birds and bees thought you were a flower and swarmed you, and after one more cupcake you’re actually red, which isn’t nearly as neat as pink and now you need to know how to get back to your normal self?  Wouldn’t you know, there’s a book for that too! (If you think I’m totally off my rocker with that last reference, you need to read Pinkalicious!)

During a winter themed preschool unit, there are plenty of opportunities for a great book.  You might use one to start off outside time, an art project, a game, or a discussion.  Or you might just read one to enjoy it together with your little ones.  For any occasion, here’s a quick list of some of my favorite winter-themed books. Instead of summarizing them myself, I’ve linked each picture to Amazon, which also gives a story summary. 

Snow book & CD set

Snow by Uri Shulevitz

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Try out Deborah’s idea for an activity, the first comment on this post, or make snow globes like these – though I would use a glue gun instead of duct tape.)

The Snowman

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

All You Need for a Snowman

All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle (Try With Activity Here)

Snowmen at Night

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner (Book Activity Here)

Snowballs

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

Snip, Snip...Snow!

Snip, Snip, Snow! by Nancy Poydar (Book Activity Here – Combine with this treat!)

 Under My Hood I Have a Hat

Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kuskin (Book Activity Here)

Snow

Snow by Cynthia Rylant

The HatThe Mitten 20th Anniversary Edition

Jan Brett’s The Hat…No, The Mitten…Oh, I can’t pick a favorite!  Go with a Jan Brett Author study and check them all out!

Snow Day (Blue Ribbon Book)

And don’t undestimate the value of your informational texts.  My boys love Snow Day by Betsy Maestro.  It’s a book I kind of overlooked, thinking it was boring, but my boys love seeing and hearing about all the machines that clear the way through streets, airports, even harbors on a snowy day.

With all the great literature, don’t forget that information books are great to have in your book area as well. You don’t have to read the whole book, just having the pictures for perusing and maybe reading a page or a sentence or two when a question comes up makes it more than worth the effort.  Having these types of books encourages curiosity and sparks interest in the topic.  It also teaches children that they can find answers to questions by reading books.

The Little Book of Snowflakes

Oooh, and something like this would be perfect in this collection as well!

I know I’ve just scratched the surface of a list that could certainly go on for days!  So comment here, and share your favorite winter themed books with all of us!

For more wintry activities, click here!

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Filed under Building Readers, language activity, Learning through Play and Experience

Snow Dough Snow Men

If you’re itching to build a snowman with your little ones, but you’re local climate doesn’t support such an activity, whip up some of your own snow dough.  This is just a spin on the Classic Playdough Recipe.  Follow that recipe but add about 1/4-1/2 cup white tempera powder to increase the whiteness and the fluffiness (or simply omit any color, and you’ll end up with white-ish dough).  Add some glitter as well for real appeal.  The final product is a sparkly white playdough that can be rolled into snowmen, or manipulated into other snowy creations. Provide pipe cleaners and beads for the snowmen’s noses, eyes, and buttons.  You might also consider other items like yarn, fabric, what-have-you!  Inserting these kinds of accessories builds fine motor skills and often encourages use of the pincer grasp, critical for budding writers.  Manipulating playdough enhances fine motor strength while also fostering creativity.  Enjoy some fun in the snow….dough!

For more wintry activities, click here!

Snowman graphic by Mr Basmt.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside!

The seasons are changing once again!  At least around these parts, the temperatures are dipping, the snow’s beginning to fly, and little children are once again fascinated to watch their own breath floating in front of them outside!  I’ve collected a list of some of my favorite winter-themed activities for you to use with your preschoolers- whether as part of a formal preschool curriculum, as play group activities, or as projects to do around the kitchen table!

Exploring the theme of winter provides many opportunities for variety of developmental objectives.  Aside from specific activities that each promote different developmental strengths, the topic of winter itself is, in general, a science topic.  Taking time to explore outdoors and to observe the characteristics of the changing seasons builds earth science knowledge as well as promoting questioning and discovery as part of that scientific process.  Sensory skills are certainly involved as they collect that information!  Winter is also a perfect time to explore the changing states of water into ice and snow and back again.  (And back to ice again.  And back to water again.  They could do that all day…)

Start out by just discussing some of the changes the children are noticing.  You may need to guide them by asking questions like: “How does it feel outside?”  “What do you see outside?”  “What kind of clothes do you wear outside?”  This discussion could be particularly meaningful after the children have just come in from outside time or just arrived at school.  Talk about their observations and make mental notes, or create a chart together, to record their ideas.  Their comments may give you new ideas for avenues to explore!  You may also want to revisit your Four Seasons chart to illustrate the changing seasons and connect to their existing ideas and experiences from their fall activities.

So here’s the list of activities!  I’ll link back to this post as I add more details for specific activities.  So bundle up and enjoy this new, cold season with your little ones!

Sensory Activities:

Rice in the Sensory Table — (Either Colored Rice, or just plain white for the “snowy effect”.  I add scoops, funnels, and cars and soon we have a snow storm on our hands!)

Ice Sculptures

Iced Shaving Cream

Bring in the Snow!

Creative Art Activities:

Crayons and Watercolors –  (Use white crayons on white paper and then paint with watercolors.  The children can do the coloring or you can leave “secret messages” or draw snowflakes for them to find as they paint.)

A Brainstorm of Snow Storm Paints

Snow Scene Collage

Snow Dough

Songs, Fingerplays, and Games:

These are the Four Seasons (Yes, again!  It’s a new season!)

Five Little Snowmen

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Creative Movement

Mr. Bear

Snow Clouds

Snowman Play and Freeze (From Snowmen at Night Book Activity, but you could continue to use the game independently)

Mitten Match

Snacktime:

Snowflake Tortillas

Snacks to Warm You Up

Fresh Snow Ice Cream!

Outside Activities

Book Activities:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Whole Language “What do you like to do in the snow?”)

All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle (Snowman Craft)

Snowmen at Night  by Caralyn Buehner (Snowman Play and Freeze Game)

Snip, Snip, Snow! by Nancy Poydar (Filter Flakes)

Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kuskin and Fumi Kosaka (Hat Craft – Patterning)

Author Study: Jan Brett

More Great Winter Books

*By the way, this time of year is also a perfect time to focus on the social skills of service and sharing.  Regardless of your center’s policy about celebrating holidays, you can have a Service Party  with or without the trappings of Christmas, and help your little ones help others!

Stay warm and stay tuned!

Top photo by ivanmarn.

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Filed under Unit Themes

Book Activity: Snowmen At Night

Snowmen at NightSnowmen at Night, by Caralyn and Mark Buehner, is a wonderful tale about the adventures snowmen get themselves into when they come to life at night.  It’s all in an attempt to explain why snowmen don’t always look the same the day after they’re built; a little hunched over, a bit more ragged.  The illustrations are detailed and fantastic, and even contain some hidden pictures that kids love to find!  The storyline is just as enjoyable with rhyming text that aids in building phonological awareness

After reading this story, play a game of Snowmen at Night.  Have the children pretend to be snowmen.  You could even pretend to build them and place their arms “just right”.  Remind them to stay frozen.  When you turn around and pretend to sleep, the children come alive like the snowmen at night, wiggling, making faces, and dancing in place.  When you turn around and face the children again, they must freeze in place.  Say aloud to yourself, “My snowmen don’t look the way I left them!”  Feign surprise and bewilderment as you turn around again and continue the game.  The more you play into the character, the more the children will as well! 

This activity builds language and literacy skills as you share the story with the children.  The snowman game also builds physical skills as the children start and stop physical movement suddenly on a signal.  Combine this activity with other snowmen activities, such as the craft, Paper Plate Snowmen, or the fingerplay, Five Little Snowmen.

For more activities for a “Winter” theme, click here!

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Paper Plate Snowmen

dscn1160Build snowmen indoors, no matter the weather!  Here’s what you need:

White paper plates

Paper, cut in hat shapes

Cardboard cut in stick shapes

Self-stick foam in geometric shapes

Self-stick foam cut in carrot shapes

Tape and staples

Markers or Crayons

Start the activity by talking about snowmen of course!  You may want to do the 5 little snowmen fingerplay, or read a book like, All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle and Barbara Lavalee.  Talk about all the different ways to make a snowman.  If you read the book, it takes you through a step-by-step progression that is perfect for this conversation.

Show the children your materials.  Point out the paper plates and ask what part of the snowman they might be, and so on with the other items.  Encourage them to come up with their own snowman designs.  Don’t try to fit them into a pre-set pattern.  Some may put 4 arms on a snowman, and some may not want a hat.  Just like in the picture above, some might use the shapes for a face while others prefer to draw it.  Let them be creative!  You may even want to provide extra foam, paper, or fabric to give the children the option of cutting more shapes to make scarves, mittens, shoes, whatever!  Help with the tape and staples if they ask for it. 

This activity promotes creativity while also building fine motor skills and the cognitive and language skills required to discuss and follow a process or procedure.

When the snowmen are done, extend the creative activity into a fantastic language activity by asking the snowman’s name, whether or not he is magic, and what adventures they might have together.  Extend it further by recording the stories and making a book!

For more activities for a “Winter” theme, click here!

Where does this activity fit on the Spectrum of Preschool Arts and Crafts?

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Filed under book activity, Create, Learning through Play and Experience

Five Little Snowmen

snowman2Here’s a great fingerplay for a snowy day:

(Holding out five fingers.)

Five little snowmen standing in a row,

Standing straight and tall in the deep, cold snow.

Out came the sun, shining bright and hot all day,

And one little snowman melted away.

(Repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0.)

I like to precede this fingerplay by showing five pictures of snowmen.  I copy the outline so that they are the same, but then make two matching pairs and one single by coloring the scarves different colors, adding buttons or mittens, or giving one a broom to hold on to.  We first count out the snowmen, decide which ones are the same/different and why.  (This practices counting skills, as well as the concept of same/different and develops visual perception skills.)  Then I tell them that I have a fingerplay or finger story about five snowmen that they can help me with, but first they have to show me their five snowmen by putting up their fingers!

Fingerplays increase language skills and reading readiness.  This one in particular helps with counting, one to one ratio, and basic math skills.  The science vocabulary word “melt” and the concept of melting is also introduced.

For more activities for a “Winter” theme, click here!

Photo provided by tellgraf.

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Filed under Fingerplay, language activity, Learning through Play and Experience, math activity