S is for Snowman

We never have snow in southern California, but it was still somewhat ironic that the week I chose to do our winter unit was one of the warmest weeks I have ever seen. So as we spent mornings learning about snow, we had afternoons playing at the park and digging in the sand at the beach.

Learning the Letter

To practice the sound of the letter S, I would play a game, "I'm thinking of a word that starts with S." Then, I would slowly give clues until the kids would guess the word. (i.e., it's yellow, round, and in the sky… or "it's a small round candy," or "it's what an old-fashioned train puffs out from its funnel…" As we read our books, we also searched for the letter s in the words on the pages. We are also continuing to work on reading CVC words and writing the letters with my older child. I used our magnetic fridge letters spelled out several simple CVC words that start with the letter S and worked with him on sounding them out (i.e., sun, sat, sub, sit, set, Sam, etc.). My son is getting better at writing his letters, but he still gets easily frustrated when he doesn't do them just right, so one solution I have found is to have him practice on his Magna Doodle. It's easy to erase and try again when he makes a mistake.

The Books We Read

I love this classic book about a boy playing in the snow.

We love the charming illustrations and rhymes in this book. There are also other fun snowmen books in this series.

My children love Frosty the Snowman. They got this record-a-story book from their grandparents for Christmas and they think it is fun to hear their grandparents' voices read the story. The light sensors on the book can be a little finicky so I'm sure to read this in a well-lit room or have a flashlight handy.

Math Activities

Using a "snowman family" printable and chart from this website, I had my children design snowmen families and then count the various parts of the snowmen.

Science Activities

We learned about how snow is formed. I told my children the process of snow formation, and then I cut up tissue paper and made pretend snow fall as a "finale" for the story. If we lived in a place that had snow, it would be fun to try some experiments such as this. Here is a fun little "winter water cycle" puzzle you could also do with your kids.

Field Trip

Right before our snowman unit, my kids were so excited to go to Utah for the holidays and see REAL snow! Unfortunately, it was unusually warm, so there were just a few small patches of snow in shady areas. Still, since they hadn't experienced anything else, they were thrilled with the little snow they were able to play with, and they had fun building a miniature snowman.
If you live in a cold place with lots of snow, there are so many fun things you could do for your outing--sledding, skiing, building snow forts, painting in the snow… Here is a fun round-up of outdoor winter activities you could do with kids.

Arts & Crafts

I taught my older son how to cut a snowflake, while my younger son made a cottonball snowman. 

Library storytime conveniently had a winter theme as well, and so at the library we decorated paper mittens that were tied together with a piece of string.

My older son really wanted to make a felt snowman, too. I love it when he is the one who comes up with a craft idea! So together we assembled a felt snowman. I cut some of the pieces out, such as the scarf and hat, and he cut other bits, such as buttons and eyes.

Sensory Bin

I used our snowcone maker to shave up some ice cubes. Then I filled one large pan of "snow" for each child to play with. They tasted it, made snowballs, and played with their action figures, cars, and trains in the snow bins. They loved these "sensory bins," especially as they don't get an opportunity to experience real snow here in southern California.

Snack Time

My boys were thrilled with the powdered doughnut snowmen we made. For a healthier alternative, you could make a banana snowman, pancake snowman, or even a pizza snowman. But sometimes having a little sweet at the end of preschool is just the motivation my kids need to participate and learn!

Games and Music

We played the fun mitten and snowball game we found on this website. Through this simple game, we practiced color recognition as we guessed which mitten the snowball was hidden behind. After a while my kids wanted to make the game even more challenging, so we took turns hiding the snowball around the house and giving clues about where it was hidden.

We love the song, "Once There Was a Snowman" We also sang "Frosty the Snowman." One of their favorite "snow" songs is Jingle Bells. They always have their own bells that the ring as we sing that song. And of course we add all of our other favorite children's songs into our music time. My kids love the chance to shake their instruments and sing songs!

Even though we don't have real snow where we live, we had a lot of fun learning about snow in this unit. For more ideas, see my "S is for Snowman" board on Pinterest.

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