So, there can be barely an inch of snow covering the ground and my kids will still attempt to build a snowman. Here are a few of my favorite books about snowmen.
*Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan
All winter long Sadie builds and rebuilds the snowman until, finally, there is only enough snow to build a snowman so small it fits in a bowl that she hides from the sun under the deck. When she comes outside to find just water left in the bowl she pours it into a plastic bag and sticks it the freezer. The following winter she uses the ices to start a snowball for a new snowman.
Zoe loved this story so much that we actually had to make a little snowman in a bowl at the end of the season so we could save him until the following winter. For three years in a row we would make a snowman around a ball of ice from the previous winter's last snowman. It may seem silly, but when your child is that inspired and excited about something she read in a book you just have to go with it.
*Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
*The Greatest Snowman in the World! by Peter Hannan
Of course, there is more to playing in the snow than just building a snowman.
*In the Snow by Peggy Collins
*The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
*Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman;
Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee;
One-Dog Sleigh by Mary Casanova
I am grouping these books together because all three feature a group of animals overfilling a sled or sleigh and ending up in a snow bank. Super cute and fun to read aloud with your kids.
*No Two Alike by Keith Baker
Ok, on to songs and fingerplays!
One of my favorite children's songs about winter is a very old nursery rhyme called The North Wind. If you do not want to sing it yourself I particularly love the version by Elizabeth Mitchell which is on the CD, You Are My Little Bird.
When I play the song during storytime I have the kids do little motions that go with the lyrics. Blow and wave their arms for the wind, wiggle their fingers down for snow, shrug shoulders, hug themselves and shiver, etc.
To go along with the snowman books there is a great fingerplay called Five Little Snowmen. There are quite a few different versions of this fingerplay, but this is the one that I use:
Five Little Snowmen
Five little snowmen on a winter’s day
(Hold up 5 fingers)
The first one said: “Wake up so we can play”.
(Lay head on folded hands like sleeping and pretend to wake up)
The second one said: “Let’s stomp on the ground”. (Stomp in place)
The third one said: “Let’s roll around”.
The fourth one said: “Let’s run and run and run”. (Run in place)
The fifth one said: “I’m afraid I feel the sun”.
(Cover face with hands)
“Oh no!” cried the snowmen
(Look up in sky)
Then the five melting snowmen waved a sad goodbye.
(Wave while sinking to the ground)
When you need to take a break from the cold there are plenty of activities that will bring the winter theme inside.
One of the easiest snowman crafts is to make a simple outline on blue paper (you can draw it or your child) and then fill in the snowman with cotton balls or white tissue paper. Then decorate your snowman with whatever else you have on hand: twigs for arms, buttons, sequins, construction paper, scraps of felt, etc.
Now, if you do not mind getting messy you can make a puffy paint snowman. All you need is shaving cream (foam not gel), flour, and white glue. You can get the recipe and instructions for the puffy paint that I use here. I have used this same recipe to make moons, clouds, and Halloween ghosts. Or if you are not worried about stains, you can add food coloring to make flowers, trees, planets, or whatever else you can come up with.
Speaking of getting messy, you can build some snowmen inside with play dough. You can use store bought play dough or make your own "snow dough" with just corn starch, vegetable oil, and glitter (optional).
Another fun activity for winter is to make bird feeders. We have all made or seen the craft where you take a cardboard toilet paper tube, coat it in peanut butter, and then roll it in bird seed.
If you want to make an simpler, less-sticky bird feeder you can string cheerios on pipe cleaners or wire. Not only is this a cleaner, more toddler-friendly craft; stringing the cheerios is actually an excellent fine motor activity. Obviously, you do not have to shape your pipe cleaners into hearts. I just made loops and used an empty pipe cleaner as my hanger.
I hope that I have given you some ideas to make winter a little more enjoyable. Stay toasty!