Winter Play Dough Creation Station

winter play dough for preschool Play dough is my daughter’s favorite activity. It’s such a wonderful material whether you make your own your buy Play-Doh at the store like we did for this winter play dough creation station. I am not a pre-planner. It looks like I am because you see all the activities after I put them into neat tutorials but I plan as I go and it’s rare I remember to make the play dough, so I buy it. I also LOVE the smell of Play-doh. LOVE. That said if I need a lot of one color I will make it like I did for our Snowman Play Dough gifts. My daughter was so into this simple activity. I set it up for her while her lunch was cooking and by the time she was done I had to re-heat her lunch because nothing was tearing her away from this winter play dough ! I also want to encourage you to sit with your child at least for part of their play because play dough can be a great prompt for storytelling and my daughter proved that point by walking me through a whole story about her snowmen. You can read it below!

Gather your materials. You will need some white and blue play dough, embellishments like buttons, jewels, baker’s twine, yarn, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. You will also need some cookie cutters. When I do this with a class I have 4-6 cutters but for one kid I offer 2. Too many can be overwhelming. winter play dough creation station

Dive in and play! With younger kids you might have to help them make the shapes, as you can see my daughter is a pro. snowman play dough for preschool winter play dough

She was so into this! winter play dough for preschool

Next up, snowflakes! snowflake play dough winterThese may or may not have been inspired by a certain animated movie…  I love all the fine motor work in this winter play dough! Kneading the dough, picking up the teeny tiny beads, working with the little pipe cleaners and baker’s twine… it’s all a great exercise for fine motor skills which will help them with other skills like cutting and writing. winter play dough for preschool fine motor pincer grasp

I get so excited about the discoveries that are made because of challenges. She was getting frustrated that the foil pipe cleaners weren’t sticking and instead of just throwing up her hands or omitting them, she tried and tried finally discovering that if he stick the pointy end into the play dough it would stay put where she wanted it. Way cool. best play dough activities

She wasn’t done still – one more snowman! My daughter wanted to be very clear that the snowman is not a cyclops, she is just wearing a cyclops hat. winter play dough for kids

Now time to talk about her creations. The snowmen are a family with a mom named Merritt who is a “cooker” , a dad named Judy who is a toy maker elf snowman, and a baby named England ” She’s a girl!” . winter play dough and storytelling

Books About Snow

All our book lists include affiliate links.

The lonesome  polar bear

The Lonesome Polar Bear by Jane Cabrera is a lovely book about a little polar bear who’s only friends are a snow cloud and snow animals and they all keep melting away. The book has an important  message about not giving up hope and to keep trying to make friends , a lesson that is worthwhile for everyone. The illustrations are very cute and my son (who was a toddler when we read it )loved it!

the snowy day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a classic. Some classics are the type of books that lose their relevance and leave readers wondering what the hype is about. This book is timeless. A little boy goes exploring in the snow and discovers his world in a new way. The illustrations are magical and the way that  they convey the emotions this little boy experiences throughout the day are nothing short of perfect.

jack frost snow

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara is another fantastic book that will have you aching for snow. A little boy is lonely after his friends have all gone into hibernation for the winter when Jack Frost shows up. They frolic and play exploring all the fun that winter has to offer friends but when the first signs of spring arrive Jack is gone. The illustrations are perfectly simple and will suck you into a wintery world that you won’t want to leave. My kids love this book and after one reading at the library we bought our own copy.

Snowman Playdough – Easy Holiday Gifts

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class christmas gift ideasInspiration strikes at the funniest times. I was at the dollar store picking up helium balloons for my son’s birthday party when I saw these little containers. Immediately I knew what I wanted to do with them. I even had the perfect ribbon at home. I wanted something to give to the other students at my daughter’s preschool class for Christmas and as as soon as I saw these containers I knew I had a winner. These snowman playdough gifts are easy to make ( especially if you skip the scarf) , and cost next to nothing. Fun and frugal!

 

Gather your materials. You will need some containers with white lids, permanent markers in orange and black, white playdough , double stick tape , scissors, and ribbon.

snowman gift containers for playdough

Start by making the playdough. I usually buy Play-Doh ( <– affiliate link to amazon if you want to buy it )  but when I need this much in one color I will make it. I used my favorite recipe(<— link to recipe if you want to make it ) and added white glitter and mint extract to it. When adding extract I usually put some on my hands and add it during the kneading until I have the right scent.

Next fill your containers. I had a helper! playdough gifts for kids

Draw the mouth and eyes on with the black marker ( make sure it’s permanent ) .snowman craft

Add the nose with orange. snowman treat container

Pop the top on and add some double stick tape on the side. This will hold the ribbon scarf on. snowman containers for playdough

Cut the ribbon at a length about one and a half times around the container. Trim the ends. snowman treat

Tie it on. This was the most time consuming part of the craft for me. snowman playdough giftI would have been done all 12 in five minutes if I didn’t add a scarf so if time is short skip it. I do think they are a super cute addition and if you have an extra 15 minutes to do it.christmas gifts you can make at home

After I was done with the scarves my daughter was still playing. She even went down to get more playdoh to fill the extra containers. I love it when an activity that is really mostly an adult one can still spark play. snowman playdough play

Books About Snowmen

Here are a few books about snowmen to go along with this activity. All of our book lists include affiliate links.

snowmen at night

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner I love this book and actually looked for 2 hours in our playroom and storage room convinced I owned it but misplaced it. I don’t. I finally sat down to read it to my daughter at her school last week. She liked the snowmen but wasn’t as into it as I suspect she will be next winter. The story is adorable but a little sophisticated for a 19 month old. My son has read it and loved it, because it taps into a child’s imagination perfectly. The author imagines a world where snowmen come to life and party at night when we are sleeping, which is why they always look a little different in the morning. I remember my son looking at me and asking ” not really right?” when we read it a few years ago. I love the whimsical illustrations with fun points of view that makes the reader feel like they are in on a real secret. Great book for preschoolers, I was a little over eager reading it with my daughter but it’s so good I couldn’t wait to. { Edited for 2013 My daughter did appreciate this and the Christmas themed book in the same series much more this year than last!}

The Biggest Snowman Ever

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll is a cute winter book that holds a fantastic message inside. The book tells the story of a snowman making contest in Mouseville, two little mice work so hard by themselves but it’s just not enough until they join forces. Competition is not a bad thing but sometimes cooperation is even better, I really like this book.

Snowman-in-Paradise-231x300

Snowman in Paradise by Michael Roberts is genius. There I said it. I very rarely think that of books. I like the majority of books I read and think there are so many good ones to share but I don’t want to return this one to the library, I want to keep it! The book is about a snowman from Manhattan who is glum after Christmas and wants to go on a vacation too. A magical bluebird grants his wish and he flies first class to a tropical island , with the only rule being he needs to come back in time for Christmas next year. This book is written like the traditional “Night Before Christmas” and although I thought the copy would be too long for my son at first , I was so wrong. The rhymes are unique , my favorite being :

 

In May after splashing with buckets of paint, He threw down his brush, saying, “Gauguin I ain’t.”

Even if some references are more for the adults reading it than the children listening , both parties will close the book smiling and wanting to start all over again. Grab it and see why I love it so much.

 

Books About Snowmen

snowman books for kids

It’s the coldest night of the year so far here in Seattle and I am crossing my fingers for a snow day. If I get my wish you can bet we will be outside building our own snowman in our front yard. Even if we don’t see a single flake fall tomorrow we can still cuddle up with a good book ( or video… see below) about snowmen.

the snowman

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is a beautiful wordless picture book that I could not find anywhere! I have read it before to classes full of kids and love the illustrations but was so sad that I couldn’t find the book to read to my own kids. I actually thought we’d read it before and searched to see if I’d previously reviewed it but we never had.  Luckily I remembered there was a video made and YouTube provided a nice backup.  The story is about a little boy who makes a snowman and after he is called in for the night keeps checking to make sure it’s still out in his yard. After going to bed he tosses and turns and can’t sleep and then the magic happens and the snowman comes to life. The little boy and the snowman explore the little boys house then the snowman takes the little boy to explore his magical world. My children loved the video . The music that accompanied the beautiful illustrations brought the whole magical story to life .  Knowing how the story ends with the snowman melted in the front yard I was anxious to see how my kids would react. My son said ” That’s what snowmen do, they melt. Just the way it is.” I can’t wait to track down a copy and read it to them .

snowmen at night

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner I love this book and actually looked for 2 hours in our playroom and storage room convinced I owned it but misplaced it. I don’t. I finally sat down to read it to my daughter at her school last week. She liked the snowmen but wasn’t as into it as I suspect she will be next winter. The story is adorable but a little sophisticated for a 19 month old. My son has read it and loved it, because it taps into a child’s imagination perfectly. The author imagines a world where snowmen come to life and party at night when we are sleeping, which is why they always look a little different in the morning. I remember my son looking at me and asking ” not really right?” when we read it a few years ago. I love the whimsical illustrations with fun points of view that makes the reader feel like they are in on a real secret. Great book for preschoolers, I was a little over eager reading it with my daughter but it’s so good I couldn’t wait to. { Edited for 2013 My daughter did appreciate this and the Christmas themed book in the same series much more this year than last!}

snowmwmw

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll is a cute winter book that holds a fantastic message inside. The book tells the story of a snowman making contest in Mouseville, two little mice work so hard by themselves but it’s just not enough until they join forces. Competition is not a bad thing but sometimes cooperation is even better, I really like this book.

snowbaby

Snowbaby Could Not Sleep by Kara LaReau is a sweet winter themed story about a little Snowbaby that simply can not get to sleep. He counts snowflakes, his Snowmama gets him extra snow because he was too hot and still he can’t sleep. What finally gives him enough comfort is when his parents make him his very own Snowpuppy to snuggle all night long.  I like gentle books like this because as a child I had terrible nighttime anxiety and as a mom have always been very gentle at bedtime until I knew my kids felt secure enough to handle each new stage of nighttime independence. My daughter who is 2 loved this book .

a really good snowman

A Really Good Snowman by Daniel J. Mahoney plucked my heartstrings and then some. This is a story of a annoying little sister who always finds ways to ruin her older brother’s fun, and his avoidance of her . He’s just an average big brother, and when she tags along to a snowman building competition he ditches her for his friends. When some bullies tease his little sister , he does what every mother hopes their older child does and stands up for her. Then seeing he needs her he leaves his friends and joins her snowman building efforts.  It’s a sweet story but not so sweet it’s unrealistic. Also the illustrations of all the different snowmen will make you laugh , my favorite is the Elvis snowman!

Snowman-in-Paradise-231x300

Snowman in Paradise by Michael Roberts is genius. There I said it. I very rarely think that of books. I like the majority of books I read and think there are so many good ones to share but I don’t want to return this one to the library, I want to keep it! The book is about a snowman from Manhattan who is glum after Christmas and wants to go on a vacation too. A magical bluebird grants his wish and he flies first class to a tropical island , with the only rule being he needs to come back in time for Christmas next year. This book is written like the traditional “Night Before Christmas” and although I thought the copy would be too long for my son at first , I was so wrong. The rhymes are unique , my favorite being :

In May after splashing with buckets of paint, He threw down his brush, saying, “Gauguin I ain’t.”

Even if some references are more for the adults reading it than the children listening , both parties will close the book smiling and wanting to start all over again. Grab it and see why I love it so much!

Snow-Party

Snow Party by Harriet Ziefert is a magical book that celebrates the biggest holiday for snow people, the winter solstice. I wish I had had access to this book when I was teaching because it’s a perfect way to read a story about celebrations without focusing on one tradition, or leaving out another. The illustrations are beautiful and the idea of snow people eating and dancing in the middle of the night is delicious!

9 Snowman Crafts For Kids

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winter crafts  for kidsWe haven’t seen much snow this winter but it hasn’t stopped us from making snowmen. These 9 snowman crafts are our favorite that you can make no matter what climate you live in. On Friday we will be sharing our favorite snowman books. Don’t miss it there are so many great ones to choose from.

Playdough Snowman
Snowglobe Snowman

letter snowman craft for kids
Letter Snowman
Marshmallow Snowman

Snowman at night craft for kids
Snowman at Night
Spice Jar Snowman Blocks

rp_different-emotions.jpg
Emotional Snowmen
Snowflake Snowman
Magnetic Snowman

Letter Snowman

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letter snowman craft for kidsHave you been able to to make a snowman yet this winter? We haven’t been able to make a real one but we did make this fun letter snowman craft. This activity is part of our Alphabet For Starters Series which is a series of simple and fun activities that expose and introduce young kids to letters in playful ways. According to my daughter it can’t get much more fun than stamping so using these letter stamps to decorate our snowman.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, blue , black and a little orange construction paper, glue, googly eyes, alphabet stamp set and a stamp pad.letter snowman craft for kids 1
  2. Start by making your snowman. Cut out the frame . Glue on the white sheet and trim.letter snowman cut out
  3. Pick your letters. letter snowman alphabet for startersShe as always looked for letters in her own name first. Do not push young kids to look for new letters instead let them explore . Let them play and get familiar with them as they pick and choose the stamps.letter snowman craft As they pick the stamps up label the letters, ask questions about them like ” Where are you going to put the M?” I put the cut out from the head back on the snowman with some tape to stop her from stamping the face. letter snowman for little kids
  4. While they stamp cut out a nose and hat from construction paper.
  5. When they are done stamping pass them the glue. letter snowman toddler craft
  6. Add eyes
  7. Add a nose and a hat.letter activity for toddlers
  8. Let dry . letter snowman alphabet craft for kids