Tag Archives: winter

Snow Days

snowLiving in the upstate of South Carolina, our snow days are rather limited; we usually have a couple of ice storms and maybe one good snow (actually, about 2-4 inches) a year. This past weekend, we had both, as Friday brought the snow and Friday evening brought in the sleet and ice. Our wintery mix hung around until Monday, when it finally began to melt.

With the public schools closed on Monday and still a little snow on the ground, we (of course) had to declare Monday a “Snow Day.” But it wasn’t without its educational value. They didn’t realize it, but as the children were enjoying the snow, they were learning, too.

John, my 13-year-old, was quick to snatch up the camera and head outdoors. He took pictures of everyone and everything, experimenting with the settings on the camera, the lighting, and the subject matter. He kept working at improving his photos with each shot.

Cassie, Lillie, and Luke played in the field a long time, creating “roads” and “houses” in the snow. They figured out a way to surf down a small hill on their sled. We looked for animal tracks in the woods and found deer and coyote prints. We made snow cream by following a recipe we found on the Internet, mixing fresh snow with vanilla, sugar, and milk. And we drank a lot of cocoa.

Even during an “off” day, even during a day of play, it’s good to know that learning was going on, creative minds were thinking, and relationships were growing. Now the snow is just about gone and life is again returning to normal. Or as normal as it can be for now. We’re expecting another winter storm this weekend. 🙂

Snowman Picture

snowmanThis week, our kindergarten/first grade class read the story Katie and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Our craft was a simple but fun snowman picture. If you’ve been experiencing wintery weather lately, give this craft a try.

Supplies:

  • Colored cardstock (any color will do, but we used a dark turquoise color)
  • White cardstock
  • Glue Stick
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Googley eyes
  • Crayons, colored pencils, or markers.
  • Pen
  • White acrylic craft paint
  • Styrofoam plate
  • Water in a container
  • Two small-medium paint brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • 3 objects with circular bases, 3 different sizes (i.e. a mug, the lid to a jar, etc.)

To prepare, draw 3 circles of different sizes (small, medium, and large) on a piece of white cardstock using the 3 objects with circular bases. Older students can do this step themselves.

Next, draw a hat (or several different hats if you want to give the student a choice) on the piece of white cardstock. Older students can draw the hat themselves.

Now draw a triangle for the snowman’s “carrot” nose on the white cardstock. Again, older students can draw the nose by themselves.

Have you gathered all of the supplies? Now you’re ready to create your snowman!

1. To begin, color the hat and triangular “carrot” nose with crayons, colored pencils, or makers.

2.  Next, cut out the hat, carrot nose, and 3 circles.

3. Using the glue stick, glue the circles onto the colored cardstock, placing the largest on the bottom, the medium-sized one in the middle, and the smallest on top, forming a snowman.

4. Next, glue the carrot nose onto the face of the snowman. Glue the hat onto the head of the snowman.

5. With a pen, give your snowman a smile. You might also want to draw on arms or buttons.

6. Now it’s time to add the snow! Cover your table top with newspaper. Next, pour a small amount of white paint onto the Styrofoam plate. Dip one brush into the water and then in the paint to dilute it a little bit. Now, hold that brush over your painting and begin tapping the handle of it with the handle of your other brush. The paint will spatter all over your painting, forming the snow flurries.

7. As a final step, glue on the googley eyes using Elmer’s or school glue (this step comes after painting the snow so the eyes won’t get paint on them).

When you’re finished, put it in a safe place to dry, and you can soon hang up your snowy day picture!

Working With Polymer Clay

sculpeyIn my art classes the past couple of weeks and for one of our recent co-op classes, I’ve had the students work with sculpey. Sculpey is a brand of colored polymer clay that becomes hard when baked in the oven — and the kids have been so creative with it.

I purchased a variety of colors for both classes. The clay comes in 2 oz. blocks, and you can sometimes find it on sale at your local hobby or arts and crafts store. You could also purchase the plain white sculpey, which comes in a larger size; after you mold and bake it, you can paint the sculpture with acrylic craft paints.

Before class began, I did an Internet search for “polymer clay” images and printed off a few to give the students some ideas. You can also find ideas in polymer clay craft books at your library.

Then they let their creativity go, and I helped them along if they needed it. They made small sculptures of everything from horses to roses to beetles to fruit and candy. Even my five-year-old was able to make a strawberry without assistance using a picture as a guide.

You can also vary this project to suit your lesson. Because our co-op class was reading stories about snow, winter, and Christmas, we used the sculpey to make simple Christmas ornaments. The children formed simple shapes, such as triangles for Christmas trees, circles for snowmen, hearts, etc. We then cut a small piece of floral wire, bent it into a “U” shape, and pushed both ends into the scupley, making a “hook” for the ornament. Because the wire was metal, it could be baked along with the clay.

After the sculptures were complete, we followed the directions on the package for baking them, and they turned out great! If you decide to try working with polymer clay with your children, though, be very careful not to over-bake it, as it does give off fumes. A well-ventilated area is best for baking.

Now get started molding that clay — and have fun!