Whether it’s blizzards and forts or snowmen and snowflakes, there’s no denying that snow means fun for kids. In this seasonal unit study, we’ll break down basics of your favorite flakes from a scientific, mathematical, and artistic point of view. Use this printable tracking worksheet to document the skills learned and how the lessons go. Ready to get started? We just know you’re going to melt for these engaging ideas. ❄️❄️❄️
Note: Occasionally we include project upgrades (for kids ready for more) and modifications (which can be useful for including younger siblings). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) or minus (-) symbols.
What you need:
Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):
- Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats
- Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Optional extra reading:
- The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonders by Jon Nelson, Ph.D
- A Fraction’s Goal ― Parts of a Whole by Brian P. Cleary
Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):
- pipe cleaners
- food coloring
- mini marshmallows (play dough can work, too!)
- paper + access to a printer (don’t have one? we like this model)
- dry erase markers (optional, if laminating)
- invisible tape
- white paper plates (you can also use cupcake liners or coffee liners!)
- cardstock or construction paper
- ingredients for this sparkly playdough (or you can use white playdough with some glitter mixed in!)
- materials for decorating a mini snowman (this kit has everything you could need, but feel free to use what you have on-hand! Note: If you buy this kit, you don’t need the pipe cleaners from above.)
- painter’s tape
- foam snowflakes (or your can cut out your own)
- pom poms (not needed if you purchase the kit above)
- ice cubes
- ingredients for this ice cream recipe
- hot glue gun + glue (or you can use duct tape)
- small plastic cup
- styrofoam balls (or you can use cotton balls, rolled up balls of paper, even balled up socks!)
- watercolor paper
- watercolor paints
- masking tape (or you can use the painter’s tape from above!)
- white acrylic paint (or white crayon if you’re doing the modification)
- baking soda
- foaming shaving cream
- white vinegar
- laminator + laminator sheets (optional, but recommended for repeating lessons)
What to do:
We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!
Today, we will learn all about snowflakes. Start by reading Snowflake Bentley to introduce the unit for the week. This lovely story will help your child learn about a man who helped us learn so much about snowflakes, as well as what makes snowflakes so special. Share this video and these additional snowflake facts with your child to teach them about these fascinating little ice crystals. If your child is ready for more, introduce the book The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonders.
Activity 1: Symmetry is an important element to snowflakes. In this craft we will practice fine motor skills while also introducing math concepts and reinforcing the fact that most snow crystals have six ends.
(-) Working with a younger child? Let’s make some snow art using this sensory bin idea.
Activity 2: Build a snowflake. Inspire the little engineer inside your child by giving them simple tools (toothpicks and mini marshmallows) to build their own snowflake. (Playdough will work in place of marshmallows, too!)
(-) If your little one is still learning shapes try this modification.
Bonus activity: Is it snowing in your area? Catch your own snowflakes during a storm like Bentley using tips from this blogger.
Read Snowmen at Night to introduce our snowman activities. To help this whimsical story stir your child’s imagination, as your child what they think snowmen do at night. Do you have snow on the ground? Be sure to build your own snow man today! ⛄️
Activity 1: Let’s get some number practice with the help of this paper chain snowman. Modify this blogger’s post by only printing the numbers link page. Follow the directions on the blog post to build the number chain snowman, then practice counting and skip counting while you decorate your windows.
Activity 2: Build a name snowman. Do activity #3 in this post to teach your child to spell their name. Use paper plates, or you can also use muffin liners or coffee filters if you have them on hand. Is your child just learning to spell their name? Use this craft as a means to teach them. Are they already familiar with their name but not ready to write it? Write the letters of their name, one on each circle. Arrange the letters randomly on a tabletop and ask your child to build their name. Are they ready to write all the letters themselves? Have them write the letters and then build their name.
(+) Ready for an upgrade? Use the same idea above and build a snowman wall of words that fit into our snow theme. (for example, WINTER – SNOW – SNOWFLAKE – WHITE – SNOWMAN). Have an index card or paper strip with each word written out as a model for your child to copy. Let your child write out each letter on one “snow ball,” and then build the snowman word using the letters.
(-) Working with a younger sibling nearby? Help the younger child to make just the face circle of the snowman, pointing out the eyes, nose, and mouth as you do to teach and reinforce these terms.
Activity 3: Build your own indoor snowman with an activity tray. (Note: This blogger has a lot of suggestions of materials you can use to decorate your snowman—we linked a kit above that has most of the materials, or you can simply use what you already have on hand at home. Get creative!)
Let the snow fun continue with the story The Snowy Day. Peter enjoys playing in the snow—if you have snow, this might be a great time to make footprints and snow angels just like Peter. No snow? Don’t worry, we have plenty of indoor snow fun planned for today.
Activity 1: Ice fishing. Read through the entire post to understand this experiment before you begin. Here’s an excerpt that explains the science of what we are doing today:
Adding salt to ice will lower the ice’s melting point. Salt causes a physical change by altering the properties and temperature of the ice cube. However, if the surrounding temperature is still freezing, the ice will re-freeze (reversible change) and freeze the string along with it. Now you have ice fishing!
(+) Real scientists have to document their experiments. Upgrade the fun a bit by having your child keep a record of their findings. Track the right amounts of salt and the right amount of time needed to make this one work. You can track your progress in a chart like this:
|Amount of Salt||Amount of Time||Type of string|
Activity 2: Make ice cream in a bag.
Activity 3: Ready for some snowball fun? This indoor snowball launcher lets your child play with physics. Tip: Make sure your balloon is stretched out before you try to attach it to the cup, or you may want to put the cup around something sturdier (like a glass jar) to make it easier to attach the balloon. Build on the activity by pulling out a measuring tape and measuring the distance the snowball travels. Play with angles and speed for a full STEM activity. (Have real snow outside? Try it with real snowballs!) Don’t forget to share a video on social media and tag us @learnandliveletter!!
Today’s art lesson today is Hunters in the Snow. There’s a Khan Academy video in that website you should watch before this lesson to give you talking points. You can also find this picture in Usborne’s The Children’s Book of Art by Rosie Dickins. Then, make your own snowy landscape photo using one of the two options below.
(+) Activity 1: Make your own landscape using watercolors, salt, and acrylic paint.
(-) Activity 1: This beautiful watercolor snowflake craft is a good modification for the above craft. (Tip: We suggest the grownup draws the snowflake using the white crayon ahead of time. They won’t believe their eyes when they start to paint!)
Activity 2: Do you live in an area with snow on the ground? Create your own outside winter landscape and then add a snow volcano just for fun.
Activity 3: Let’s get moving! This gross motor snowflake activity will get your active little one moving and practicing numbers.
Let’s try some more STEM activities to finish off our week! Start by re-reading your child’s favorite book from the week.
Activity 1: Melting snowman activity.
Activity 2: Get in some copywork practice with this or this printout.
(-) Not ready for copying words or sentences? Create a sensory tray with shaving cream to let them practice writing their letters. Here’s a little inspiration.
Activity 3: Snowman fractions. The book A Fraction’s Goal—Parts of a Whole is great way to help introduce the topic of fractions.
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