We have toddlers who love to have books read to them. We recently purchased a copy of Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) to try with our kids. The program is based on thematic play using books that our children have historically really enjoyed, plus a few new ones that we grabbed from the library. Five in a Row encourages parents to read the same book five days in a row and provide some fun, creative, and educational exercises that compliment the story. Some of the activities listed here were inspired by the Fold and Learn materials available to subscribers of the Five in a Row Blog. Others were inspired by a link-up of BFIAR activities I found on Delightful Learning.
This is a description of some very simple and fun activities we completed as a family with our toddlers to go along with the book, “The Snowy Day,” by Ezra Jack Keats. If you aren’t familiar with “The Snowy Day” it’s well worth the read. The book is a Caldecott Award Winner (1963) and takes the reader on a young boy’s journey through the snow. The art is beautiful and engaging for youngsters, and the story easily lends itself to thematic play. The book is included in both the BFIAR collection and Sonlight’s Preschool Package.
At the time of this post, Ladybug is 2.5 years old and Beetle Bug is 15 months.
The first day we read the book it was super cold; 8 degrees Fahrenheit and most of the precipitation that stuck around was ice instead of snow. So, I scooped up a bunch of snow and brought it into the kitchen. To date, Ladybug still says that making this little snowman in the kitchen was one of her favorite “home school” activities. You’ll notice she also gave him a little snow hat and in the picture below is creating a friend for him, a snow dog 🙂
We also practiced making tracks in the snow we brought into the house. Ladybug used her rain boot. She was especially pleased that snow stuck to the bottom of the boot. Apparently, for the two year old age bracket, this is hilarious 🙂
Beetle Bug used his tennis shoe. It took him a couple tries to figure out the concept of making a track. Initially, he just threw the shoe into the snow bin, which amused Ladybug immensely, but eventually he figured out the plan and made some tracks of his own.
Ladybug also experimented making tracks with several other shoes and a few toys. Her favorite was a toy car. She really enjoyed making the tracks and then magically erasing them by using her hand to flatten the snow back to a smooth surface. You might say, we created, the ultimate eco-friendly etch-a-sketch!
Ladybug had a fabulous time making snowballs. Beetle Bug did too, but he was more than convinced that we should start throwing snow and snowballs in the kitchen. I had to put the kibosh on indoor snow ball fights, at least with real snow and toddlers….lol. I saw a few ideas for indoor snowball fights that we might use next year: cotton balls, home-made large pom-poms, or pre-made indoor snowballs. The last option is crazy expensive, but we got them as a gift this past Christmas and they served as an awesome ice breaker for the big kids!
We placed a small snowball in Ladybug’s coat pocket, as Peter did in the book, and waited for it to melt. Two hours later that darn snowball was still almost as big as when we had put it in the pocket. The snowball was much smaller than the one in the above picture and the heat was on in the house, I promise.
Since, we were clearly missing the main message that snow melts and turns into water when warmed, we tried a different tactic and made another, larger snowball and placed it into a little bowl. Now, this she could see and fortunately, worked better and quicker than placing a snowball in her coat pocket. Finally, science!
Using some very basic crafting materials (3 paper plates, scissors, crayons, construction paper, and glue), we also made a stop light.
We colored each of the paper plates red, yellow, or green.
Then, we cut shapes out of the red, yellow, and green construction paper. Yes, this was her first time using scissors! We will have to incorporate some more cutting practice soon, but for right now we just worked on being able to use our fingers to open and shut the blades. This time around, I cut most of the shapes for her.
We sorted the red, yellow, and green shapes onto the plate with the corresponding color. She really enjoyed doing this, so, we actually did this activity twice. I originally had her gluing each piece, but found it was much easier and more enjoyable for her to sort all the shapes and colors first and then glue the construction paper shapes onto the correct plate.
We glued all the pieces of construction paper onto the plates. Glue is Ladybug’s absolute favorite crafting material. So we glued, paper to plates, plates to paper, and then glued some extra to other blank pieces of paper.
We hung our “traffic lights” up in the appropriate order red, yellow, and green on one of our kitchen cabinets. We then played our first, if abbreviated, game of red light, green light. Ladybug loves playing this game with us. She often asks to play when are walking around the block and giggles like crazy when either I or her dad stop and go based on her instructions.
Later in the week, we had another round of snow. Warmer temperatures and more snow with less ice made for fantastic playing conditions. We finally had enough snow to make tracks with our sticks and with our feet.
We searched our backyard for tracks and founds lots: human tracks, both big and small; bird tracks; and rabbit tracks! Ladybug had a lot of fun jumping and standing on one foot trying to create the perfect boot print.
Daddy was in charge of some very important snowy day activities, such as the art of snowball throwing. In the image below he has just finished instructing Ladybug on the art of making the perfect snowball and is helping her with her aim. Beetle Bug greatly enjoyed the show, but like Peter in the book, was a little young to join in this “big kid” play. Next year, BBug!
Daddy also demonstrated the importance of full commitment with respect to snow angel creation. I think Ladybug spent more time laughing at Daddy than actually creating snow angels, but she definitely had fun.
Back inside, we created a snow globe. This was one of the simplest crafts we created, but also one of the most enjoyable for both toddlers. We used a small coke bottle that had been washed and the label removed.
Ladybug tore up pieces of white paper and she and Beetle Bug worked together to fill the bottle with pieces of paper. Watching Ladybug help and encourage her younger brother to participate with this craft was one of the highlights of my experience with The Snowy Day.
Our final activity with The Snowy Day was to group pictures of clothing with the appropriate weather sign. We had sunshine, snow, and rain. The clip art was supplied for a lap book by BRIAR, but we haven’t really gotten into lap books yet. Ladybug really enjoys using our felt board, so I laminated the clip art and stuck some Velcro dots on the back to create this simple matching game. She was very proud of being able to complete the activity!
We are so excited to tackle The Snowy Day with some more advanced toddler and preschool activities when the snow comes again next year! Until then, we are looking forward to spring!!!
Have you and your kids done any fun activities to go along with The Snowy Day?