Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snowmen Crafts (Updated)

Natalie LOVES snowmen.  She is game for any craft involving snowmen, and lucky for me, they are pretty easy to make.

In the above picture, the two snowmen in the upper right corner are foam kits I bought at Christmas time at the local craft store for a dollar each.  They were labeled for 6 - 8 year olds.  They were far too hard for Natalie to do on her own, but she could help glue a lot even at only 2.  So, store bought items offer a range of cheap, quick, and easy snowmen.  (You can then use most of them to decorate your holiday gifts because you don't need 20 foam snowmen).

The bottom left snowman is also a commercial product.  We made this at story time at our local library.  After a half an hour of all stories about snowmen, the librarian lead the kids though making these snowman ornaments.  The snowmen were cut out in advance.  She then had sheets of stickers for all the parts.  There was a large range of choices for eyes, noses, hats, mouths, mittens, pipes, scarves, pockets, and a new other details.  It was great for a group activity or for once child to do over and over.  Here is a link to a similar product. 

Once you've made a couple store bought snowmen, you can then trace them on white paper and decorate them again and again.  I used heavy painting paper for some these and we each painted a snowman, but you could use any type of paper or even felt or foam sheets.  The two at the bottom I cut out of a Teddy Graham box and we glued on cotton balls.  The mittens, hats, and scarves were cut from felt scraps and the eyes and nose are tiny pom poms.  You can decorate with any number of things you have on hand including google eyes, stickers, foam, construction paper, tissue paper, yarn, or beads. (By the way, the three on the right were made by Natalie).

Click here for a printable template of two snowmen bodies, two hats, and two types of mittens.  

The blue paper was a craft we started at play group.  Our facilitator's plan was for kids to paint with white paint on the blue paper and glue on cotton ball or batting to make snow.  Natalie wanted to make a snowman though.  So, we made the two snowmen.  Later at home, I used some black construction paper to make the hats and tiny pom poms to make the eyes.  To make the noses, I cut the points off an orange foam star sticker.  Brown pipe cleaners made the arms.  Natalie was able to help a lot with the placing of the items. We then painted with sparkle paint to make some snow and stuck on more foam star stickers to make the sky.  You can buy clear paint with sparkles in it, or you can squeeze out glitter glue from the tube and use a brush.  Another great way to make sparkle for snow is to coat an area with a glue stick, and then sprinkle it with salt. 

The upper left corner is a craft we made on a whim on day using out scrap box.  I had these painted clothes pins from another craft I never finished and we glued three pom poms of the same size on each.  We used small google eyes and small pom poms for noses.  I cut the hats out of scraps of felt and made scarves out of scraps of fleece.  I glued magnets on the back and then put them on Natalie's easel when they were dry as a surprise.  These could be made on craft sticks instead of clothes pins, and cotton balls could be swapped for the white pom poms. 

Our home visitor brought us another snowman craft. She appears to have traced a dinner plate and dessert plate on white poster board and cut them out.  Then she made coal eyes and a black hat out of black construction paper.  She also cut out a carrot nose.  We glued everything together, but reinforced the two white circles with a little tape.  Then, she took out some ordinary dot stickers, the type you would use to label files or items at a yard sale.  these were intended for buttons on the snowman's body.  Natalie did that, but also used them to make checks.

On Nick Jr's web site, they have a no-sew felt craft of Rintoo from Ni Hao Kai-lan.  I adapted it to make jack'o'lanterns.  You could instead make this for a snowman head.  Its important to use felt so that the face pieces stick on as you play.  Cut out two white circles and glue them together 90% of the way around.  Let dry.  Stuff with batting or cotton balls.  Glue the gap closed.  Cut out various shapes for eyes, noses, and mouths.  Try to make a range of emotions to make playing with the toy more interesting.  If you are more crafty, you could cut out various pipes, hats, scarves, and other decorations, too.  I also suggest making two heads; then you and your child can play simultaneously giving your opportunities to practice sharing the face pieces and discuss what you're making.  

One item I plan to make when the weather warms up is a snowman box.  Once its snowed, its hard to find items to make a snowman's features.  I'm planning to collect assorted rocks, pine cones, and sticks to use for next year.  I'll also through in the out grown hats, scarves, and mittens.  If Natalie will let me, one of her play food carrots might disappear as well.  After a quick Google search, it appears making a cardboard top hat isn't too hard either, so that might be a craft for the future to make for Frosty.  

Getting educational with your snowman:
Doing crafts is a great way to practice fine motor skills and allow your child to experiment with textures and colors.  But, there are other ways to enrich your play with craft snowmen.
  • Identify and discuss the colors and shapes you use, including comparing sizes and shades and pointing out your favorites.
  • Make up a story or poem about your snowman.  You can transcribe as your child glues.  
  • Sing snowmen songs like Frosty the Snowman or Chubby Little Snowman.
  • Read a book about snowmen to your child as he or she glues.  Some possible titles are: Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, The Snowman by Ramond Briggs, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert, All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Scherlet, or one of the various print versions of Frosty the Snowman.  When done, your snowman could act out the story.  
  • Count the items you use to make the snowmen.  "One, two eyes!  How many buttons does he have?  Look at all the cotton balls we used.  I think it was twenty.  Let's count and find out!"
  • Use sequence words like first, second, next, last, etc.  
  • Use prepositions like above, under, on, inside, etc.  
  • If your child is old enough, you could write out simple directions, then read and follow them together.  This is not only a good real reading opportunity, but direction following is an important school skill. 
  • If you've made several snowmen, discuss how they are the same and different.  
  • Role play with your completed snowmen.  For Natalie at 2, she loves grouping items into families and making them do our every day activities. 

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