Snowballs by Lois Ehlert is a wonderfully colorful book for young children about the joy of a snowy day. The book is unique because you turn it sideways to see the large detailed pictures of the snow-family that the children create. It will be necessary to pause with each page so that your students can discover the variety of objects used to make each unique snow person.
Turn Snowballs Into Snow People!
After you have read and discussed the book, give the following assignment:
Explain that each of the students will be creating a large snow person or snow pet using white construction paper for the snow and large darker paper as the background. Each child should bring in a variety of things to decorate their snow people.
So that the parents are clear about what to send in, prepare a note with an explanation of the activity and some suggestions of what to send. Items could include: cereal, buttons, seeds, scraps of cloth, yarn, shells, leaves, twigs, etc. Remind them not to send in things that are valuable or fragile. Have some extra items on hand in the classroom just in case someone forgets.
Then, set aside time for the students to create a snow person or snow pet. You may choose to have some patterns to trace for snowballs or allow students to do them free-form.
Extend the activity and have the students write a story about their snow people.
Science in Snowballs
The book Snowballs has some teachable moments to reinforce your science curriculum.
1. It mentions that birds may know when snow is coming because they gather seeds ahead of time.
Make a simple bird feeder using a pipe cleaner and cereal (the kind with a hole in the center). Bend one end of the pipe cleaner. String on the cereal. Bend the other end of the pipe cleaner to fit on a thin, low-hanging branch of a tree or somewhere accessible to the birds.
2. The last two pages of Snowballs explains what snow is and that water can be in three forms: gas, liquid and solid. On a snowy day, bring in a handful of snow and put it in a clear container. It is a solid. (You can use ice cubes if you don’t have snow.) Throughout the school day check up on the snow until it melts into a liquid. Later you can use a hot plate to heat the liquid and make steam. Now the same snow is a gas.
1. Roll up some white socks to use as snowballs for games. Students sit in a circle. One student (“it") hides their eyes or stands outside in the hallway. Pass a “snowball" around the circle till you say stop. The person holding the “snowball" keeps it hidden. The student who is “it" tries to guess who has the “snowball".
2. Use the snowballs (rolled up white socks) to have two teams compete by tossing the snowballs into a basket. Which team can get more into the basket?