A warmer kind of snow play!!
Today, we have been in the only part of the country not to be deep in snow. We also seem to be a minority in really, really wanting it to snow. We can’t wait to play in the snow and have an unexpected day off to fill with snow-themed activities… so when a few token flakes fell this afternoon, it wasn’t enough to build a snowman, go sledging, paint the snow or have a snowball fight – but it was enough to get excited!
We did go outside to experience the snow, but without enough on the ground to play with, and with more bitter wind than crisp snow, we found another way to channel our snowman-making enthusiasm…
It has been a while since we have had a sensory bath. We do often play with different colours in the water, and a coloured bath is a regular Friday night treat. But today we went one better.
We used snowmen cut out of craft foam to decorate the walls (the foam sticks to the walls when wet, opening up endless possibilities for bathtime play). Our dress-up snowmen were inspired by this Christmas themed bath from Growing a Jewelled Rose (the veritable Queen of sensory baths, which I thought I’d invented until I discovered her beautiful blog). We adapted the Christmas tree decorating idea, and I prepared some snowmen for L and N to dress up, with hats, scarves, gloves and buttons in different colours.
L and N played beautifully and creatively. I like the fact that the bath keeps them focused on the activity, in one place with no distractions, they stay creative and engaged for longer.
There was imaginary play happening, with a snow people’s picnic. There was a re-enacting of the Snowman and the Snowdog film we watched at Christmas. Fine motor skills were being developed (I purposely made some of the pieces tiny, with instructions not to give the little pieces to baby F). There was sorting by shape and by colour, there was ordering of pieces from big to small. It struck me how much hidden learning is happening in an open-ended playful activity like this.
For an added sensory element, I added blue food colouring to the water, and topped it with shaving foam. We haven’t played with shaving foam before, so it was a completely new material to play with. Initially, L and N were suspicious of it, and L was scared to get into the bath! But he soon learned to love it.
They used the shaving foam as paint, and as a material to mould – L called it “pudding oil”, and served it to everyone for supper, whilst N used it to further decorate her snowy wall-art.
Little F is now fully involved in bathtime fun. She enjoyed watching the other two playing, and also explored the shaving foam, felt the foam shapes, and was fascinated by watching them float. She spent some time taking a piece of foam in and out of a plastic cup. She was thoroughly enjoying exploring these new and interesting materials, as well as having fun playing with her brother and sister.
Another activity enjoyed by three children of different ages, with different personalities and interests – and a lovely warm-up and wind-down activity before bed.