The snow here has melted, apart from the occasional pile of sludgy grey mess and all the snowmen are at best droopy and folorn, but it’s looking brighter inside as we are still going with our snow-themed activities.
The other day we made some of The Imagination Tree’s white play dough, made with cornflour instead of flour, which gives a really gleaming white rather than the off-white you get with flour. We scented ours with peppermint extract, which seemed a fittingly cool scent. We also added some tiny faux gems as we had run out of silver glitter, and I love these – they really remind me of the light reflecting on crisp white snow.
This afternoon seemed like the ideal time to bring out the playdough. The days when both L and N are tired after school and playgroup seem to call for activites that keep them focused, occupied and channel their energy whist allowing them the freedom to do their own thing and relax at the end of the day. Play dough seems to fit the bill very well, and I hoped that moulding the silky dough might be a relaxing activity.
This is how I set up a snowy play scene for them to come home to:
I also made some play dough mats especially to go with the snow-themed play dough. We loved the alphabet play mats from Twinkl Resources which we reviewed last year, and so I decided to make our own variation on these with a wintry theme.
I used some leftover Christmas wrapping paper with a snowy design to cut out the shapes I needed. Since L and N enjoyed making dough letters so much last time, I decided to make two playmats with snow related words. I had an ulterior motive here too – L is becoming reluctant to write, and rather than force him I wanted to think up some activities that would build his writing muscles and stamina, and get him thinking about the process, without actually realising it! Play dough is perfect for strengthening the hand muscles used to write, and developing co-ordination.
I also made a snowflake mat, by tracing a snowflake template onto the paper, and one larger snowflake made in the same way as our paper snowflake Christmas decorations. I thought this one would be good for making more intricate patterns and shapes.
I stuck these onto plain white A4 paper, drew an outline in purple felt-tip to define them (and cover any imperfections in the cutting out) – and laminated the paper. Easy, but effective, and can be used again and again.
All three children enjoyed the play-dough. Because of the tiny gems we had used, I kept a closer than usual watch on baby F. But she was a full participant in the game, sitting on the floor with her own play dough, strengthening her own little hand muscles and exploring the material by pulling it apart.
N was the busiest of all. Despite all the snow-themed props, she reverted to her default setting of play-dough cookery, and I reminded myself this is a child-led activity and accepted the cakes and sandwiches she carefully prepared. She did go on to make a snowy pine cone and cut out some snowmen, although they were snowman biscuits, she told me 🙂
L stuck to the snow idea, and made more animal footprints in the snow, with the animals, his fingers, and then the end of a pencil. He made tracks in the snow, and told a part of The Gruffalo’s Child story.
Again, it is wonderful finding an activity that all three can join in at their own level, and thoroughly enjoy. Here they are, all absorbed in what they are doing.