Thursday, January 23, 2014

Let it Snow - 10 Snow Themed Activities and Apps

Does this never ending snow have anyone feeling a little stir crazy? We are having a pretty brutal winter here in the Midwest.  I don't really care for the snow and cold, but kids sure do love it.  I always do a snow theme the first week back after winter break and their enthusiasm helps ease my winter blahs.  My students and I have had a blast with the snow this week and we stayed toasty warm while doing it.  These are my ten favorite snow related activities and apps. They are all inside activities that are cheap (most are free) and easy to do.  Whether you are dealing with mountains of snow or live in a place where it never snows, enjoy the snow themed fun. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

1.  Snowman Button Counting Activity - This activity was a free download from the Teachers Pay Teachers website (free account needed to download).  You get ten snowmen with numbers printed on their hat.  Give children buttons or pom poms to add the correct number of pieces to each snowman. I like to laminate mine so they hold up a little better.  You can do so many activities with these little guys.  Counting, math, sequencing, following directions -- the possibilities are endless.     

2.  Shoveling Snow - Find plastic tongs or spoons at the dollar store to use as shovels.  Cotton balls or pom poms can create a little blizzard that's so much fun to clean up.  I sometimes have to pry these out of their hands at the end of a session.  Kids love to scoop and move those little pom poms.  We scoop into different size piles, shovel into a toy dump truck and even sort the white snow from that nasty yellow snow!  I combine this activity with snow themed children's books.

3.  Winter Animals Videos, Games, Photos, Books & Activities by Playrific
This app is like a digital activity book.  It's filled with videos of animals and winter themed books, stories and games.  All content is pre-screened and age-appropriate for young children.  It features at least eight of my favorite winter themed books including: The Mitten, Tacky the Penguin, Annie and the Wild Animals and more.  The videos of real animals in the snow are great for vocabulary development and comprehension questions.  There are also matching games, puzzles and coloring book pages.

(iPad/iPhone, Free)

 4.  Snowman Dress Up by Tucoola
A simple, but delightful, dress up app with no ads or in-app purchases.  A pre-made snowman stands ready to be decorated using 4 different sets of options.  You may select from several different choices of head wear, eyes, clothing and accessories.  Four icons at the bottom allow you to turn off the music, send the snowman as an email, start a new snowman or save a picture to your camera roll.

(iPad/iPhone, Free)

5.  Into the Snow: A Sam and Stella Adventure by zinc Roe
I love the Sam and Stella series.  This is a darling book about a snowy day spent looking for a lost toboggan.  The animation is great and there are 3 cute and simple games to play along the way.  The settings button at the top requires you to swipe up with 2 fingers to access.  From this page, you can turn off all promotional material or links to additional apps.  It also gives you the option to hear the story in French.

(iPad/iPhone, Free)

6.  123 Kids Fun Snowman by RosMedia
Decorate your snowman with items from 18 different categories like shoes, eyes, lights, clothes and more.  In-app purchases are available, but there is plenty of free content to enjoy.  The categories are organized like drawers.  Open one and you see seven shelves worth of choices.  Scroll down to see additional items that can be unlocked.  I like that it offers plenty of options for free and there are no ads.  I use this app to work on artic, following directions, categorization and more.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

7.  More Cookies by Maverick Software LLC
I used to love using food prep activities to work on speech and language skills.  We aren't allowed to do cooking activities in my school district anymore, so virtual cookies are the next best thing.  This app has lots of choices for types of cookies and cookie cutters, but in January we make snowman sugar cookies and decorate with icing, candy and sprinkles.  I target following directions, sequencing, turn taking, phonological skills and wh-questions, while my kids gobble up calorie free cookies.

(iPad/iPhone, $0.99)

8.  Magic Foaming Snowman
I found this activity on the Fun At Home With Kids blog.  If you're up for creating a little bit of a mess that kids will love, check out this activity.  You and your little scientists will onla need a few simple ingredients to create a melting snowman (baking soda, dishsoap, salt, vinegar and waterproof snowman accessories).  The directions are easy to follow and it's messy good fun.

9.  Happy Snowflake by Candy Grill
I was never very good at making paper snowflakes, but I sure do make beautiful creations with this app.  The app folds the paper for you, and you just tap where you want to make your cuts.  You can zoom in and out and even undo and redo if you make a cut you don't like.  This app has an in-app purchase and links to send your snowflake creations to Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

(iPad/iPhone, Free)

10.  Picture Books for Kids - I Like Snow by GrasshopperApps
This story book features gorgeous "real-life" pictures of children in all kinds of winter/snowy settings.  There are three playback modes: read to me, read by myself and auto-play.  It also features loads of customization options.  You can record your kids retelling the story or they can completely change it to their own story.  Add or change picture and word highlights too.  I highly recommend the entire "I Like" series from Grasshopper Apps.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)


It doesn't look like winter will be ending anytime soon. We'd love to hear your favorite winter/snow themed activities.  Please share them in the comments below.

Sarah is so happy that the temperature is now a positive number that she doesn't even mind the snow today. 

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