Saturday, January 10, 2015

Updated: Let it Snow: 10 (now 14) snow themed activities and apps!

Last year, I wrote a post about the brutal winter weather here in the Midwest with a list of my ten favorite snow-themed activities and apps. The weather sure hasn't changed from last January, but I have updated my list. I always do a snow theme the first week back after winter break and the kid's enthusiasm helps ease my winter blahs.  My students and I have had a blast with the snow the few days we were able to have school this week and we stayed toasty warm while doing it.  These are my ten (now 14) favorite snow related activities and apps. These inside activities are all cheap (several 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. (Requires wifi to play videos)

(iPad/iPhone, $0.99)

 4.  Winter Pop - Save Magic the Snowman by
Catch the snowflakes before they bury the cute little snowman, but watch out for the suns because they will make him melt. This simple, but darling game comes with multiple levels of difficulty, one specifically designed for kids. It's great to use as a reward and I also use it to work on s-blends, turn taking and following directions.

(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, $1.99)

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)

11. Q-Tip Painted Snowflake craft
I love the blog by Allison McDonald, called No Time for Flashcards. She has great ideas for activities and crafts for little ones that make learning fun and engaging. I'm excited to add these Q-tip snowflakes to my winter language lesson plans. These will be simple enough to do with three to four year olds and my Kindergarten students will be excited to add some bling to their snowflakes. Check out the Winter Math Game Inspired by Frozen too.

12. The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel

I just adore this book. Work on rhyming, sequencing, retelling, predicting, wh-questions and articulation skills with one sweet tale. Find it on Amazon here. Use these printables from MakingLearningFun that go with the story. I like to add songs to my language lessons too and this Winter Clothing song from LittleStoryBug fits perfectly with the book.

13. Snow Wonder by Moms with Apps by Lorraine Akemann

Very basic snowman making app, but there are no ads, in-app purchases or external links. It is a great way to work on requesting, vocabulary, following directions and describing. Despite its simplicity, my young students love to play this app and it's free.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

14. Frozen Winter Themed Speech and Language Activities by 1sparklleslp

Come on, no discussion of snow themed activities would be complete without mentioning Frozen. This adorable download is available on Teachers Pay Teachers for just $3.00. It contains a variety of speech and language activities appropriate for children in early elementary school. Targets include: sequencing, regular verbs, wh-questions, comparisons, synonyms, following directions and more.

We'd love to hear your favorite winter/snow themed activities.  Please share them in the comments below.

Sarah was treated to two "inclement weather" days off from school this week. While she enjoyed the pajama days, she will be very sad about them when school is still in session in June.

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