What is a No-Snow Snowman you ask? A super fun creative project for after the snow has gone away, or is no longer good for playing in, or for after some outdoor playtime when inside warming up time is needed!
This week we had an unusual amount of snow fall in our otherwise very green and mild climate area. Children were off school for a few days in a row, even. And there was lots of outdoor SNOW play time! Hooray!!!
Yesterday the rain rained and today the sun has been shining and so the exciting, fun part of this snowy time has passed. (heavy sigh. lol Wasn't it great how much fun they had? How well they played together? And how tired they were at the end of the days?!!) Very young children may not quite understand why they can't go out and play in it anymore, or why they can't make snowmen (snow people?!) anymore. This creative, indoor activity can help the kids transition from the outdoor snowy fun, to creating projects with happy memories about these winter wonderland fun times. Children use art and creativity to process the world in which they find themselves and about which they are constantly learning. They also use creativity to express themselves and their relationship to their ever-expanding world.
Creative projects or activities which are "open-ended" - that is, there is not a very specific outcome in the adult's mind of what it "should" look like in the end, but rather the caregiver simply supplies the tools and materials for a child to work with and allows the child to create whatever it is they wish to create. For the No-Snow Snowman there was a specific result - making the refrigerator (if you have a white fridge it is most effective, but stainless will do, too) - but the creation of it is totally left up to the child/children involved. It doesn't matter what it looks like in the end. In fact, it may have turned into a turtle or a frog somewhere along the way, and that would've been totally cool, too! That's the "not so specific result" part. Just supply the tools and materials. And let their creative impulses run wild! For this project you will need: -> a few colours of construction paper -> felt pens or crayons (I LOVE "Smelly felts." I bought this pack for my nursery school way back in 1987! It went through a couple years of 3-days a week in my nursery, then through my children's childhoods and now are still going strong for my grandchildren to enjoy!) -> scissors (I have a super cool set of craft scissors from Michael's which are safe for young creatives to use independently. Each pair has a separate cutting design in their blade. So fun! Sometimes JUST cutting paper is all the "project" ends up being they are so fun to use!) -> scotch tape -> various sizes of jar lids to trace circle shapes around
The part that was "adult-led" (and so, not totally open-ended for the child's creativity to spring from) was that I suggested we could turn the fridge into a snow man! The open-ended part was that I then said: "You can use any of this paper to make parts for the snowman with!" My then-preschooler took a quick glance at the tools and materials on the table and said
"OK! But how can we stick them on the snowman?" "Hmm," I said. "That is a good question. "How can we stick this snowman together?" He looked a moment longer. "I know!" he exclaimed with great relish, "We could stick it on with the tape!" And so it began. "First I need to make eyes!" he expounded. And began to trace circles in the red construction paper and cut them out.
The small motor control that is developing as children use writing and drawing implements in their creative work leads to both developing the muscles as well as increasing their eye-hand-coordination that will be needed for writing in a few years. Then he wanted to make the buttons. He chose black construction paper for these. He chose a piece of orange construction paper and cut out a nose "Look, amma! It looks just like a carrot!" What we used for the outdoor snowman's nose. That made him very happy!
Then he began sticking the pieces he'd made onto the fridge with rolled up scotch tape underneath. Initially I showed him how we could roll the scotch tape pieces around a finger tip and make the pieces of his snow-person stick without seeing them. He liked that! And then managed to do it by himself. Younger children may need assistance with this step. The goal of child-led creativity if to assist ONLY where needed. But also, to make the project fun and enJOYable. If a certain physical task is above a child's physiological readiness and abilities, a bit of help is fine. But don't rush in to help! Allow children to struggle a bit. Point out what might be helpful. Let them experiment and try themselves first. But, if the project is going sideways because they can't manage it, either let them do it their way - (remember: it is FINE for the tape to be showing if they want to do it independently and can't manage the rolling the tape process!) or let them know "I'm here if you'd like some assistance. Just say the word.")
In this case, my little guy worked independently for (quite literally) HOURS (!!!) on this project. The details he got into were far beyond anything I would have thought up if I'd been intent on guiding the activity to fruition.
As he began to stick the pieces onto the fridge he got more and more excited as his snow man started to form before his very eyes. He just wanted to keep going.
And going. (Enter "carrot" nose. And (little black - coal?!) mouth.")
And going! "Amma! He needs a scarf! It is very cold outside!"
And then this very creative creation of this No-Snow SnowMan needed arms and hands, apparently.
Again with the fine motor development! Scissors (obviously ones that are not sharp and are safe for young hands to practice with) build both fine motor skills as well as personal confidence and self esteem. Who knew that creativity was helpful for not only creating a "work of art" but also for emotional and personal development? Oh yes!
Them apparently, more details were added. Glove details:
And then, (much to this amma's delight!) eye balls and eye brows and eye lashes etc! SO much detail!
Some of this required a bit of extra height. (Which he also figured out by himself. Problem-solving is a great part of open creative project times!)
And, oh yes! A HAT! This Snow-fellow needed a hat! And a top hat, at that!
By the end of the afternoon, this little guy was SOOOOOO happy with his creation.
SOOOOO pleased with himself and his creative endeavour.
It was, all in all, an AMZING afternoon. Hours of entertainment. Heaps of enJOYable activity.
And an awesome creation that lived in amma's kitchen for WEEKS to come! And, with each visit to amma's house, a very pleased examination of this art piece was undertaken, self esteem was, again, bolstered, and pleasant feelings were relived.
The project went on far longer than I would have anticipated. A whole lot more details went into this creation than I would have imagined. So, a couple of good reasons to get out adult pre-determined concepts and ideas out of the way and let the young child's creative mind GO!
So, get out the materials and tools needed, let the children PLAY with this indoor snow-person creation - and please, share with us the fun they had during their creative process - and the results! :) Note: This project idea came from another website, many years ago and I apologize, I do not know to whom origination credit is due. Just so happy to pass it on to all of you. Enjoy!