Indoor snowmen are the ­solution for a less-than-snowy day

Daily Press file photo In this Daily Press file photo from December 2012, MacKenzie Clark, 7, forefront, and Ava Fix, 8, use teamwork to hoist the head onto their snowman in the yard at Fix’s house in South Escanaba during a snow day. Not every day can produce the perfect snow for snowmen, but that doesn’t mean children aren’t interested. For warm December days — or even summer afternoons — children can bring their snowman-building indoors.

Perfect, high-moisture snow doesn’t occur often enough for very young children’s enthusiasm for snowmen. Here’s a simple activity for snowmen that doesn’t require a snowstorm and doesn’t melt!

You’ll need: A play dough recipe, toothpicks, white craft glue, dried beans, piece of cardboard, pipe cleaners or sticks, small scrap of fabric or colored paper, and small ripped white paper for snow.

Indoor Snowmen

Shape the play dough into three balls — small, medium and large. Stick a toothpick halfway into the largest ball. Press the medium-sized ball onto the toothpick. Stick another toothpick into the medium ball. Press the smallest ball onto that toothpick for the head of the snowman. Break the toothpick in half it is too long.

Squeeze a drop of glue onto the beans. Press them into the snowman for eyes, nose and mouth. Place the snowman on a piece of cardboard and allow it to dry completely. Add arms with small pieces of pipe cleaners and tie a scrap of fabric around the neck for a scarf. You can shred small pieces of computer paper to glue on the base for a snow scene.

Discuss the attributes of a snowman and especially small, medium, and large. What does it look like? How many snowballs are needed? How are they placed on the snowman? Sing or teach the “Frosty the Snowman” song while building your snowman or turn on music found on YouTube.

“Frosty the Snowman” and other wintertime books are on display at your public library or bookstore. Some other snow stories to enjoy with children include: “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs; “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats; “First Snow” by Emily Arnold Mc Cully.

Play Dough Recipe

This play dough recipe takes ten minutes to make and doesn’t dry out in an air tight plastic bag. You will need: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 tablespoon cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon cooking oil, 1 cup water, (food colors, optional).

Mix all liquid ingredients and salt in a 3-quart sauce pan.

Turn on medium heat. Stir in flour and cream of tartar until the mixture sticks together and remove from heat. Cool slightly and knead. Store in plastic bag.

Preschool children love making scenes with small dolls, action figures, cars, and large Lego type blocks. For a change they can make a snow scene with playdough igloos, houses, and caves. Take out the small toys and see what their imagination creates. Then take out a smart phone or movie camera and let them explain what they are doing or make up a story. The next time the family Skypes or does a Facetime, the little ones will have something to share with grandparents.

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Grandparents Teach, Too is written by a group of teachers and former teachers who contribute ideas and resources to help educate children and grandchildren. For more GTT articles and resources, visit them online at http://grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com.