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  • Skribentens bildSuzanne Axelsson

Snow Play

So I thought I would put a few images together of some snow play... and share my snow play from yesterday... in fact I put a whole load of images and films into a a youtube film... as you can see below

Taking lights and mirrors outside into the snow is a whole load of fun... just as taking paints outside is too. Yesterday the temperatures were -10°C so the snow was light. fluffy and powdery - not good for building at all... but as the snow warmed up inside it transformed and became the fabulous stuff of my own childhood in UK when you can make snowmen and the like... BUT I would like to point out that I actively avoid using the word snowmen now when working with children... why men? Let's make snow girls, boys, women, cats, dogs, snakes... let's not limit the imaginations of what can be created... I have seen children build rocket ships - building along the ground a kind of floor plan and control panel rather than upwards... I have seen children make snow crayons... just by making snow sausage shaped balls... and using them to draw on walls... works really well actually! Then there is the communal snow creations of making palaces, houses etc... of climbing the big snow mounds left behind by the snow ploughs (they are just SO much fun) - then there is sledding and sliding down hills... (in Sweden we wear helmets when on sleds - but if the hills is safe and nothing to crash into, and they slide on their bottoms rather than the super speed of sleds... then I have been known to let children go helmetless) - Well here come a few images...

the importance of being dressed right... and also for letting the children discover the effects of wet and cold too... always when you know that there are no real risk for hyperthermia... only the unpleasant feeling of being cold

sicks and snow... they are not just snow-people arms you know... sometimes role-play will turn them into weapons, sometimes into tools for drawing in the snow... or tools for building with... I do have rules when it comes to using the sticks as weapons... to only play that way with others that ALSO want to play that game... and ONLY stick on stick contact... once the stick touches a body I know the children are starting to get tired and lose the ability to self control, so the game is over for the day... this way we only have low risk... and no danger.

heavy frost/light snow... perfect for testing out drawing and writing skills

building fairy houses... with piled up snow... and some snow can be broken off in pieces and used then as blocks...

painting in snow... much easier when it is NOT many degrees below zero, as then the paint starts to freeze too... great with spray bottles too

I love taking before and after pictures... it is a great way for the children to see how they have made an impact. and I still have a hard time walking past a perfect pice of new snow without running around in it!!!

even in a light dusting you can make snow angels

making snow houses, and snow rainbows. I actively avoid using the word snowman... with the intention of making it a more open ended activity... not just a man (and in Swedish it is specifically an old man) - girls, babies, mummies, ghosts, monsters, trains, various animals... you name it suddenly the children get so much more free to try new things...

feeling the weight of rolling snow... and learning to ask for help... teamwork is needed when the snowballs get big

each child bringing a snowball inside with them.. the idea being that one snow ball does not make a lanterns, but when we put them together we can create a lantern... just as our group is made of individuals... we used waterproof tealights.

freezing water and painting with colour and salt... this was done in an apple share... but any shapes work... from milk cartons, to balloons, to ice-cream packs etc etc etc

rebuilding after a fall... dealing with the fact that others will knock down your creation... why do people do that... so many lessons to learn about building in public spaces and returning later to see what the public has done with it.

throwing snow into a puddle to see what happens... the splash was satisfying as was watching it transform

drawing with snow - we made out own crayons - elongated snowballs

play... adults barely needed when snow is there... the children are just SO busy

helping each other the opportunity to discover how good it feels to help others, and also how good it feels to be helped by friends and to achieve something they cannot do alone!

more painting

the joy of going fast... and yes, this child WANTED to fly... this was the intention

painting snow balls to build with

sometimes the process is just so much fun that you cannot stop... at first it was a face and buttons... then it was just paint paint paint because it feels good and the transformation was fun to watch

ice balloons painted with saltwater and colour...

adding lights really adds effect

paper with frozen water on it... ready to create a snow scene.... If I was to do this again, I would hop over the paper... and make sheets of ice to paint on a light table or have thread through the ice, so that they could be hung up as decorations.

admiring natures art... two bird prints in the snow


food colour, torch, mirrors - so much to explore... building bridges, make forms, watching it melt

fresh clean snow mixed with juice concentrate... our own slush

I am of the opinion that children are allowed to eat snow with me, as long it is the clean fresh snow. I would much rather that I knew what kind of snow they were putting into themselves than them sneaking off to eat it on their own, and then maybe eat unclean and unsafe snow. Snow has a marvellous feeling... it is cold and wet - sometimes fluffy, sometimes more icey... and I think it is important for children to experience it. The downside is the fact that even fresh snow these days contains microplastics... but then so does much of the water we drink. If children are struggling to only eat clean snow, then I will take snow inside for them to see what happens when it melts, and so they can see the dirt that gets mixed in to it, when not clean fresh snow (and you usually need a decent layer of snow for that too). Of course microplastics cannot be seen... and the water authorities cannot get rid of them... the only thing we can do is reduce the amount of plastic we use (especially single use plastic)

Get out and enjoy the snow take out paint brushes and colour mirrors, lights sticks sleds and helmets ice buckets (and other forms) and spades when the snow can be molded like sand... then you can make blocks for building make tracks to follow - why not a maze/labyrinth? look for tracks of nature put paint on the bottom of your boots to see what happens compare footprints measure the depth of the snow take snow inside - to play wit, to paint on, to observe... compare compact snow with loose snow... which will melt first? How much water is left in the glass - even if both were filled to the top? put snow in a shaded room and in a sunny room... how do they melt draw with snow build with snow slide on snow make obstacle courses with snow make tracks/courses for sleds with snow let your imaginations loose... there is MORE...

The Story of Sustainability is a post about providing activities for children and creating the third teacher in a way that does not compromise the environment.

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