Tuesday, 22 December 2015

3 Ways to Make Play Snow

We have tropical weather all year round so snow is full of wonder and mystery.  Blame it on the overload of Christmas books and movies!  From my friends who actually live with snow on the other side of the world however, snow is played in for just a short while and the season stays way too long. 

I can't imagine why you would want to do these if you had actual snow outside your door during Christmas, but for all us tropical-loving folk, here are three ways we've made snow for play:

From the pantry: Flour and Baby Oil

I packed this for the cousins to do one Christmas get-away.

Just let them mix to their heart's content.  The cousins were 2-3 years old

We repeat this a lot every year since it's an overall wonderful sensorial experience.   I'm a big believer of the power of sensorial play (read about how it changed my sensitive child).  

The smell of the baby oil (we use mineral oil so it's safe), the feel of the flour mixture on the hands - preschoolers can't get enough of this.

When she was older at 4 years old, it became a practice of counting and measuring and fine motor.
But the end is always the same playful sensorial delight.

From the toy store: Insta-Snow 

Last holiday, toy stores sold a powder that absorbs water and expands to look like snow.  Now I used to manage a brand of women's sanitary protection so I know this "toy" is really called super absorbent polymers.  It can hold 10x its weight in water.  

I can't vouch for its safety as a toy for toddlers so I wouldn't recommend this for kids who are still at the mouthing stage.  But oh how magical for older preschoolers!

I set up this snow-making station last Christmas at our quirky play area behind the couch.

The kids loved exploring this station during a holiday get-together at our home.

Showing her cousin how to make Insta-snow
It became a bigger hit with the little boy!  He kept at this for many batches
Fine motor transferring using a laddle

Eventually we had to collect all the snow in a larger tub to play with:

Inevitably all that snow got ruined by another little guest at another dinner we hosted - she poured all the water into the finished snow and it became mush!  It never dried out properly so we threw it away eventually. 

One lesson I learned: don't cover up the Insta-snow to store it away.  It gets moldy!  Just enjoy it for some time and then toss away where there's soil (not down the drain or it will clog it).

Lastly (and most lazy idea of the three)...

From the bookstore: Styrofoam Pellets.

If you're in the Philippines, National Bookstore sells these during the holidays at a cheap price.  I thought it would make the perfect sensory bin material for pretend snow.  

Since she did the Smurf village sensory bin activity early this school year, there hasn't been time to indulge in this kind of sensory play again, so I wanted see if it still had the same magic.

It did.

She didn't even play with the Frozen castle at first but spent a good ten minutes just feeling the snow and getting lost in her imagination again.
She came back to this a few times or so over a month but that was that for this first grader.  Haha.
It's time to pack it away and reuse it for snow village decor next year though!

It feels pretty irresistible I tell you.  Her two-year old cousin played with this sensory bin, too (with supervision and bracing oneself for the inevitable mess).  And I caught my husband absently doing this one night:

Someday she'll experience real snow.  But for now let the magic build-up!  If my friends from the other hemisphere are right, then this might even be more fun!

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