Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Books: Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Books are an excellent source for therapy ideas and expanding a child's speech and language skills.  For more information on using literature in therapy go to my blog in July .

Living in East Texas, snow is a rare and very short lived occurrence.  But that doesn't mean we can't make our own winter fun.  Grab a great winter themed book, search the internet for resources, pull together a few items, and you are ready for some fun speech/language therapy, pre-school lessons, or just spending quality time with a child.  On my Facebook Business Page I have created a Winter Books file under the Photos tab.  I have listed a few of my favorite books along with links (in the comments boxes) to online resources that include everything from lesson ideas, craft projects, art lessons, snacks, and sometimes ready to print items. WinterBooks
Snow & Snowmen are the prominent themes of winter books.  What could be more fun than making your own snow or snowpeople?  We have made many marvelous snowmen/people over the past years:

1. Homemade Floam: shaped into snowmen...some of them were puddly but they were the cutest ones. Mixing polystyrene beads with Elmer's glue and starch...messy but fun! Here is another link to Growing a Jeweled Rose with pics and recipe. I will add that from personal experience I have seen a variety of outcomes depending on size of the polystyrene beads. Once we used the tiny microbeads and the snowmen tended to "melt" rather than hold their shape. But this resulted in REALLY cute partially melted snowmen. I found that mixing both the regular size and micro size yielded a nice malleable mixture.  I also started using styrofoam balls and coating them with the mixture. This way they held shape well and used less mixture. If you do this flatten tops and bottoms of balls (except for top of the head) so that they sit well on each other.

2. Paper plate snowmen decorated with yarn hair and buttons. Here are some examples I found on Google Images (click on pic to go to original link).

3. Plastic 12 oz. soda bottles covered with cotton balls and a styrofoam head...decorated with pipe cleaner arms, straw doll hats, buttons. Extremely Cute! (I really should have taken photos!)

@ m       
4. Snowman Contact Paper pictures: cut shape of snowman out of contact paper, stick on decorations to contact paper (face, buttons etc.), then sprikle salt all over the contact paper and seal back with more clear contact. Hang in a window.

5. Marshmallow snowmen that can be eaten. Who says you can't play with  your food?

torn paper snowmen6. Ms. Debbie's idea: Tear pieces of white paper and glue onto blue paper in shape of snowman, add features with other colors of paper or buttons, etc. Really cute!                        
7. Snow Paint: Mix equal parts shaving cream and white glue, add some glitter for shimmer. Use this mixture to paint snowmen or snow scenes.t: Mix equal parts shaving cream and white glue, add some glitter for shimmer. Use this mixture to paint snowmen or snow scenes.

Other ideas:

Homemade snow: Using snow cone or ice shaving machine to produce fake snow for throwing against the side of the building, melting, touching, eating. Some kids never get to see and play in snow so this is fun for them.

Snowballs: Rolled up, balled up plastic grocery bags or socks. No pain snowball fights. The little guys REALLY enjoy this.

Paper snowflakes: An old favorite.

Crystal snowflakes: grow them on pipe cleaners with borax solution.

Dress-a-bear in winter clothes. Get a big stuffed teddy bear and some toddler sized winter clothing (my bear required size 18-24 months). Goodwill is a great place to pick up cheap items.  You can also purchase multiple mittens or socks to make matching activities.

Make own stories with a take-off on a book idea: If you give a Snowman a....
The kids can really come up with wonderful idea and associations. "If you give a snowman some mittens...he will want a matching hat and scarf. When he is all bundled up, he will want to play in the snow and have a snowball fight. Then he will be tired and hungry. You can't give him hot chocolate, so you will take him to the ice cream parlor. He will want a scoop of everything in a waffle cone...then he will ask for all of the toppings. When he is finished eating, he will have a tummy ache..." We used Boardmaker to illustrate our stories or the children could draw their own pictures.

Another great secret is that most retailers associate snowmen with Christmas.  So right now is a great time to go out and buy decorative snowmen and crafting kits for your therapy place at 50-75% off or more.  Yesterday I went to the local Hallmark store and bought the dancing Frosty the Snowman for $7.00.  I have collected an assortment of stuffed snowmen and those plug-in air blown types.  I put them around the office and sometimes hang crystal snowflakes or child crafted paper snowflakes transforming it into our own version of a winter wonderland.

Check out the link to my Facebook page for more great ideas. 

We had a special treat in January of real snow!