Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Day!

Yay!  It's Snow Day!!!

Last year, I saw a cute idea on Train 'Em Up for a Snowman Day.  I thought it sounded like such a fun day, so I tucked the idea away and pulled it out today, which was perfect timing since we are still working on Ss week.  We had so much fun and this is probably the closest we'll come to snow this year!

We did a lot today, but we had so much more planned!  There are just so many great resources out there and so little time.  We barely scratched the surface, but we had fun, a lot of fun!  And by the way, I managed to take 689 pictures of our activities today - no exaggeration.  Many of the pictures were repeats, but wow, that is a lot of pictures even for me!  So you know what that means - this will be another LONG post, so sit back, relax, and be inspired to throw your own Snow Day!

I started the day by making a little note to send in the hubby's lunch.  Afterall, we didn't want him to miss out on the fun!

Next, I greeted the girls with a snowy breakfast of snowmen pancakes (blueberry eyes, strawberry "carrot" nose, mini chocolate chip mouth and buttons), strawberry and whipped cream snowflakes and a side of snowballs, which on any other day would be known as hard-boiled eggs.  I also learned that by turning my kiddos' breakfast into a snowman, they didn't even miss the syrup.  That's right, there was no additional sweetener on these little guys, but my girls gobbled them up.  Good to know!

Next up on the agenda was our academics.  I love any opportunity to include themed learning!

Little Miss Ellie Belle loves matching games, but she is getting so good at them now that she loves to pretend that she doesn't know the answer.  When I tell her she has it right, she'll say, "Nope!" and move it to the right spot.  I had found some snowman gift tags at Michael's, so I turned them into a matching game for my silly little girl.  Instead of the standard two items to match, there were three this time, which didn't manage to fool her any.  No sir, she is one smart cookie!

Ella's next game was to separate uppercase and lowercase S's, or in her words, "Big S and baby s".  I love her funny expression in the second picture.

Normally, I will lay down one set of cards for Ella and hand her the second set to match them up, but since she is getting used to this kind of activity, I just handed her the whole stack of these snowflake matching cards and let her go to town separating them herself.

I printed a fun little snowman game for Ella.  She was to match three buttons and place them on the snowman.  I mean really, who doesn't love buttons?  Ella loves them to much that she showered us with them and I am pretty sure we'll be finding them hidden here and there for weeks to come so we can remember this fun day.

Ella is beginning to count a lot, so she played a game that allowed her a chance to practice these new skills.  She loved these puff balls so much that when her sister tried to use them, she let her know in no uncertain terms that those were her's and her's alone.  Oh the joys of being two!

Arin was ok though because she had no shortage of her own learning activites.  First up, we played this fun little sight word game.  I printed only "s" words, which my quick little detective pointed out to me.  I read a word and Arin found the word and placed it on the snowman's belly.

Arin has gotten really good at counting by 2's and by 5's, so I made her counting by 10's sequence cards.  Once she figured out the trick, which means that all the numbers end in zero and the first numbers go in order, she was thrilled to complete this task quickly. 

Arin practiced addition and subtraction with this game.  In the past, we've only worked with equations that she could solve by counting on her fingers, but I thought it was time to step it up a notch.  First, she used buttons to aid in her counting, but that quickly became too tedious and she learned out to count these higher numbers on her fingers as well.  For example, if the equation was 10 + 3, she knows she has to just count three more than ten, so starting with number 11, 12, then 13.  She picked up on it very quickly, which made for one happy mama!

Next, Arin practiced two letter sight words with a snowman matching game.  Once she had the pieces all matched up, we read the words together.

I wrote many three letter words on snowman themed place cards.  Arin picked a card to read and then she used that word in a sentence.  I was pleasantly surprised that she came up with really good sentences and it was quite easy for her.

Together we played subtraction memory.  This means one pile holds the equation and the second pile holds the answer.  My sweet little girl knew where the answer was to the equation that I had picked.  I got it wrong, so the next time my turn came around, she showed me where the matches were (instead of taking them herself), so that I could win.  She loves her mama!

We played another addition game.  This time it was one that I made with equation cards and clothespin answers.  We took turns matching the two correctly and trying to impress each other with our math knowledge!

Arin put these fun little snowman/thermometer cards in order.

Arin worked on her writing skills with this worksheet. 

Then, I wrote in her answers in the next two worksheets.

My mom would say that all work and no play makes for a dull life and afterall, it is Snow Day, so we we ended the schoolwork and started the FUN (although, I like to think that our schoolwork is fun!).

I made these adorable snowman gloves for the girls. Yeah, they were a big hit!  We sang a snowman song and used the gloves as finger puppets to act it out.

Ten Little Snowmen
Tune: Six Little Ducks

10 Little Snowmen on a hill,
freezing cold and standing still.
The sun came out with its warm rays and one little snowman melted away.

1 Little Snowmen on a hill,
freezing cold and standing still.
The sun came out with its warm rays and the last little snowman melted away.

What could be more fun that presents???  I gave both of the girls snowman boxes (recipe boxes bought from the clearance section of Michael's) filled with craft supplies and chocolates. 

The girls satisfied their sweet tooth with the chocolate while letting their creative juices flow with their art supplies. 

They turned their wooden snowman into a painted, glittery magnet of happiness. 

They stamped snowmen on paper, but Arin later decided that this would make a better bathtub toy than art tool.

The girls made a snowman out of cotton balls.  So we only started this project and never got around to completing it.  I had planned for the girls to paint the inside of the snowman with a mixture of epsom salts and water.  I've never done this activity, but I read that it works like magic.  When the solution is wet, it is invisible, but as it dries, it appears white.  I thought the girls would love, love, love this, but no matter where I looked, I could not find our epsom salts.  I was sure we had some???  To finish the picture, I had planned to have the girls glue on wiggly eyes and buttons.  We were planning to go outside and collect sticks for the arms.  Then, they'd decorate the paper with sticker snow flakes which were also in their art box.  Maybe we'll finish these pictures tomorrow if I can locate the mysterious disappearing salts.

Arin painted her new wooden snowman puzzle.  She has been so anxious for this to dry so that she can put it together.

Just to remind the girls what a cool mama they have (and to remind myself that sometimes I lose my mind for the sake of "fun"!), I sprayed shaving cream all over the table and let the girls go wild.  Oh boy, they had a blast!  I knew they would because Arin still talks about this activity that she did last year at the library when we lived in GA.  Arin had so much fun writing in the shaving cream and running her hands through it.  Ella had so much fun trying to eat it and covering her body in the shaving cream!

Once the girls' daddy arrived home, we threw a SNOW PARTY!  I didn't let the girls know this was going to happen until it was time for it to happen.  I am so glad that I made that decision because they immediately got so excited and their energy level shot up drastically.  Arin insisted that her and Ella wear their party dresses (and she wanted to make sure that her piece of chocolate showed up in the picture!). 

She requested decorations.  I tried to make paper snowflakes using this tutorial, but no matter what I did, I could not make these turn out good.  I am completely and utterly snowflake challenged.  I think I will put this on my To Do list to learn so I will have it mastered for our next Snow Party.  I took the easy way out and printed snowflakes, which we hung from the ceiling.  I must admit, it was very festive. 

Dinner was quesadillas.  I attempted to cut the girls' cheese quesadillas into snowflakes, but like I said, I am challenged in this area.  The good thing was that the girls were impressed with my skills.

While I was making dinner, Arin came into the kitchen and handed me a clothespin which she had scribbled on.  She told me that was my ticket for the party!  I love that kid!  She's so sweet and so enthusiastic.  She came up with the ticket idea all by herself!

A party needs games, right?  The girls and Andy had a snowball race. They had to put a spoon in their mouth.  On the spoon was a cotton ball aka snowball.  The object was to be the first one to reach mama with the snowball still on the spoon.  They could not use their hands to keep the cotton ball on the spoon.  If the snowball fell off the spoon, they had to go back and start all over.  Amazingly that happened to each one of them right before they got up to me.  It was very fun for mama to watch!

Dancing was equally as important at this party.  The first dance was a Freeze Dance.  This means dance, dance, dance while the music was on, but when the music was turned off, you have to stop and freeze right where you are.  The girls had so much fun with this and quickly changed it to "Fall Dance" meaning that they'd fall to the ground (instead of freezing) as soon as the music was turned off.

Next we did the Snowkey Pokey.  This was fun, fun, fun!  It's the traditional Hokey Pokey, except you dress in your winter clothes and change the words up a bit.  Mittens instead of hands, boots instead of feet, coats instead of bodies, hats instead of heads, you get the point.  Also, you sing "You do the Snowkey Pokey..." instead of "Hokey Pokey".

After getting all that energy out, we were ready for some more games!  We played Roll-A-Snowman.

Then, we played Melt-An-Ice Cube.  Both of these games were super simple, very entertaining and great for a wide age range.

After we finished our games, we pulled all the snowflakes off the ceiling and sang (and acted out) our final song.

Snowflake Dance
(Sung To: "Are you Sleeping")
Dance like snowflakes, Dance like snowflakes (we danced around)
In the air, In the air (we jumped twice)
Whirling, Twirling snowflakes, Whirling, Twirling snowflakes (we spun around)
Here and there, Here and there (the girls tossed the paper snowflakes into the air)

To end our Snow Party, I made hot chocolate, which was topped with whipped cream and either sprinkles (for the girls) or mini chocolate chips (for Andy).  Each was served with a mini candy cane, which the girls just went bizerk for. That just goes to show that the extra details really do matter.

To go along with the hot chocolate, we had a build-a-snowman snack.  We used mini powdered donuts for the bodies, pretzel sticks for the arms, carrot sticks for the nose, raisins and mini chocolate chips for the eyes/mouth/buttons, and striped shortbread cookies topped with a mini Reese's for the hat.  This was fun to see our different ideas of how to build our snowmen.

Ella used all the yummy chocolate to decorate her own face!

There's really nothing like filling your kiddos with tons of sugar right before bedtime!  It was a long, busy day, but it was also a perfect day, filled with learning, family-bonding and special memories.

Happy Snow Day!
Now, I am off to bed because I am snow tired!


Happy Home Fairy said...

Well, girl, you SHOULD be SNOW tired after ALL THAT MAGIC!!!! I've never known a Mom to incorporate snow much fun into ONE DAY! Good heavens! You are inspiring! Your Happy Home is so sweet. Thank you for linking up to the Happy Home Fairy!

jasnjoj said...

If "snowflake challenged" is the biggest problem you ever have - you'll still be doing great, Cara! You continue to AMAZE me...I want to come attend your homeschool!

Lynette said...

love it - you are such an awasome mommy (and friend)! Looks you all had super duper fun

Joan J said...

My first thought was to wonder if you'd adopt ME because that day looks not just fun, but magical! Thanks for so many great ideas. I'll be trying them out on my 5 yr old grandson - which, of course, means I'm too old for you to adopt. Darn.

raising4boys said...

I love the clothes pin math idea! Thanks for sharing so many fun ideas :)

Debbi said...

I'm going to go take a nap now... I'm exhausted just *reading* about all of the great things you did in one day... what lucky little girls!