Sensory Snow Slime

This past weekend, our library participated in the Dowagiac Ice Festival with a sensory craft in the library.  Downtown businesses invited the people of Dowagiac to make crafts, get food and drinks, and more.  We invited families to make Snow Slime with us.  I originally got this idea from Sarah at Frugal Fun for Boys.

The kids had fun with this projects because it was messy, but little did they know that they were engaging in a sensory activity!  According to PBS, “Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.”  There’s something about the mixture of glue and fake snow that just feels weird and a lot of kids had great reactions.  Parents talked to their kids about how it felt and why.  Some of the younger ones didn’t like getting messy, but participating in this projects encouraged them to reach outside of their comfort zone.

This is also a little bit like process-based art.  There’s no exact science to this project.  You just kind of have to figure out how much liquid starch to add, how long to mix, and how to adjust your method if your slime is too stringy or if it’s sticking to much with your hands.  It takes a while to get it to form, and you have to try a lot of different things.  So kids are learning how to sit at a project for a while and sustain focus, but they are also using problem solving skills.

To do this project all you need is 1 bottle of glue, a cup of fake snow (that you can get at a craft store or on Amazon), and 1/2 cup liquid starch.  Mix the glue and snow, then slowly at little bits of liquid starch.  You have to mix the glue, then shape it, knead it, and fold it until you get it to be the consistency you want.

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Seasons are the Times for Stories

STORYTIME FOR: Berwyn Public Library (Outreach)

Hello/Goodbye Song

We Say Hello/Goodbye Like This (with ukulele)
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
D                                                          A7
We wave hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we wave hello like this.
D                                                         A7
We clap hello like this…with our friends in storytime, we clap hello like this.
D                                                           A7
We stomp hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we stomp hello like this.

Why These Books?

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson.  I like to use this story for both preschool and sensory storytimes.  It works well because it’s excited and interactive ( a lot like Press Here).  The book gives directions like “tap this page to see…” and I ask the kids at the beginning of the story to help me out by tapping on their hands.  But this books goes beyond simply being interactive.  It’s a great book to start off a seasons storytime because of the way it focuses on how a tree changes with each season.  Kids love to see the tree change and comment on details (i.e. the squirrel who eats the apple.

Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara.  This is another book that seems to be multipurpose!  I had used this for winter storytime, but I go to enough classrooms that there were plenty of classes that I hadn’t read it to yet.  Although the bulk of this book is about what the boy and Jack Frost do in winter, the book is really framed by the seasons changing: it begins when frost appears on the window, introducing Jack Frost, and ends when the boy finds a snowdrop flower, introducing spring.

The Little Tree by Loren Long.  At first glance from an adult perspective, this is such a slow and sweet story that I wondered how well it would go in a storytime (since its not as active as the books above).  But I was told by a co-worker that it works surprisingly well, so I tried it…and found out that she was right.  The classes I read to loved this book.  It begins with a little tree, not yet full grown, who loves his leaves.  As the seasons change, the trees around him lose their leaves, but the little tree holds on to his tight.  The trees around him start to grow, but he stubbornly holds onto his leaves until they turn brown. The moment that the little tree finally lets go of his leaves is a powerful one, and then the tree starts to grow.  My kids couldn’t get enough!  I’m also going to use this story as a backup for my growing storytime.

Stretchers

Where’s the Snowball? (flannel)

Hide a flannel snowball under different colored flannel mittens and have the kids guess where it is.  A great activity to talk about colors!

mittens

 Winter Hokey Pokey (motion song)

You put your mittens in you put your mittens out,
You put your mittens in, and you shake them all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about.
Repeat: boots, hat, etc.

Winter Animal Bag (puppets)

Show puppets of winter animals and talk about what each one sounds like, where it lives, and what it does during the winter.  For younger and sensory kids, I simply asked, what sound does this animal make.  I saved the bear puppet for last and told the kids, “In the winter, the bear likes to snore.”

Seasons of a Tree (action rhyme)

In the springtime I have flowers,
And I like to show my colors.
In summer I have leaves
That are all big and green.
In fall my leaves fall down,
And my arms droop like a frown.
In winter my arms hang low,
Piled up with glistening snow.
Next springtime comes and then
The seasons start again!

How It Went

I actually started doing by seasons storytime with Tap the Magic Tree, Mouse’s First Snow by Lauren Thompson, and Old Bear by Kevin Henkes.  I think my classes were still interested, but I just got the feeling that the books were too easy for them.  I soon realized that these books worked a lot better for sensory storytime, because they are more concept based.  I was much happier after I switched them out. I also wanted a stretcher about the seasons of a tree, so I made up the rhyme (above) with arm motions. It worked really well; the kids loved pretending to be trees!