Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Little Bit of Winter - a Wintry Storytime

A Storytime Lesson Plan for Preschool Children
This story time lesson for preschool age children highlights some of the "coolest" aspects of winter: ice and snow! In addition to some neat winter stories, snowy games, and art, this lesson plan even presents a basic gospel message.

 Show pictures of snowy scenes. Find pictures of your own or from the library that show some of the extremes in winter weather: ice encrusted lampposts, glaciers, or blizzards. Then show some of the more serene winter scenes such as outdoor ice skating, snow skiing, or children making snow angels. Discuss with the children some of the experiences they've had in the snow.

Tactile/Ice Exploration Opener: Have a prepared snowman for the children to see and explore. A couple of days prior to the storytime, pour water into two round balloons. Make one larger than the other, and place in the freezer. On the day of the lesson, take the frozen balloons out of the freezer and carefully remove the balloons from the ice. Place the larger of the frozen balls in the bottom of a shallow baking dish or pan, then place the smaller frozen ball on top. It might help to place a little water on the lower ice ball in order to facilitate the two sticking together. You now have a small frozen snowman. You can freeze three balls for a more traditional looking snowman, but extra care needs to be taken to make sure the three balls stick together. As the snowman begins to melt, it will become more sturdy. Cut some accessories out of felt for the snowman. Wrap a felt scarf around his neck, place three round black felt buttons on his tummy, and make little eyes, a nose and a mouth. If you have a little hat that fits, use it. The children will be fascinated and will see that "A Little Bit Of Winter" (today's story) really does bite!

Story: A Little Bit of Winter, by Paul Stewart. (I have a big book version of this, which is very nice, but any edition will do.) Discuss the wintry aspects of this story. Have the children ever felt winter "bite?" If you live in a warm winter area, the icy snowman will provide a wonderful wintry experience for the children.

Rhyme: "My Pet Snowball" (original author unknown)
"I made myself a snowball, just as perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me.
I gave it some pyjamas and a pillow for its head.
Then last night, it ran away, but first - it wet the bed!"

Game: "Pass the Snowball"
Sit in a circle and play wintry music, (such as "Winter Wonderland,") while passing around a "snowball" made of a wad of fluffy cotton or even a ball of wadded white paper. Stop the music periodically, and have the person caught holding the "snowball" sit in the middle of the circle. Continue until everyone has had a chance to sit in the circle.

Fingerplay: "Chubby Little Snowman" (original author unknown)
"A chubby little snowman had a carrot for a nose,
Along came a bunny and what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny was looking for his lunch...
And he ATE that snowman's nose...
nibble, nibble, - CRUNCH!"

Book:  Snowflakes, by Kenneth Libbrerecht. Enjoy browsing through this large photo book featuring incredibly magnified photographs of many actual snow crystals.

Discussion: The Bible talks about snow! Ask the children whether they knew that the Bible mentions snow. Psalm 147:16 says of God: "He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes." God created winter, snow, and ice, and each individual snow flake and ice crystal is an amazing work of art! 

Snow is also used as a representation of spiritual purity.  Explain how God washes away our sins and makes us white as snow. Discuss the imagery of snow, and how it represents purity. These concepts are rather abstract for young children, but they have the ability to understand the basic imagery. Use this opportunity to introduce a simplified gospel message to your audience.

Bible Verse Bracelets: 
(Print out, on a brightly-colored sheet of paper, today's verse repeated down the page. Cut between each verse so that you have 10-15 strips, each with the verse printed on it. Ask the children to form a line, and using tape to stick the ends together, wrap a "Bible Verse Bracelet" round each little wrist. Some children do not want to wear it; in that case, hand it to them and tell them to use the verse as a bookmark. The children love these, and come to expect them at each session! The verses also find their way home to parents and siblings, and help to spread the news about that day's storytime.)

Isaiah 1:18  "I, the Lord, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool." (CEV)

Song: "Whiter Than Snow," the age-old hymn, sung by Keith Lancaster and Rodney Britt. This beautiful version of this familiar song would be lovely to play while showing the pictures in the Snowflakes book!  Whiter Than Snow 

Art: Puffy snowmen. Prepare a mixture of shaving cream, white glue, and silver glitter. The percentage of shaving cream to glue should be about 60/40 or 70/30. Sprinkle in an adequate amount of glitter to make a pleasing sparkling effect. Give each child a piece of dark blue construction paper or card stock. Draw (or have prepared beforehand) the outline of a snowman on each piece of paper. Let the children finger paint the shaving cream mixture onto their snowmen, filling in the outlines. Give each child a construction paper scarf, some buttons, some eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and let them stick these onto their creations. After a while, the puffiness caused by the shaving cream will flatten out, but the artwork is left with a sparkly, feathery effect.

Thanks to bigactivities.com for the Snowman parts template!