If you’re looking for snowman crafts and activities for toddlers and preschoolers, I have a bunch, but I think my favourite is this simple snowman building activity tray.
Kids can build a snowman from scratch over and over again, making it different every time with this snowman activity tray. All you need are some cotton makeup pads and a few odds and ends that you already have around the house.
It’s a great activity for developing fine-motor skills and critical thinking, and a wonderful way to put in a cold, snowy morning.
It’s also a great activity a kids’ Christmas party activity, Anna and Elsa fans (Do you want to build a snowman?), or to do after watching a snowman movie.
I put our snowman activity tray together over the weekend, and I couldn’t wait for the hooligans to get here this morning to try it out.
The idea for this activity came to me Friday afternoon, when a reader commented on the black bean “eyes” on the toilet roll snowmen we made a few years ago.
I got thinking about those adorable snowmen which we made with toilet paper rolls, beans, buttons and fabric scraps, and soon enough I was raiding my craft cupboards for bits and pieces for this snowman building activity.
I love how open-ended this activity is, and how creative the kids can get with it. No matter how many snowmen a child builds, they look different every single time.
This activity is similar to Mr. Potato Head that way; the parts are always the same but the possibilities are endless depending on how you mix and match them.
Ok! Let’s put this activity together for YOUR kids, and then I’ll show you the fun that the hooligans had making their snowmen.
Supplies and materials for our snowman activity tray:
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- sectioned tray
- cotton cosmetic pads or white craft foam circles
- small lengths of ribbon, trim, fabric etc.
- Craft foam or cardstock or felt (for hats)
- dried black beans
- plastic ice crystals
- orange felt (cut into “carrot noses”)
- small twigs
I placed all of the snowman parts into the tray and set it on the table along, and I provided the kids with styrofoam meat trays to build their snowmen on.
I also placed a thin fleece blanket on the table which behaved a little like a felt board, and prevented the snowmen and their parts from sliding around.
The 4 year olds enjoyed having the styrofoam tray as a defined work space to build their snowmen in.
The 2 year old preferred working directly on the table-top.
The 3 year old didn’t build a typical snowman. She enjoyed exploring the materials and experiment with different ways to build with them.
You can see in the photos below, she sorted arranged them on her tray, but not in snowman-fashion, and she enjoyed grouping the plastic crystals and stacking the cotton makeup pads.
There were so many choices to make when it came to colours, shapes and patterns so the girls really got to exercise their decision-making skills!
They enjoyed making their snowmen over and over again, changing them up every time, adding different buttons, hats and scarves.
Picking up and placing the tiny buttons, beans and twigs was great strengthening fine motor skills.
The girls came back to this snowman tray time and time again throughout the morning.
This will be an activity that I set out often for the kids to explore and experiment with this winter.
What a great indoor winter activity to keep the kids entertained AND learning.
More Snowman Crafts and Activities for Kids:
- CD Snowman Craft
- Toilet Roll Snowman Craft
- Snowman Art Activity with Loose Materials
- Mr. Potato Head Snowman
- Name-Building Snowman Activity – from A Dab of Glue will Do Ya
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Genius idea! And the snow men came out ADORABLE! Projects like these make me wish the kids were a little older. The snowman’s eyes look like black tic tacos to me and my almost 2 year old son and niece would have gobbled them up lol!
Came across your post from the Kid Blogger Network Pinterest board 🙂
I love this idea. I am putting one together this weekend and we will do it next week in my daycare. My group changes from day to day so I like that the kidlets can do something different each day and the ones who only comepart time don’t get left out. I love your page and since I started following it las year I look forward to every new post.
I’m just curious……do you ever let them glue it together at the very end?
I might, Beth. For now we’re just going to play with the activity for a few weeks. You certainly COULD turn it into a craft when you’re finished with it though!
I have those make up pads!!!! What a cute project for winter. I would love for you to come and link it up today at Artsy Play Wednesday: http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2013/11/personalized-pet-ornaments-artsy-play.html
I loved seeing this idea presented as an activity rather than a craft! Teachers tend to lose sight of what it means to implement open-ended activities in their classrooms. Any variety of decorations/supplies can be made available for children to choose from to decorate their snowmen over and over again. A digital camera could be used to “preserve” their work if so desired.
I just came across your blog. Yeah, I love your ideas!!! Thanks for being so creative. I will use your ideas for the grand kids, Sunday School and our Kid’s Night Out at church!
Yay! So glad you’ve found us, Kathy, and happy to have you following along! I can’t believe how many Grandparents I have following now. You’re such a crafty lot! Your grand babies are blessed to have you! x
Love the snowmen! I’m going to save the idea for January. Can’t do all of your neat projects, but the ones we do turn out so well. My seven and three year old both have fun with them. My 19 month old will be getting in on the fun soon too. It was so fun to see the popsicle Christmas trees from last year when we pulled out the decorations. The circle rainbows we made for St. Patrick’s Day are still hanging up! Love your blog Jackie, I probably look at the pictures more than read through everything. You may have mentioned this before, but I’m interested in the plastic chip dip trays you use. Where do you purchase them? I can’t seem to find ones that are so durable. Thanks.
Great idea waiting until January for this one, Laura. I think I picked up those sectioned trays at a thrift shop one time. You can get them at the dollar stores. Those aren’t terribly durable, but tupperware and rubbermaid make much more durable ones.
Such a great idea!! Where did you find the snowman hats and scarves?
I have a foam snowman kit that I took some of the hats from. I used one as a template to cut more from foam pieces. One of the scarves is from the kit as well, but most were just scraps of fabric or ribbon that I tied a knot in, Stephanie. Glad you liked the activity!
Oh, this is BRILLIANT! I teach preschool to homeschoolers. (Sounds strange) Yes, I have them one day a week at the Homeschool Academy in my town. Anyhow, we are a bit snowmanned-out but this will work for anything. Got tons of felt. All I need is the trays and little pieces and there we go! Thanks. (New follower / fan here)
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How fun! My daughter will LOVE this simple activity!
My grandson Grant loves crafts and likes to put things together and has his own ideas about various ways to change things around. I will make up a tray for him. I bought the white trays awhile back in a bundle of 100. I have all kinds of notions from various other crafts. He will have great fun with this one. I almost assure you he will glue them to have as ornaments for his tree in his room. Thanks so much.
This is absolutely adorable
what awesome idea’s you have love them & going to try all, grandkids will love this! Thank you so much for sharing.
Such a fun idea!
I love this! I always have a craft for the kids at our annual Christmas open house. One year we decorated cookies, another year we made decorated trees out of ice cream cones. I think this is the one for this year! It’s adorable and not nearly as messy as decorating cookies with sprinkles.
I really like what kids come up with and I like that this activity and be reused for the year after that as well making all kinds of snow men!
do you give directions on how to build the snowman? you provide what is needed but not how to do.
Have a look at the post again, Colette. After the supply list, the rest of the post is me describing how the children explored the pieces and built their snowmen. It’s an open-ended activity, so the child decides how he or she wants to use the pieces. When we tell our children exactly how to do an exploratory activity like this, we stifle their creativity, and make it far less appealing to them. When you let the child explore and create without rules or a set expectation, that’s when the magic happens. 🙂