On the day my students earned their cup of hot cocoa by spelling the words HOT CHOCOLATE, I thought it would be fun if we also made a paper mug of cocoa. We hung our “mess-terpieces” in the window as a different way to display our work. It was a wonderful way to unwind after a busy day. The “chocolate” glued on the mug, reviewed the “oval” shape, and the cutting and “splattering” activities were great fine-motor skills.
Lay each child's mug in the bottom of a large box lid, have them dip a child's-size toothbrush in white paint and splatter a paint-flecked pattern on their blue mug. I made name labels for my students to stick on the center of their mugs as well as some punch-cut snowflakes. Click on the link to view/print the pattern. Mug of Hot Chocolate
Icicles: To drip or not to drip?
Cut black or dark blue construction paper in half lengthwise. Pour white tempera paint in a plastic squeeze ketchup bottle or empty Elmer’s glue bottle. Have children write their names with a white crayon on their papers and then turn them over. Remove one of the long sides of a box. Place the student’s paper in the box. Have them squeeze a thick line of paint at the top of their paper so that it faces the open end of the box. Lay the box on the table. Give them a straw. Child blows on the line of paint to make “icicles” down the row of his paper. After he has made as many icicles as he wants have them carefully lift up their paper and let it drip a little more, then set aside to dry. These are great put together and used as a bulletin board boarder or hung around the ceiling of your hallway.
Envelope Snowman Puppet:
Give each child a long white envelope, black construction paper rectangle, (for top hat) and some scraps of construction paper, a glue stick and some colored markers. Have them seal their envelope, carefully slit open the bottom (you may want to do this for younger children) and decorate their envelope to look like a snowman’s head. Wrap a piece of plaid ribbon around the bottom of the entire envelope and then staple it on the sides, for the perfect scarf. (Bolts of this go on sale after Christmas.) I also purchased large wiggle eyes and glue dots during the deeply discounted sales going on. They added just the right touch! Red-heart stickers or hot-pink sale-dot stickers make great cheeks. Children can add a smile and they’re set!
When everyone is done, have them think of a name for their snow pal, bring them to the carpet area and sit in a circle. Students insert their hand and introduce their puppet pal to their classmates. To get the “wiggles” out use the puppets to do the Snowman Pokey.
My Y5’s think it’s “snow” fun measuring things! They enjoy the challenge of scampering around finding things that are as long as their ruler, as well as measuring how tall their best friend is and then having their friend measure them. We do a subtraction activity and then compare their heights. I use this as an opportunity to graph how tall everyone is in the class; surprisingly there really isn't that much difference.
They also like to go out and measure how much snow has fallen on the playground or how big the snow bank in front of our school has gotten, where the snowplow man dumps everything when he shovels the walk. That’s why when they get to make their own snowflake yardstick they get very excited. Run off my sheet of 1-inch square flakes on 4 different colors of construction or copy paper. Each child will need 33 white squares, 1 pink square, 1 blue square and 1 light purple square. They glue a strip of 11 white squares on to their 36 ½ inch long piece of tag board and then glue one of the colored snowflake squares down to represent 12 inches; repeating this process for 24 inches, and finally 36 inches; the 24th and 36th square also being a colored snowflake.
I make my tag board strips 1½ inches wide. I’ve also included a list of fun things for your students to measure. If your students are really young and you think a yardstick is too big for them to handle, have your students simply make a 12-inch ruler. Have a room mom help you make the yardstick strips. When you are measuring the tag board use two strips for each child and do not throw away the excess. I measure 36 ½ or 37 inches so there’s a bit of an edge at the end of my students’ rulers to allow for uneven cutting. (I tell them that when they are measuring to use the snowflakes as their guide as they are one inch long.) Lay the two, 1½ inch strips of tag board, on top of each other and then pull them apart until they have reached the length you want. I mark that off with a pen and then glue the strips on top of each other with a glue stick, putting a piece of Scotch tape on top of each end for extra support. This makes their yardstick extra sturdy in the middle.
Have children write their name on their yardstick as soon as they get it. Have them cut two strips of 6 squares long. Have them put glue on the end snowflake marked with an X and put the other end snowflake on top of it so you have a strip of 11. Glue that long strip to the middle of the tag board yardstick followed by a colored 12th snowflake then repeat for the 2nd and 3rd (24 and 36-inch) strips and colored snowflake squares, making sure to butt them up against the previous strip.
Remind students NOT to cut out the individual snowflakes. Only the 3 colored snowflakes are individual. Gluing 36 individual 1-inch squares is simply too much work! I put the lines on the snowflakes so that students can count the squares and know how many inches something is. As with my class, you will probably have a few students cutting out the individual squares too, so I'm giving you a heads up to be on the look out for those little snippers. Snowflake Squares & a list of fun things to measure + a height graph
Just Hangin’ Around Snowman:
Making paper chains are great fine motor skills. Make sure you demonstrate how to put one together right before your students’ eyes. Some of mine always want to pinch the ends together so they look like raindrops instead of circles. I have my students press and hold their links together for a count of 10. That way the glue is sure to stick and hold and their chains don’t fall apart while they’re making them. We vary our counting from 10 to 0 “blasting off”, counting by 10’s to 100, and counting in Spanish. It’s a great way to review counting skills while doing this activity.
Pre-cut 1 ½ inch white and black strips of construction paper on your paper cutter, cutting widthwise. Each student will need 3 white and one black. I also pre-cut the orange noses, and a ½ -inch strip of brown and a ½ -inch strip of black for each student. These become the hat brim and arms of the snowman. Have children draw a face in the middle of one of the strips of white paper and glue on the carrot nose by folding the end of it and gluing just the “hinge” part down, so that it sticks out like a real carrot.
Have students draw 3 buttons on the bottom strip before they make it a link as well. Show them your sample. Students then make their 3 white snowman links making sure to start with their “face” link. Children fold their black “hat” link in half and then fold the ends up and rub glue on each end. Students glue the ends around the top of their white “head” link so that it looks like a hat. The top part looks like the top of the hat. Pass out the small “brim” piece so that they can glue it across the hat. Punch a hole in the top of the hat, loop with a piece of yarn so you can hang from the ceiling. Pass out the brown strips of paper. Students fold them, and cut in half. They hinge the ends like the nose and glue them to each side of the middle “belly” link for arms. Children can have them stick straight out, or they can glue them so they dangle down. Attaching little mittens also looks cute. I give my students a small sticker name label to put across the hat brim. You could also write it on with a white crayon.